Survival of the baddest

BloodnGuns is a top-down, dual-stick arcade shooter with quick controls, a simple but fun set of power-ups and weapons, and an almost comically bloody backdrop.

BloodnGuns is a top-down, dual-stick arcade shooter with quick controls, a simple but fun set of power-ups and weapons, and an almost comically bloody backdrop.

The aptly named BloodnGuns has no back-story, but the quasi-apocalyptic setting has you running and gunning against huge hordes of skeletons and zombies--specifically, zombies wielding enormous Final Fantasy-style swords. Your weapons range from the nondescript but fantastic (e.g., fusion, plasma, and pulse rifles) to the mundane and weirdly specific (e.g., Benelli M4 shotguns and M4A1 carbines). The gameplay is as straightforward as the interface: a virtual joystick under your left thumb controls movement, another under your right thumb controls your gun. You try to stay alive as long as you can (racking up both points and kills), and six game modes provide a decent amount of variety--from the copious ranged attacks of "Hellfire" mode to the brutal tempo of "Rush." Fallen enemies leave behind weapons and power-ups, such as faster fire or reload rates, "death wave" bombs, and boosts to speed or armor.

BloodnGuns is a simple game, but it does what it sets out to extremely well: the interface is very responsive and doesn't obscure the action (and it includes a smart, optional autopause when you lift your thumbs); the game never bogs down or drops frames (even with nearly a hundred enemies onscreen, even on older devices); and the AI sets a satisfying, challenging rhythm to enemy waves. The blood-soaked, explosion-wracked graphics and sound are also commendable, especially given the number of enemies you face onscreen, and you can download free additional backgrounds if you get tired of the default map. Each game also starts with a wry visual: the prone body of your previous avatar, still lying in the gore of the last game.

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