Back when touchscreen devices were in their infancy, the idea of console-quality shooters on mobile was almost the stuff of science fiction, but fast-forward to the current generation and there are dozens of them locked, loaded and ready to download from an app store near you.
So, take up that rifle, grab a few rounds of ammunition and a reach for a box of grenades because here are the best mobile first-person shooters for scratching that itchy trigger finger, ranked for your convenience.
10. Modern Combat Versus
Gameloft’s Call of Duty-riffing military shooter series turned out to be the perfect template for mobile’s answer to Overwatch. Modern Combat Versus retains its predecessors’ gorgeous 3D visuals but ditches the solo campaign, in favour of channelling its resources into multiplayer.
There are two game modes on offer, one of which has players collect data within a time limit, while the other is all about capturing enemy territory. Matches are fast-paced, the learning curve is gentle and there are stacks of bonuses to unlock. There’s even a bot mode for those in need of some target practice before facing actual human beings.
Publisher: Madfinger Games
When the zombie apocalypse rears its ugly, decomposing head, you can either run for your life a la Into the Dead 2 or take the fight to the reanimated horde in Madfinger Games’ Unkilled.
Unkilled is an FPS with a shoot-anything-that moves ethos. There’s nothing sophisticated about this one – aside from the Unity-powered 3D visuals – but its accessible gameplay is ideal to tackle in short bursts. Missions are fast-paced and lean, making them a good fit for mobile.
Unkilled really comes in handy when life throws a commute or waiting room stay at you.
8. Dead Effect 2
Publisher: BadFly Interactive
Dead Effect 2 is exactly what it sounds like: a mash-up of Mass Effect and Dead Space. It’s also one of the most atmospheric and complete first-person shooter experiences on available on mobile devices. The game blends science fiction and horror as effortlessly as it inserts puzzles and RPG elements into high-octane shooter action.
BadFly Interactive’s sequel feels polished and high-end, coming with a campaign mode that should keep you busy for around 20 hours. Moreover, the story is compelling and the myriad options for levelling up and upgrading gives you the chance to put a personal stamp on it.
7. Hitman Sniper
Publisher: Square Enix
You get to live life through a lens in Square Enix’s Hitman Sniper, or a scope, to be more precise. If you’re the kind of shooter fan who likes to park up on a vantage point and take out unsuspecting rivals from afar, this is the game for you, since it consists almost entirely of that.
Hitman Sniper is a stealth shooter which follows the famous Agent 47 across 150 missions that involve picking off targets from a distance. Most missions revolve around taking out foes stealthily so they’re unable to raise the alarm, and tackling quicktime events when it’s time to reload. Come for the assassinations, stick around for the unlockables, Easter eggs and the chance to climb the global leaderboard.
6. Modern Combat 5: Blackout
Gameloft’s business model usually involves taking a popular console IP, scaling it down for mobile and changing its content just enough so they don’t get sued. With Modern Combat 5: Blackout, the studio has put its own spin on Call of Duty and, just like the NOVA’s Halo riffing, that’s okay because it’s the closest thing we have to a fully-fledged mobile CoD.
That pretty much sums up Modern Combat: it’s CoD on iOS and Android, and like the popular PC and console series, it features a solo campaign and multiplayer arenas with stacks of eSports potential. If military shooters are your thing, you’ll definitely salute Gameloft for its work here.
5. Guns of Boom
Publisher: Game Insight
Maybe you prefer being thrust into an arena for a fight to the death with other human players than battling aliens or running away from zombies. If that’s indeed the case, check out Game Insight’s Guns of Boom for accessible PvP in the vein of PC classic Team Fortress 2.
Guns of Boom is easy on the eye with its slick cartoony visuals, and it’s easy on the thumbs, too. Firing is automatic, so the only thing you have to worry about is aiming and moving. Despite its goofy name, Guns of Boom plays like it was built from the ground up for mobile devices and is perfect for tackling in short bursts.
4. NOVA Legacy
Gameloft remade our day when it polished up the original NOVA and brought it back to Google Play and the App Store, complete with bonus features. The Legacy edition is the same bite-sized Halo clone we know and love, with sharp, high-definition visuals to make it definitive.
Wield futuristic weapons, thwart an alien invasion and spend countless hours wired into its addictive multiplayer modes. NOVA Legacy brings the Halo experience to the palm of your hand. Okay, so it loses points in the originality stakes, but it’s not like Master Chief is likely to feature in a fully-fledged shooter for mobiles anytime soon.
3. Into The Dead 2
Into the Dead 2 is the perfect example of a sequel that builds on the original’s framework and improves everything about it. While the previous game was an addictive zombie runner with first-person shooter mechanics, the second instalment is all of that and so much more.
Developer PikPok has thrown a fully-fledged campaign mode into the mix, with an engaging story, tonnes of weapons to wield and upgrade, and multiple endings for added replay value. Meanwhile, those who prefer racing through an endless zombie apocalypse without the missing daughter in peril can do just that in the daily challenges and events.
2. Deus Ex: The Fall
Publisher: Square Enix
When Square Enix crammed the Deux Ex formula onto mobile devices in 2013, it proved that tablets and smartphones had become capable of handling console-grade 3D gaming experiences. The Fall thrust players back into the Blade Runner-esque world they’d previously explored on PC and consoles, recreating it down to some of its finest details.
Like the other Deus Ex games, The Fall blends numerous genres such as role-playing and stealth together in a dystopian cocktail, but it’s a first-person shooter at heart, albeit one for the thinking player.
1. Shadowgun Legends
Publisher: Madfinger Games
Madfinger Games pulled off something remarkable with Shadowgun Legends, a first-person shooter that single-handedly raised the bar for its genre on mobile. Set against sci-fi backdrop where alien-slaying mercenaries are treated like rockstars, the game is a graphical powerhouse that offers a console-quality experience in every respect.
The action is fast-paced and explosive in single player and there’s even light RPG components to add depth to the experience. Then there’s the online multiplayer and co-op modes, both of which are broad and compelling enough to compete with the market leaders in the battle royal genre, such as PUBG Mobile and Fortnite.
Shadowgun Legends claims the bullet-ridden crown!