Gameloft may not produce the most original content on the planet but their iOS games are enjoyable ones backed by some solid production values. Modern Combat: Sandstorm is not such a game. This game is boring, doesn’t control real well and feels like a cheap imitation of modern shooters you’ve played a billion times by now.

In case the name hasn’t tipped you of yet, Sandstorm takes place somewhere in the Middle East as players step into the boots of an officer called “Chief” who’s back in the battlefield because he loves Uncle Sam that much. He’s joined in this most noble endeavor by a rag tag group of hardened marines who probably stepped out of the clichéd school for hardened marines. They don’t cuss (so much for authenticity) but they will express their joy (constantly) as an enemy gets shot in the head or you blow stuff up, reiterating the fact that all marines are soulless psychopaths. 

Work Work

Work Work

But whatever. Who cares about a plot as long as the game’s fun right? Well yeah, that would hold true except Modern Combat: Sandstorm is not fun. It’s not bad enough to make you smash your iPad but nearly every facet of the game has been done before, and done better. Oh look, a rescue mission. What’s that now? A mounted turret section? Oh look an “exciting” vehicular escape from this hellhole. Oh no, I’m stuck in an ambush. Wait, what, another ambush? I think somewhere down the line, developer Gameloft got the concept of an ambush all wrong. It’s like every second enemy encounter in this game was an “ambush” so by the end of the second level I knew exactly which broken down window an enemy would pop up from. It also seems the militants have access to some cool futuristic technology as they can teleport out of thin air right behind or in front of you. Yeah, looks like Uncle Sam misunderstood those bad dudes.

As with most shooters on the iPad, this game makes use of a virtual joystick with which you can move your character around and aim your weapon. Even in the control department, it seems Gameloft dropped the ball. Controlling your character doesn’t feel as responsive and fluid as it should feel. The prompt to fire your weapon seems a bit lower than I would have liked and this got real annoying in the game’s 50,00,0000 ambushes. The lock on system present in most shooters on iOS device is present in this game as well and can be used to rack up those headshots real easy. Like most shooters on the block today, you take cover when you absorb a ton of damage, suck on your thumb for a few seconds and voila, as good as new.

Duty calls

Duty calls

Visually the game looks decent only it’s very brown. I understand the game takes place in the desert but this setting’s been done by Infinity Ward in the past and I don’t recall their games looking this dull. Weapons are modeled well enough and while they don’t sound as booming and loud as they should, they get the job done. But that’s also probably because enemy AI in this game is painfully dense.

After playing some of Gameloft’s previous stuff like Nova, or even older Modern Combat games, Sandstorm feels like a rushed product. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played but it brings absolutely nothing to the table. And even the stuff it brings to the table isn’t terribly exciting. Pick this one up only during a sale.

Publish date: May 5, 2011 12:43 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:45 pm

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