The 7 best iPad and Android first-person shooters

by Joseph Leray

April 6 2014

Keep your iron sights on these seven tablet shooters the next time your trigger finger gets an itch.

First-person shooters have ruled the roost on PCs and consoles for decades, but making the genre compatible with touch-screen tablets has proven difficult. Thankfully, a few developers have gotten the hang of it, with impressive results. Click through the slideshow below for the list.

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  • 1 Deus Ex: The Fall
    Slide 1

    Eidos recently brought Deus Ex: The Fall to PC via Steam, but the dystopian, cyberpunk action-stealth game first appeared on Android and iOS last year. Set before the events of 2011’s Human Revolution, The Fall includes all of Deus Ex’ trademark elements: corporate conspiracies, high-security hacking, an amber-yellow color palette, and a smooth mix of action and stealth gameplay. If nothing else, this is a test case for complex touch controls: The Fall is a hybrid first- and third-person game, but the controls still hold up admirably

  • 2 Call of Duty: Strike Team
    Slide 2
    Call of Duty: Strike Team

    With the institutional weight of Call of Duty behind it, Strike Team was always going to look great and be popular. Strike Team stands out, however, for deftly working in real-time strategy elements to compliment the series’ punchy shooting. First-person mode is straightforward—point and shoot—but players also have the option of a top-down, bird’s-eye view. From there, you can scout out enemy positions, issue commands, and set up a strategy before switching back to first-person to duke it out.

  • 3 N.O.V.A. 3
    Slide 3

    Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. series has been the foremost sci-fi shooter on tablets for years, and the third entry is no different. N.O.V.A. 3 introduces new locales (derelict ship! Volterite homeworld!) and weapons (mech fight!), but it’s mostly a straightforward sci-fi shooter, relying on a well-rounded set of features and years of Gameloft iteration and adaptation.

  • 4 Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour
    Slide 4
    Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

    The Modern Combat games round out Gameloft’s shooter repertoire with a (somewhat) more grounded, military approach. Translation: you can use a shotgun instead of a laser rifle. Zero Hour’s campaign features your run-of-the-mill terrorist plot, but the real draw here is a robust and popular multiplayer mode. Most notably, Zero Hour introduces class specializations and a perk system, which allows a level of customization previously restricted to big-screen shooters.

  • 5 Dead Effect
    Slide 5

    In form and function, Bulkypix’ Dead Effect is well-worn territory: zombies, guns, a Bullet Time mechanic for flavor. Still, there’s something primordial about the walking dead, and shooting at them never really gets old. Dead Effect’s syrupy red blood is admittedly a little goofy, but the game provides a good overview of videogame zombiedom: there are the slow ones, and the fast ones, and the ones that barf on you if you get too close. Classic.

  • 6 Neon Shadow
    Slide 6

    Neon Shadow is an anachronism. Its cool neons are from the 80’s, while its frenzied, fast-paced shooting mechanics flourished in the mid-90’s; meanwhile, it’s only available on types of machines that didn’t exist even a decade ago. Still, if you want to explode lots of aliens very quickly with big, powerful firearms, Neon Shadow is a good start.

  • 7 Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn
    Slide 7
    Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn

    Freyr Games’ Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn is a team shooter with strong role-playing elements: pick a class, pick a set of skills, and watch tiny numbers pop out of the heads of your enemies as you fill them with lead. Black Dawn completes the package with randomly generated weapons and armor, so your gear will improve as you level up. There are plenty of tablet shooters out there, but Black Dawn is a hybrid that, if nothing else, scratches that itch to collect loot and level up.


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