I admit that strategy games and simulators are more my thing, but on occasion I will dabble in first-person shooters. “ShootMania Storm”, while being primarily an arena-esque multiplayer first-person shooter, is a little more than the sum of its parts. Some of you may recognize the name from the developer’s “TrackMania” games, which feature intense racing and community created content. Before we take a look at this particular first-person shooter, I’d like to thank Edouard Beauchemin from Nadeo for providing me with a free review copy.
Before the game booted up, I was presented with the typical “ManiaPlanet” launcher. Having played both “TrackMania² Stadium” and “TrackMania² Canyon”, my settings were already saved and thus I didn’t have to mess with anything. For the benefit of those who are new to the launcher, you’ll be able to set your game options up from here. While the in-game control panel has an options menu of sorts, you’ll be given a lot more to work with here. You’ll be able to change various graphical, audio, network, and peer-to-peer settings on a whim. The parental lock option stood out to me the most, though the “ManiaPlanet” games I currently own aren’t bloody or gory by any means. The games are however, heavy focused around multiplayer and so some parental supervision may be warranted.
The “ManiaPlanet” launcher will list out all of the games you currently own under that umbrella. In this case, I had access to a few different windows pertaining to the “Mania” universe. You’ll be able to resize and move these windows around if you don’t like the default look. Upon installing this game, I was given access to “Storm”, “Royal”, “Joust”, and “Elite”. I inquired about this to the developer and was told (paraphrasing) that these were individual stations that have their own ranking system and allows players to compete with others in a specific game mode. “Elite”, “Joust”, and “Royal” are smaller standalone game modes in comparison to the larger “Storm”, but allow modders to have their own distribution channels.
Gameplay is multiplayer only as I didn’t see the option to include bots into my game. This is something I feel should be implemented, if at all possible. While I’m sure it would be more “social” of me to participate in bunny hopping multiplayer fun, I do take enjoyment out of blowing up simplified AI bots as if I were Rambo, but angrier and more buff. Sometimes the stresses of work or home can be overwhelming to where I prefer simulated AI targets that you can blast to kingdom come without too much effort. “Perfect Dark” comes to mind.
With that said, I appreciate the game’s intuitive level editor design. Players will be able to create their own levels / arenas and share them on a global scale. I’ve grown more impatient in my old age and don’t like overly complex map editors, but I was able to create a simple red vs blue arena without too much trouble. I’m sure I wouldn’t have scored high on the design portion of the test, but it’s nice to see that I can make something quick in under ten minutes.
Speaking of servers, beginner servers are available to those that are new to the game. You’ll be given a buff or two to help you out, but the controls aren’t all that complicated. All you’ll need to do is move, aim, and shoot. The very first match I played put about ten of us into a free for all fight to the death and I’m pleased to say that I scored better than half of those involved. I didn’t have to bunny hop or display mad FPS skills to do it either. There are other servers available to suit your needs, whether you’re in the mood for capture the flag, team death match, or etc. Doing well earns you “planets”, which you can trade in for various things like more station slots and other user-created content.
The interface is easy to follow. Your HUD is displayed along the bottom of the screen, letting you know how many hits you can take (armor count) and the status of your weapon’s charge meter. In terms of weaponry, the game sports one weapon and one weapon only. You’ll have a gun that shoots an energy pulse of your team’s color, which drains your charge indicator appropriately. It fires less like a machine gun and more like rocket launcher, the more I think about it. The interface is a very simplistic system all in all and it won’t take you long to catch on to what you’re seeing.
Overall, “ShootMania Storm” is a decent multiplayer arena game. It lacks options in terms of actual combat, but the level editor allows for a lot of customization. I would like to see more weapons and tools added…turrets, grenades, pistols, explosive weapons, and etc. I know some may gawk at that, which is why these options could theoretically be disabled in the server setup screen prior to playing. I think giving players more combat options with the ability to enable what they want would give the game a bit more oomph. As it stands, the level editor is the best feature and while that is a big plus, players may get tired of the same combat options over an extended period of time. Those who really enjoy designing maps and being creative will get the most out of “ShootMania Storm”. The game is currently being sold for $19.99 (as of 4/10/13).
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “ShootMania Storm” by visiting the following websites:
You can check out video play sessions here: