Uberstrike review

Uberstrike is a multiplayer first-person shooter from Cmune, available on the Facebook game canvas as well as on Kongregate and in standalone downloadable versions. The game has been gaining considerable traction recently, and is set to launch on iOS and Android soon.

Uberstrike opens with a solo tutorial in which the player is introduced to the game’s basic controls and invited to practice shooting at targets with the game’s basic machine gun weapon. Following this, the player is then invited to either join or create a multiplayer game session in one of three modes: a free-for-all deathmatch, a team-based deathmatch, or a team-based “elimination” mode in which the team of the last player standing is declared the winner.

Once in a match, Uberstrike combines the conventions of old-school first-person shooters — fast-paced movement, collectible health items rather than slowly regenerating health, powerups scattered around the map — with the “constant rewards” mechanic often seen in more recent titles. Players are awarded points and experience for each successful kill, and levelling up unlocks access to additional items in the in-game shop. Between matches, players have the option to purchase “recommended” weapons and armor to take into the next round, though to visit the full shop interface they must exit the session.

Most items are available either on a “rental” or “permanent” basis — renting can often (though not always) be done with either soft or hard currency, while permanently purchasing a weapon generally requires hard currency. This isn’t cheap, either — even the lowest-price items cost over $5 in hard currency to purchase permanently, while the most expensive ones cost in the region of $30 each, meaning that the costs of fully equipping a character with permanent upgrades can really mount up. Fortunately, the purchasable weapons and armor aren’t quite a pay-to-win system, as even starting players with basic free equipment can take down fully tooled-up rivals if they are skilled first-person shooter players — the biggest gun in the world isn’t any good if you can’t aim it.

Uberstrike is set up for social play, with a real-time chat facility available between matches and full “clan” functionality. Players must purchase a clan license using hard currency in order to create a clan, though may join a friend’s clan without having to pay this fee. Since Uberstrike is a cross-platform game that not only runs on Facebook, the game uses its own internal friends list system, allowing users to easily add other players who they do not have on their Facebook contact list. This is a mixed blessing, however, as it means it is impossible to directly invite friends to play via Facebook, instead relying on Timeline posts or direct contact between the players.

The game is also well-supported by its developers, with regular new maps and items introduced into the rotation, helping to keep the game fresh and interesting to play. So-called “Bluebox” maps offer unconventional, experimental environments often inspired by other games, with the most popular going on to be fully-implemented into the regular list of maps. There is a great deal of variety for even the most jaded of first-person shooter fans to enjoy here, and free players can have just as much fun as those willing to pay for the premium equipment.

In short, Uberstrike is an excellent example of web gaming done right. It’s a game that is simple to get into but rewards protracted effort and skill, and one which runs on a wide variety of platforms, making it an excellent title for casual players to get into the first-person shooter genre. The paid items allow for a greater degree of customization, while the free equipment is balanced enough to allow non-paying players to remain competitive and have a satisfying experience. At no point is the player “nagged” to invite friends or purchase hard currency. The only mildly pushy moment is when the player is invited to share each level up on their Timeline, though the “cancel” button is right next to the “share” button rather than tucked away in an obscure corner like in some other games.

All this adds up to a title that is very friendly to players and shows an excellent understanding of what core gamers actually want from web-based games — an experience akin to the standalone games they already play and enjoy on their computers and consoles, but which allows them to make use of a platform’s social features as and when they see fit. Granted, Uberstrike somewhat underuses Facebook’s capabilities, but it does at least allow players to brag about their achievements on their Timeline and play from any Windows or OS X-based computer without requiring hefty client downloads. This alone sets it apart from other free-to-play shooters that are only available in standalone format (and perhaps only for PC) and makes it immensely accessible to the widest possible audience.

Uberstrike currently has 1,300,000 monthly active users and 150,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.

Play

Exactly the sort of game “core” gamers will actually want to play — akin to a standalone experience, but conveniently playable right within Facebook.

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  1. Pet Rescue Saga snags top spot among this week’s fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU says:

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