For some of us, a game isn’t a game unless there’s some gunpowder involved. Thankfully, hidden amongst the clutter of word puzzles, birds you sling at pigs, and other grenade-launcher-lacking yawners, the App Store offers some true gems in the heat-packing department. Even better? Plenty of them are free. So we’ll spare you the search and give you the low down on a few of our favorite free or super cheap gun-toting games.
Q Pang is old school in its overall design and implementation. You’re the sole defender of pretty much every planet in the universe you’re aware of, and evil aliens are dropping out of the sky. It’s your job to blow the green gooey uggos up before they make landfall. That’s good enough for us, but Q Pang has a lot more going for it than arcade nostalgia. Slick, chibi-cute cartoonish graphics, an edgy attitude and a machine gun wielding tabby as Defender of the Universe give this game creative chops, too.
If an animated kitty ruins your firearm frenzy buzz, Gun Bros might be the macho overkill you’re seeking. This dual-stick shooter is a freemium, but you can get plenty of play out of this testosterone drenched extravaganza without shelling out. Gun Bros is dual stick shooter stripped down to its awesome essentials. You and your gun “bro” (either a computer created character, or one of your friends’ characters that you’ve imported) gun down everything that moves.
Boss Battles keeps us in arcade territory. Like Q Pang, you’re dealing out ammunition as destruction on a vertical battleground, unlike Q Pang though, it’s all boss battles — as the title makes clear, obviously. This time, you’re the space ship, and the bosses are a fantastic array of Giant Monstery Robots and Such, absolutely perfect for setting your sights on.
The iPhone offers us more flexibility in control methods than other platforms, and Velocispider absolutely wins in tilt control mode. There are both lite and paid versions of this beautiful little bloodbath; Well, bloodbath might be the wrong word — you’re a bird headed spider robot sending a barrage of bullets at other mechanical monsters. Guns galore, and a nice selection of ammo give you something to do with the exceptional control system.
Phoenix takes the action to a spaceship-vs-spaceship level, which means that your guns get bigger and badder, and we love that. Free, with in-app purchases, Phoenix is a brilliantly colored vertical plane extravaganza of hardware. Fair warning though, you’ll almost certainly find yourself tempted to pull the trigger on the paid goodies.
Dual-stick shooters aren’t just for the man on the ground. Occurro! is a top down space war with a very smooth dual stick control system and a nice UI, and it was also relaunched for free this summer. The simple but elegant graphics give this outer space shoot ‘em up a nice clean feel. Occurro! was to be pay to play, but the developers decided to give us a 100% break on the price.
Zombie Duck Hunt 2 is just what it sounds like — nothing more, nothing less. This is a tilt to aim treat, and it works well. It’s hardly mayhem — for a game featuring zombies of any kind, Zombie Duck Hunt 2 is light on gore. But it’s heavy on guns, it’s free and it’s fun. Zombie Ducks aren’t your only quarry; quirky, threatening wild fowl of all types are open season.
Operation Wow takes an old arcade friend and makes it new in this part-homage/part-innovation bullet buffet. The hook with Operation Wow is its multi-touch control system. Many players are too young to remember the turret-type shooter Operation Wolf, that’s no requirement for falling for the appeal of shooting bullets from as many fingers as you can cram on the screen. And yep, free!
A fantastic game intended for those gun loving veterans who want a challenge, and not just in its pronunciation, is Mushimimesama BUG PANIC. It’s not a casual affair; Mushimimesama BUG PANIC is for seasoned gun slingers ready for an onslaught from a bug army gone mad. And, the lite version of this dual-stick anime-inspired shooter is more of a trial — it’s only the first two stages of the full game. But it’s worth it for those looking for a dual stick shooter that isn’t geared toward every casual player that picks it up.
If you’d rather see the bugs win, Bug Heroes is a great tower defense/dual-stick shooter freemium that features some pretty awesome 3-D gun battles. Of course, since this is bug vs. bug, there’s always a bug winner — no matter which side wins. There are several modes of play and ten different “hero” profiles with differing strengths to choose from.
There’s really no reason to ever be at a loss when your iOS trigger finger gets itchy. Keep your pennies in the piggy bank, limber up those thumbs and work your way down this menu of bullet-hell happiness.