Tag Archives: $1 Call of Duty

REVIEW: Global Warfare

With XBLIG fast approaching its ‘sell your new game by this date1‘ line in the sand drawn by Microsoft, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll start seeing more side projects and games-in-perpetual-development coming to the service over the next few months, eager to get listed before the sunsetting process kicks into high(er) gear. While it’s hardly unfinished, Svantech Studios’ Global Warfare ($1.00) probably picked as good a time as any to release.

Global Warfare is a first-person shooter that lets you battle against up to eight players (or less-intelligent AI bots) online in a free-for-all setting, with four-player split-screen even being an option, if you’re so inclined. While your ‘soldier’ is the usual generic, kill-everything type2, you can choose from three weapon classes (Tommy Gun = Assault, Bulldozer = Shotgun, and Sharp Shooter = Sniper) to adapt to the fight as need be.

As per the standard rule of online shooters, killing players and bots (and um… birds too— nothing is safe) gives you experience points, which go towards ranking up your character. There’s no current reward in the game for doing so, but hey, leveling up in life is its own reward, or so I’m told. You can tinker with the match settings beforehand, altering the number of kills needed to win, say, or how many bots you’ll face off against.

Global Warfare - Screen

All of the arenas in the game offer you plenty of terrain to take cover and shoot from (with sniping fools from close range or afar feeling particularly pleasant). Two of the four maps3 are highly-reminiscent of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare maps, which isn’t a bad thing in my book. Couple that brand of FPS nostalgia with a decent, if not exactly thrilling battle against mindless AI bots, and you’ve got a pretty also-decent recipe for an FPS that handles just as well.

Of course, you could probably do better with friends or some live human competition. It remains a crime that XBLIG is all but forgotten these days, and that fact especially hurts multiplayer-focused games. It’s the same story here. But even without a community to support it, Global Warfare offers enough content (and future content) to satisfy its small asking price.


EDIT: 9/9: Global Warfare made its promised update right before the XBLIG marketplace closed down, adding two new maps to the game. ‘Area 51’ is set on a— you guessed it— secret military base with alien technology, while ‘Donarium’ is a very pretty jungle map. You now have two more reasons to enjoy an already enjoyable FPS. Screens of the new environments below!


  1. That’d be September 9th, in case you’ve forgotten. 
  2. I mean, you can change the color of your shirt in the option menu, so maybe you’re not just a generic killing machine after all! 
  3. With more on the way. The developer plans to release an update in the next month or so, tweaking some elements and adding a couple of new maps to the game. You can’t argue with that. 
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REVIEW: Block Ops

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating; looks aren’t everything. Especially first looks. Coming across like the blocky, red-headed offspring of Loot or Die and listing its wares like any annual Call of Duty title (…without its third dimension), Block Ops ($1.00) nonetheless manages to merge those two very different games into a solid and fun (but at most times lonely1) experience.

Block Ops - Screen

It’s starts off timid. Where Loot or Die provided a lengthy campaign mode and new, constantly-dropping weapons and armor to satisfy your inner hoarder, Block Ops strips away everything but the visuals and interface of that game, replacing its innards with a (only occasionally compelling) zombie wave shooter2. You can shuffle your perks and loadouts (more on that later) to meet the challenge as needed, but most of it boils down to shooting a few zombies, retreating a few steps, shooting more, so on and so forth.

Enemies get tougher and more numerous as the waves go on, naturally, although you’re able to circumvent most of that trouble by following the instructions above in some form or variation. To judge it by that bit alone, Block Ops isn’t very deep or interesting. Thankfully, things perk up once you take it online. The game supports up to 16 players in a Deathmatch or Flag King mode, across a handful of stage types with mild platforming.

Here, you can pick your weapon class (shotgun, SMG, sniper) and choose from a wide range of perks, both passive abilities and those you can activate to get the drop on your opponents. That’s where the Call of Duty aspect (and fun) kicks in, allowing you to buff your play style as it suits you. Want double damage with your first shot? Pair it with a sniper rifle to one-hit fools. Landmines in mid-air? You bet. Leave a trail of fire behind you to burn your pursuers, then warp ahead to confuse them further? Even better. The mix-and-match possibilities are numerous, and the subsequent fights are awesome and definitely unpredictable.

Block Ops - Screen2

And therein lies the conundrum. If you’re going into this primarily as a solo player, the zombie stuff is meh at best, skippable otherwise. A glorified distraction to earn some experience points offline. On the other hand, Block Ops truly shines when playing with others in its chaotic deathmatch arenas, making the zombie wave shooter portion worth it to gain a few levels and unlockable currencies while waiting for your buddies. So then, the equation becomes quite simple; friends = yes, solo = no. Do your own math accordingly.


  1. Because XBLIG. Unless you’re organizing a game night yourself, or heading over to the developer’s page to add your name to a list of people looking to play, you’re not going to find anyone online. 
  2. That, like everything else, is better with friends. Speaking of which, a big thank you to Mr. Chris Antoni, andregurov, and nyan cat 543, for playing a few rounds of Deathmatch and Flag King with me. Some good games, guys (minus andregurov‘s cheap move at the end of the night; I’ll get you next time for that)! 

REVIEW: Avatar Laser Attack

Though they’ve since branched out to other consoles and ideas, Strange Games Studios has been at the ‘FPS XBLIG’ game for a long time. Running between paintball wars and zombies wave shooters, they’ve generally offered up basic but fun experiences, competent if ultimately same-y and rough around its gameplay edges. Avatar Laser Attack ($1.00) continues that trend unabated.

Avatar Laser Attack - Screen

Its setup comes with your standard FPS toppings; online deathmatches for up to 16 players1 on a single map, or offline play against the pathetically-easy AI2 for you solo artists. The arena itself— a ‘space station’— is passable but largely nondescript, a mix of interconnected hallways, kill rooms, and balconies. And crates. Lots and lots of crates. You’ll find the usual assortment of ammo boxes and health packs scattered around, as well as the occasional killstreak pickup in physical form.

Like previous Strange Games shooters (and a la Call of Duty), the killstreaks here run as a reward for netting a set number of kills without dying, starting with personal radar, then letting you dual-wield your current gun, and finally, making you temporarily invulnerable to enemy bullets. You can activate them at any time after earning them, giving you some control and strategy over how the battles play out.

Avatar Laser Attack - Screen2

The progression system wisely follows the FPS mold, gifting you XP for kills (and taunts, if you’re so inclined) to increase your level and gain access to additional weapons (think laserfied SMGs, assault rifles, and a rail gun) and perks (faster reloads, quicker weapon swaps, etc.). None of these guns or unlockable skills are particularly revolutionary or necessary to the end game, but they are a nice incentive to continue grinding. For a little while.

Avatar Laser Attack plays fine and controls well enough (switch your view from third-person to first-person in the options right away), though it’s nothing you haven’t seen and heard and played from this developer before. It’s fun for a few matches if you’ve got friends to invite, but alone (the way most people will probably play it), it just doesn’t have the staying power.


  1. Not gonna happen, because XBLIG. 
  2. Like ’75 kills and maybe one death’ type of pathetically-easy. That’s fine if you want to feel like a golden god, but not so much if you came looking for a challenging fight. 

REVIEW: Paintball Wars 2

The original Paintball War came out at (what I consider to be) a turning point for first-person shooters on XBLIG, a time of enlightenment when developers really started to hit the mark in terms of control and design. It’s no surprise that the FPS flood doors swung wide open soon after. Almost two years on, we now get a sequel to one of the first FPS1 games I covered. And… very little has changed. Paintball Wars 2 ($1.00) definitely follows the adage ‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’, dropping you and up to fifteen others into a colorful (and familiar) online deathmatch, featuring everyone’s favorite non-lethal2 weapon— the paintball gun.

Paintball Wars 2 - Screen

And to be honest, part of me would agree with that adage. Paintball Wars 2 retains the same setup as its predecessor, letting you paint your foes on a single, medium or large-sized (according to player vote) map. The action is fast-paced3 and fun, with constant ‘duels’ springing up, avatars jumping over hedges and / or searching for a moment of respite underneath a bridge. Ammunition is once again strategically-scarce, though refills litter the battlefield. The arena here doesn’t have as much verticality as in the previous game, as the wide open spaces favor confrontation over positioning. If anything, this limits ‘sniping’, forcing players into close quarters.

Similar to the mainstream AAA shooters, the game offers up a ridiculously large slate of unlockables, gained via kills and leveling. You can choose from a number of typical perks and additional weapons, and attachments for said guns. This includes more accurate barrels and scopes, and some superficial customization stuff like gun camo. All in all, you’ll have plenty of rewards to earn in continually playing. Killstreak cards are awarded for successive kills (or can be found in the environment), doling out temporary bonuses like invulnerability or dual wield.

Paintball Wars 2 - Screen2

Online play has the usual small hiccups here and there, but the games I found were relatively lag-free… when I found them, that is. The bright side? You aren’t exactly held captive by the whims of the XBLIG community. One of the biggest pluses of this series has been the addition of AI bots4 offline. ‘Single-player’ features its own unlockable ranks and perks, helping to supplement the online half of the game when other players can’t be found. It’s a nice idea to increase its function and longevity.

It’s just all so familiar, with developer Strange Games taking zero risks, nor applying any lessons it might’ve picked up since the original’s release. Granted, it’s not bad if you’re looking for some madcap fun; just don’t expect to be wowed or confronted with anything new. Consider Paintball Wars 2 more of an ‘add-on map’ than a legitimate step forward for the series.


  1. Well, I suppose it should be considered a hybrid FPS / third-person view, but it’s much, much easier to play entirely in first-person. Be sure to change that option immediately. 
  2. Ha, say that to my left leg, which got butchered in a ‘real’ paintball match last year. ‘Only stings for a second‘, they said. My bruises would say otherwise. 
  3. Think of the game’s ‘flow’ as somewhere between Call of Duty and Unreal Tournament
  4. Albeit laughably easy to kill. 

REVIEW: Avatar Honor and Duty

With all the recent focus on fictional wars set in the near and distant future, fighting with frighteningly impersonal technology through even more frightening dystopias that’ll depress anybody’s outlook on life, Strange GamesAvatar Honor and Duty ($1.00) recalls that Great War where we first learned to love shooting total strangers in the face from the comfort (and complete safety) of our bedrooms— World War II.

Avatar Honor and Duty - Screen

Set in a nameless European village that borrows its color scheme and style from the developer’s previous FPS, Paintball War, and starring everyone’s ridiculously-dressed avatars, AHAD (sounds like a type of disorder, I know) once again melds a condensed indie design with Call of Duty’s highly-addictive multiplayer component. The result is a fast-paced, fun shooter that almost makes you forget it’s a tad derivative.

The usual drill applies. Matches can involve up to 16 players in a free-for-all format. Guns (and their attachments) are walled behind preset level requirements that you unlock the more points (via kills) that you earn. You can equip two perks at a time, and they are similarly doled out as you progress, giving you specific bonuses and boosts to skills or your weaponry, like faster reloads and increased running stamina. AHAD‘s armory contains guns representative of the era, with a carbine rifle, machine gun, and sniper rifle among the lot.

Killstreaks return as well, offering you the standard assortment of rewards for achieving and maintaining a hot streak, like radar, dual-wield, and so on, with you able to call in an artillery strike at the last step. Should you survive that long. The map favors close-quarters fighting, with groups clustered near the open areas or alleys leading to them. It’s chaotic in a good way, though, forcing confrontation and keeping the playing field level, with no one player able to really dominate without drawing the attention of nearby shooters. That quickened pace suits the controls, which may take some getting used to, stressing run and gun over ‘stop and pop’ precision.

Avatar Honor and Duty - Screen2

The online code is generally reliable. Joining a match can prove difficult at times (and you can be dropped unceremoniously), but I had a mostly uneventful play experience in each of the matches I found, with only a few hints of lag or dreadfully-bad hit detection, which largely came in whenever multiple people joined or left the round. There is also some problems with combatants sinking into floors or glitching into walls. I have to mention it, but you should know that it’s a small issue in the grand scheme.

All in all, Avatar Honor and Duty is an easy recommendation to make for those constantly looking for a new indie FPS to gravitate towards. Despite the throwback to a technologically-simpler time, it can and will feel like any other generic first person shooter. Don’t expect a revolution in design. If you measure a game’s worth by the amount of fun it provides, though, you’ll find ample value here.