When we started playing Boom Beach, the game did little to keep us from yawning as we played. "Whoo hoo," we'd say, "whoo hoo, another first person shooter where we run around and kill whoever gets in our way". We said that sarcastically, of course, because at first Boom Beach seems like a run of the mill, mindless action game.
Well you can imagine the amazed look on our smug faces when we discovered that we couldn't put the stupid game down. Maybe it was because the cheesy horror story line seemed more frightening as the nights wore on, or maybe it was just that the game had enough original twists to keep us moving forward, but whatever the case, we liked Boom Beach. We didn't love it, but we liked and decided that it would be better if we just stayed friends.
At first glance, Boom Beach can best be described as homely. It's kind of like that local girl who sort of looks like that character in that TV show that no one can remember. Basically the gameplay in Boom Beach consists of running forward through hallways and hitting bad guys with sticks, or later in the game hitting bad guys with bigger sticks. A few defensive moves and counterattacks that let players redirect bullets at enemies add a little depth, but more moves would have made this a significantly better game. After just a little while the action feels like any first-person shooter.
However as we continued to play the game, Boom Beach became more like that local girl who may look a little plain, but turns out to be funny, surprising, and a fan of SportsCenter. Boom Beach surprised us with a cool concept called BrainJacking. Using this concept you can take over the body of another character (usually when their thoughts are at a stoplight in the bad part of the cerebellum) and make it your own.
This concept really keeps the game fresh. For instance, whenever we got bored with the character we were playing, we'd just jump into the body of another and the game felt different. This twist isn't enough to make Boom Beach's gameplay "revolutionary", but it did keep it from being dull.
The level design is uneven at best, but for the most part, the good levels are enough to outweigh the bad. And the graphics are silky smooth throughout the game. Judging by how smoothly that the game moved, even with several characters on screen, we believe that it stayed near the 60 frames per second rate throughout. (Although we'd occasionally lose track. Fortyninefiftyfiftyonefiftytwofififtfour....doh!) Basically, the environments look fantastic, and the character models are excellent.
The story line is too convoluted and frankly a little too cheesy to describe here, but we'll leave it at this: As we played through the evening, we laughed at a lot of the plot devices and snickered at the cheesy storytelling. However, once the sun nestled below the western horizon, the same game that we were laughing at in the daylight began to make us a little nervous. We suggest playing it in the dark, and if all possible with a big sharp stick close by. It made us feel safer.
Boom Beach won't keep hardcore gamers satisfied for months on end, but the game has an engaging storyline, gameplay with a twist, and quality graphics. Add that together and we've got ourselves another hit title for the IOS.