15
Oct
unnamed

This game seems to have everything going for it. It has an alien invasion, destroyed cityscapes, big guns, and Tegra optimization. By all rights, Razor Salvation should be a killer game. This title isn't free and it's a big download, so you should know what you're getting into. Let's see if it's worth your time.

Gameplay

The premise of Razor Salvation is epic, but poorly explored. The gist of it is that aliens have invaded Earth, and you have to land your dropship in various locations to save as many humans as possible. As you progress, more of the background regarding the Xenos invasion and the infected human population is revealed. This is all fine, but I wasn't enraptured by the storytelling.

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In each level your dropship plops down in the middle of a battlefield filled with broken buildings and obstacles. This is a so-called "beach head" defense game. You are stationary, and targets approach you from all sides. You have to use your pod's extensive weapon systems to hold off the Xenos troops while clearing the way for human survivors to get to you. The more folks you save, the more levels are opened up to you.

Each level continues until you run out of health and have to blast off to avoid certain doom. If you haven't saved enough people to unlock further levels, you're going to have to dive back in after a quick refuel.

Controls

Your dropship pod can rotate 360-degrees – just tap and drag to sweep your crosshairs around. This is the first place I found myself frustrated with Razor Salvation. The aiming is very, very rough. I feel like the crosshairs are jumping too much with each movement of my finger. It's incredibly hard to zero in on a target. Adjusting the sensitivity in the settings did nothing to smooth out the controls.

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You have a sort of heads-up display on the screen with health, radar and weapons control. The radar is useful for seeing where the closest threats are, but it takes so long to turn your weapon emplacement around. I found myself swiping the screen over and over just to get myself pointed in the right direction. It felt like dialing an old rotary phone, but instead of talking to a person I'm screaming at my tablet.

The fire button works well. All you have to do is push it so Blowfish Studios doesn't get too many points for not messing that up. You can switch between six weapons and two special weapons. The weaker standard weapons have unlimited ammo, but you need to watch your rounds with the others. Opening the weapon swap panel doesn't pause the game, but it really should.

Graphics

The visuals in Razor Salvation alternate between passable and unacceptably bad. I would be willing to give it a little more credit, but this is supposed to be a Tegra title. The Android community has grown to expect a Tegra game to deliver something that looks great. In this case, the graphics are worse than many non-Tegra titles I've played.

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Texture resolution is acceptable in most places, but there is definite blurring on some objects. The alien units look clean and simple, but they move awkwardly. The humans in their radiation suits aren't much better. When you look at the enemy models in the menu, they look fine. During actual gameplay, though, it's not impressive at all.

Alaising is also a big problem. There are jaggies along a lot of edges, and it actually makes it hard to pick out distant enemies. The developer is calling this "console level" graphics. I'm not sure what console they're referring to. Maybe the PS1?

Cost and Conclusion

You are awarded with cash when you rescue humans in Razor Salvation, and you're going to use it to buy more ammo and upgrades for your weapons. You are also given metals for accomplishing various objectives. The metals can be used for cosmetic changes. If you don't have enough cash or metals for an upgrade, you can make an in-app purchase of metals. Either spend the metals, or turn them into cash.

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I consider this a fairly abusive use of in-app billing. You not only have to buy upgrades, but the game forces you to keep stocking up on ammo to continue playing. Sure, you can grind through with the low-level weapons to find cash, but Razor Salvation is already aggravating enough as it is. This game costs $2 up front, and it does not warrant spending anything through in-app purchases.

Sometimes a game is just a miss, and Razor Salvation is definitely one of those. The graphics are mediocre, the story is uninteresting, and the controls are a complete disaster. I had absolutely zero fun playing it and can't recommend you buy it.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • WilliamSurname

    It's nice to see more negative reviews for Android games coming up. The hardware is at a point where it can support some really great games, but developers keep putting shlock out there. If a game has solid graphics then its gameplay slips. If its gameplay is pristine its graphics don't keep pace. And pretty much all of them design levels to be so short it's like they expect you to take your tablet into the bathroom with you.

    Looking at games like Horn that show that it's possible to hit the trifecta of solid gameplay, graphics, and storytelling it's clear that there's no excuse for tolerating shovelware.

    The Wild West days of mobile gaming where any new gameplay quirk or flashy particle effect could get a game up to 4 stars in the app market are nearing their end, and I couldn't be happier about it.

  • iTKe2k

    tegra :/

  • defred34

    This game is utter g a r b a g e. Like you mention, the devs claim console level graphics, but in reality, its anything but. How does nVidia allow devs to make such outrageous claims and get away with it is beyond me. And don't even get me started on the gameplay...atrociously terrible. Tegra games lately have been a load of drivel. This one's the worse of the lot.

  • http://twitter.com/Vizualize a.d.AM

    They are just loading up the Play Store with DOOKIE. The best game ive been playing is Shadowgun Deadzone Beta. Now thats fun!

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