For as long as I have been gaming on iOS, I have ignored genres that I considered “console genres” – genres I could never see making the transition to my phone’s screen in a way that I would find satisfying. I have long considered first-person shooters one such genre. But despite my usual rule, I took a chance on Midnight Star Renegade… And I must admit, I was not disappointed.
Midnight Star Renegade cheats my criteria a little bit by actually being a hybrid of an on-rails shooter and a conventional first-person shooter; you can control the direction in which your character moves, but he will follow a preset pathway until he stops at the next “node” from which you can set him off running in another direction.
You can fire at enemies while your character is moving, and in fact it’s quite necessary for skillful play. Enemies will hide behind cover as you pick them off shooting-gallery style, so repositioning to avoid their shots and get better firing angles is essential. You can also “zoom” with your fingers or touch a button at the bottom left to focus on the nearest target at any time, making combat feel visceral and responsive without being disorienting. In short, its mechanics lend themselves very well to a smartphone screen, delivering a faithful shooter experience without relying on virtual control sticks.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the presentation of the game is slick and beautiful, and the environments you explore during missions are very graphically impressive, if a little limited in how much you can actually roam. The game also features robust equipment and crafting features, allowing you to customize and improve your space trooper to your liking – and with options like elemental and explosive weapons at your fingertips, the customization feels varied and relevant to the gameplay as well.
Altogether it’s difficult to find a serious complaint to level against Midnight Star Renegade. At the low, low price point of “free” it manages to deliver a truly fun and playable iOS first-person shooter, and aside from their in-app purchase prices for equipment bundles and the like being a little steep, (which they probably deserve for all the work that clearly went into this game) I would say that this title is just about topping out the potential of what a free iOS game can offer in virtually every regard; what a pleasant surprise! Highly recommended.