If there is one genre that I’ve maintained has no chance at picking up steam on mobile, it’s free-roaming shooters. I’m not talking about the games where you’re stuck in one position like in Sniper X, or where you move from static location to static location like in Overkill 3. I’m talking free-roaming, move-where-you-want-when-you-want, shooters.

So far, Radiation Island was the only free-roaming shooter that I enjoyed enough to readily recommend, but that game was held back from being truly great by a handful of technical issues. Radiation Island was also a niche game, a game catering to the fans of survival-crafting shooters, like Day Z. The game was good, but it didn’t have too wide appeal.

Afterpulse on the other hand….well, this game could be big.

Afterpulse review

Gorgeous visuals aside, Afterpulse is a free-roaming, multiplayer-based, third-person shooter from Gamevil. A gentle auto-aim system assists players with targeting enemies, and makes up for the fact that aiming while controlling a moving character with a touch-screen is imprecise at best. Running into enemies initiates lightning-fast gunfights where the survivor quickly reloads and runs to find another enemy to take on. The easiest way to sum up Afterpulse is that it’s a Call of Duty-like experience for your smartphones and tablets. It’s flashy, fast-paced, and most importantly: fun.

Afterpulse sets small groups of players against one another in small, but detailed, environments. With a wide assortment of weaponry and gear to collect, unlock, upgrade, and equip, players can eventually customize their soldier to be a type that caters best to their particular play style. Whether you’re a light-weight, hit-and-run, player, or a heavy duty, I-want-the-biggest-gun-you-have type, you’ll find something for you in Afterpulse.

After a few tutorial missions players can jump right into multiplayer matches which loaded up and started within a comfortable amount of time. Matchmaking did a decent enough job placing me with players who were all around my account level, so the game didn’t feed me to the sharks straight away …unless those sharks happened to spend a little bit of cash.

Afterpulse review

My biggest annoyance in Afterpulse was being matched with players who had paid (or maybe just gotten ridiculously lucky with some early unlocks) for special gear and were equipped with flashy guns that made my submachine gun feel like it was shooting paintballs. As fun as the game is, it’s really annoying to be consistently mowed down by the same player who has the intimidating 6-star machine gun covered in an obnoxious paint scheme. With that said, this is just part of the game, and if you want to be on truly fair playing field you should consider paying a fair amount of money for the experience. From the store, players can buy a random 4-6 star weapon for roughly $3.99.

I personally think that is a little steep for a gamble, but clearly some players have no problem spending the kind of money it takes to get a good gun (or again, just have very good luck).

The default control scheme in Afterpulse initially hampered my enjoyment, but luckily, the game offers a number of control options (and the ability to move around some interface elements) that I was able to tinker around with until I found the right setup for me. Once I got a handle on the controls, my skill in the game noticeably improved.

I had refused to believe a game like this could succeed on mobile, but Afterpulse has proved me wrong. If you’ve been keeping your fingers crossed for a good shooter to play on your phone or tablet, uncross them and get to playing Afterpulse. Just be warned: if you’re unwilling to put in some money upfront for gear, you might find yourself at an initial disadvantage.