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iPad  header logo

Fangz HD


For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Shot through the heart

Product: Fangz HD | Developer: Game Whizzes | Publisher: Game Whizzes | Format: iPad | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Fangz HD iPad, thumbnail 1
Frank is pissed. Which seems reasonable, given that vampires have abducted his family.

And what better way to let off steam than through some ferociously bloody, side-scrolling shoot-'em up-style vengeance?

Answer: through some ferociously bloody, beautiful, side-scrolling shoot-'em up style vengeance.

Yes. Fangz HD is a bit of a looker - fashioned, as it is, from crisp, colourful, and gorgeously-animated cartoon lines. It's Fangz HD's rich visual flair that lends the game much of its appeal, offering a real visceral thrill as its cast of monsters explode in fountains of blood-red hack 'n' slash goop.

There will be blood

Beneath its blistering veneer, though, Fangz HD is a rather more familiar beast. Each of the game's ten multi-level stages - ranging from desolate suburbs to gloomy subways - delivers a gory, left-to-right trundle through vast undead hordes before rounding things off with a climactic boss fight.

And when those are out of the way, there's your typical survival mode to put your skills to the ultimate test.

In game terms, that amounts to guiding Frank as nimbly as possible through the varied vampiric menace, emptying firearms and bludgeoning skulls until each stage is clear.

That's not as easy as it sounds, either, with powerful opponents attacking from all angles and a strict time limit in place per level. Plus, health and ammo pick-ups are anything but plentiful.

Thankfully, though, each successful enemy slaughter ups your XP - enabling you to level up your stamina, strength, speed, and firepower - and scatters valuables that you can trade for deadly new weaponry.

Soon, you can augment your initial arsenal of baseball bat, pistol, and shotgun with the likes of katanas, flamethrowers, bazookas, and, of course, chainsaws. Best of all, there's ne'er an in-app purchase in sight.

It's the kind of careful drip-feed of mass destruction that keeps the game's otherwise fairly one-note action engaging.

High stakes action

There's a bit of a problem, though: Fangz HD isn't particularly well balanced. Right from the off, enemies swarm the screen in droves, delivering a challenge pitched somewhere around 'brutal'. That'd be fine if it was intentional but several suspect design decisions suggest otherwise.

For instance, your one defensive manoeuvre - jumping - ludicrously depletes your health with every leap. That makes defence near-impossible when your health is low - and if ammo is scarce, too, you're effectively screwed.

Suddenly, survival is a game of luck rather than skill, which, when combined with a restart system that takes you back to the very beginning of each three-part stage, can prove incredibly wearying.

Still, there's pleasure to be found in Fangz HD's moment-by-moment combat, even if actual progression can feel laboured at times. Its chaotic, visceral action is delivered with the kind of gratifying immediacy that makes this sort of experience perfect for on-the-go play.

And while Fangz HD might not be the best or most original side-scrolling shooter out there, it still offers plenty to sink your teeth into.
 
Fangz HD
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 25 April 2013
A solid, if slightly uneven, side-scrolling shooter that delivers a compulsive upgrade system and superbly visceral presentation
 
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