Firing Range, more than most titles, has the ability to do what it says on the tin. It is set solely in a firing range, where you, presumably a paying customer at said firing range, must shoot targets. Unable to move around, you control only your weapon.
The game, made by Milkstone Studios and available on Xbox Live for 80MS has only one difficulty setting, and the player is required to progress through levels which each last 90 seconds. The number of points, gained by accurately shooting the targets, increases level-by-level, requiring greater marksmanship from the shooter. To make the game a bit more challenging, there is also a multiplier system. If you manage to hit the bull’s-eye on the target, the score you get for hitting that target is doubled. For example, if you hit a target for 500 points, you will get 500 x 2. If you hit the next target on the bull’s-eye, this time for 700 points, you will get 700 x 3 points – hitting big combos is key to succeeding.
The graphics and sound are pleasant. The range itself, as well as the targets and guns would not look out of place on a big-budget shooter from 3 or 4 years ago. The sound is quite standard, but not noticeably worse than a full-price shooter. A nice touch is that there is a mask of sound outside the range – the player is able to hear the calm chitchat that you would expect in a real firing range.
The first few rounds are very easy. In the third round I scored 132,000 points, I only needed 15,000 to pass the level, which would have meant hitting about 5% of the targets. The first time that I are really aware that there was a challenge to complete at all was in level 10, when I only reached the required 50,000 points with a few seconds to spare. After level 10 the game becomes a lot harder – fast. Considerable combos have to be reached just to pass the level. Shooting the targets, it seems, will no longer suffice.
There are only 3 guns, an SMG, a pistol and an assault rifle. Whilst this is a bit disappointing, it is not fatal.
Firing Range’s simplicity is its key to it being one of the most addictive Indie games I have ever played. It’s the type of game that when you fail a level, you will try it again. And then again. And then half an hour has been sunk into attempting to perfect something that you know you are so close to doing. The live updates of your progress in relation to the world leaderboards is also another gripping feature.
Firing Range is a valiant effort at creating an enjoyable and compelling shooter. It is simple and compulsive, and does not try to outdo its calling.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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