Frima Studios knew they were on to something good when they made their first nun based game, Nun Attack. Now they’re applying that great recipe to a new genre, the endless runner. Nun Attack: Run & Gun has you playing as a bad ass nun, shooting God’s mission into the face of the underworld.
The first thing you’ll notice upon booting up the game is that it’s dripping with style. The backgrounds are lovely, the animation smooth and fluid and the soundtrack is fantastic. You can see for yourself from the screens below, and believe me the game looks even better in motion.
However, if playing on a slightly older device like myself (iPhone 4s) there can be occasion slowdown. This can make it hard to dodge obstacles, enemies, or collect all of the coins. On newer devices, I’d imagine it runs smoothly but I can’t comment on that. This doesn’t occur often enough to be a hindrance but when the animation is so good it’s a shame to see it stutter.
In terms of gameplay, you run and dodge obstacles in an effort to get as far as you can, collect as many coins as you can and get the highest score you can. When you’ve run far enough you reach a portal that gives you a ton of sweet coinage and takes you through to the next world and next set of enemies.
There are only three worlds, skeleton, werewolf and vampire, that repeat. This might seem limited, and you will find yourself playing through these same locations over and over but it doesn’t detract from the fun. I found myself dying often enough that each world offered enough of a challenge.
Even without slowdown, this game is pretty difficult. I’m no wizened veteran of the endless runner scene but I found this game kicking my butt repeatedly. That’s not a bad thing of course, the game provides a challenge to keep things interesting, but this same difficulty might be off putting to the more casual player.
To help combat the difficulty are the power ups and upgrades. As you run, you collect coins that can be spent in the store to upgrade your nun (her gun, her health and her aim) or the power ups you can get, such as a magnet to attract all nearby coins, a lightning storm to destroy all enemies or double points for a short period of time. By upgrading you can increase the duration of all these benefits, making it easier to kick ass.
These RPG mechanics are great, providing more than a simple cosmetic gift for your hard work. However, they also flag up the games biggest issue. A lot of the upgrades are gated behind a premium currency – diamonds. While you can get diamonds in other ways, its so slow that it would take you forever to upgrade your character even a few times, let alone purchase the other nuns for 10 or 60 diamonds apiece. To get the most out of the game, you would really have to buy the diamonds to unlock 2 out of the 4 characters.
It can be frustrating to have a really good run and collect loads of coins when you know you can’t upgrade any further without having to spend real money. This is a conundrum for all free to play games, how much do you let the player unlock and how do you incentivize them to spend money?
In Nun Attack, it’s a shame that two of the four characters are locked behind pay walls and that you can’t upgrade your given character more than 3 times without having to pay, or sign up for hordes of apps and services for a few free diamonds. If you don’t mind investing a couple of hours into downloading free apps then deleting them for diamonds then you can still enjoy all this game has to offer but it can be a pain.
Another limitation, perhaps, of the device I played on was the size of the screen. It placed the jump and fall buttons right over the character so often you can’t see the beautifully animated figure due to your own digits. This wasn’t a major issue, often finger placement didn’t obscure enemies or obstacles but the screen can feel cluttered at times, especially when things get hectic.
These minor issues don’t take away from how much fun the game is to play. Frima have made a game that’s great to look at and listen to and you’ll always find yourself wanting just one more run. It’s challenging but in a good way and the core mechanics are fluid and fun. It’s a shame about the characters being locked but if you are willing to sign up for various Facebook groups or download apps there are free ways to earn diamonds if you really want to. It’s easy to find yourself hooked and more than a few times my girlfriend has had to check I’m still alive after I’ve been in the bathroom for an hour…
S#!T Talking Central