In this post, I will review probably what is the probably one of the more popular ARKit games on the app store, a game called Zombie Gunship Revenant or ZG: Gunship Revenant for short. I’ve spent a lot of hours writing this review, because I think this game brings something else to the AR world of AR and it’s worth knowing more things about this game and what make it so special.
What is Zombie Gunship Revenant AR?
Let’s first understand what is this game is all about. Zombie Gunship Revenant AR is thrilling fast-paced augmented reality shooter. You get to fly a gunship helicopter that is controlled by your movement in augmented reality. You to defend your base against a horde of zombies.
When I saw the screenshots of the game, I thought this is a top-down shooter. Well, you can assume that because it’s n AR game, ZG: Revenant is a 6DoF shooter. You don’t get to see the cockpit of the helicopter, just the middle aiming sight where the bullets and projectiles will shoot through.
As you play you’ll get to unlock new powerful weapons and upgrade them as you progress. The weapon arsenal includes Gatling guns, cannons, rockets, missiles and more.
All the game is played using a thermal camera effect. It does give the game a unique effect but it can also be really annoying after some time. I remember playing flight simulator in the past that I used this option, but it was only for a short period of time to get a better view of the enemy’s location. There is no potion that I found that you can disable it. It would be nice to get to have a weather system or day/night cycle and be able to use it when needed., but not all the time.
There is also no option to unlock new helicopter, you have only one gunship and this is it. When I come to think about it, it’s not about the helicopter, because you don’t see it on the screen anyways and the abilities are tight to guns that you unlock, so it’s not such a big deal.
Zombie Gunship Revenant AR Gameplay
In Zombie Gunship Revenant you control the helicopter using your iPhone or iPad. You actually get to be the helicopter.
Zombies will spawn in various places on the map. You need to move around the map and shoot them down before they start damaging you defense units Once the pass through the defense units, they are very close to breaching your base, if that happens the round is over.
Now, the game was designed that you will lose at some point. Let me explain what I mean. The game is campaign based. It has five different scenarios or levels.You continue to the next scenario you need to survive 15 waves in the previous scenario. The game will reward you with higher grade loot crates and more cash, so it’s not that you waste your time for nothing after the 15 wave. The wave starts one after the other in a sequence, there is no pause between them and the battle feels fluid without any interruption. You can see which wave you are on at the top of your screen, alongside with the number of kills and the crates you were able to achieve.
Let’s take a look at some gameplay.
If you fail the fight, no worries, you can use the coins that you get to upgrade your weapons and try again. Speaking of weapons, you have five different weapon slots that you can equip your weapon on. Each weapon will appear as a separate button in on the screen when the battle starts. You can decide to play them at the top or at the bottom of the screen (in the settings) where you feel it will be more comfortable for you to play the game. I use it at the bottom when I played it on my iPad.
Due to the thermal camera like visuals, the ambient and explosion sounds and the explosion effects, the game really gives you the feeling of a real battleground. The reason why I think the stylized visuals are nice is that there is no need to invest in realistic 3D models to make the experience more authentic. The thermal vision disguises the none-realistic visuals. It makes the graphics quality less significant. The authenticity comes instead from very authentic explosion animation, bullet firing effects and superb sound effects that match each animation that happens on the screen.
This is unlike a regular ARKit game where you get to clearly see the environment. Here the environment is not important and besides that, it’s very hard to see it because the entire screen has that thermal optics visual style. The main emphasis here is that you get to enjoy moving around the 3D environment, not on making sure that the 3D objects blend well with the scene. The developer has focused on just one part, but it did an incredible job with it.
The game controls feel comfortable. The buttons are large enough and positioned close to the right and left the side of the screen, where they should be.
This game is definitely different than all the other ARKit action games that I played. A few of my favorite ones are Meddling Martians AR, powARdup and believe it or not, even Alien Invaders-all provide me with some really fun action gameplay experience. This game really felt like you are in a large fight and it one of the most immersive AR games I played to date. I really enjoy being able to find so many great AR games that play and look differently from one another. ZG Revenant rendered a completely new experience and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Zombie Gunship Revenant is an AR game. When you start a battle the game will give you two options:
- Place the game anywhere you want, even floating in the air (no need for the camera, no surface detection is needed)
- Use the camera (ARKit)
You can drag or pinch to adjust the location and size of the game, which is very useful.
The second one is like any other Apple ARKit game. You need to le the game detects a surface. The second one is a very nice option because it allowed me to play the game even on my bad or anywhere I like. Using the first option you can play the game everywhere you want without limitations, even in a completely dark room. The developer certainly wanted you to enjoy the game without the limitation of the technology. If there was only the second option, you wouldn’t be able to play the game without a clearly visible surface let alone in a dark place.
I’ve played the game for several hours. I really enjoyed moving around the scene shooting those zombies. This is no doubt one of the most satisfying augmented reality shooters I played so far. I could even crouch on my knees and shoot the enemies from point-blank range. I cloud use my body positioning tactically. For example, when the enemies went through a very tight passage near the base, I crouch and aimed my guns to the opening and shot them in their face, not from the top. There were tons of them there, and this allowed me to wipe all of them out really fas—it was incredibly satisfying as well.
The AR controls relieve you from needing to use touch controls to control the movement of your character in the 3D space, which can sometimes be really complicated and unintuitive. This is probably one of the main benefits and pleasure of playing a game like Zombie Gunship Revenant in Augmented Reality (AR). The only thing that you need to do is aim and shoot, the movement comes as a second nature because you do it your entire life.
You know, I’ve been playing a lot of AR games. It’s nice to see the game as part of your world, but for some games blending the virtual and the real world isn’t that important. For an Augmented Reality (AR) game like Zombie Gunship Revenant, it’s better to have more atmospheric visuals even at the cost of overlaying graphics with semi-transparent content. One of the great things about the game is the special effects, especially the explosions. Those look good because they are shown against a dark background. They would have been much less convincing if displayed without a dark background and in a well-lit place. This is why it was necessary to create the level this way and not make it play without the atmospheric background visuals. That being said, having both would have been nice.
I just want to add one last thing. You do get to see the environment but with the overlay thermal optics effects. Tihs is important because it allows you to see objects in front of you so you won’t bump into them while playing.
What is the game missing?
There are some things that I would like to be added or improved in the game. I’ll summarize it in a list:
- A leaderboard is missing – I couldn’t find anywhere where I can see my standing in a global leaderboard. I want to see where I am positioned in a specific scenario compared to other players. I want to ko what is the highest wave a player was able to get in a specific scenario.
- The ability to have a Super ability that you can get to use after you get like X amount of kill (e.g. call for a large air strike)
- I want to see more type of enemies
- When ARKit search for a surface, I prefer it would be without the thermal optics effect so I can see where I am pointing the camera at.
- Have different modes – For example, have a mode where I can rescue survivors. This would be great, Imagine being able to land the helicopter in an area and pick down survivors before they get killed by the zombies. Add an effect of sand when you land on the ground, etc.
- Have a day map without the thermal camera effect
- Make the helicopter in the main screen animated, not look like a static image.
- Have an ability to move the button controls up vertically so they fit perfectly when my thumbs are placed.
- The horizontal lines in the thermal camera can be annoying, is there a way to make the image look smooth, not “interlaced”?
- Have a co-op and very challenging levels so two players can play on the same map. If the player is in front of you, you can see his helicopter. It’s like doing a raid with a friend, a tough mission that requires two players to be able to beat with great loot in the end!
OK, now let’s move on to the conclusion and the final score.
Zombie Gunship Revenant AR is not your regular augmented reality (AR) game because the real world visuals are less important in this game. That being said, the game uses AR to give players the ability to control the gunship in all directions by just moving their iPhone or iPad.
There are so many things I liked about ZG: Revenant: the frame rate are buttery smooth, I love the interesting atmospheric thermal camera visuals (although some people might be annoying by it), the shooting feels very authentic, I love the haptic feedback when shooting, the explosion and sound effects are second to none, the animations are smooth and reliable, I love the upgrading and weapon unlocking progression system, physically moving around the battleground feels great and rewarding and the controls are intuitive to use. I also like the campaign level structure, the developer can easily add more in future DLC and it will fit the progression nicely.
I’m sure that there will be many users who won’t like the art-style of the game and this unfortunate that there isn’t an option to tone the thermal camera graphics down in the settings.
Bottom line is that Zombie Gunship AR is an incredible ARKit shooter. The gameplay is fun and addictive. The shooting experience in AR is top-notch. If you ever wanted an AR game full of crazy action, I’m sure you are going to have a blast playing this game—A Must-Have ARKit game, period!