Games for your itchy trigger finger

It has been more than 20 years since “Wolfenstein 3D” changed video gaming by giving players the perspective of someone shooting a weapon.

These games, called first-person shooters, have become commonplace. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but it should be no surprise that they have found their way to mobile devices.

Wolfenstein 3D Classic Lite

  • Free on iOS

  • If you’re new to first-person shooters, or just enjoy a bit of retro gaming, the original “Wolfenstein 3D” game, which has been ported to iOS devices as a free app called “Wolfenstein 3D Classic Lite,” is a good place to start.

  • You play an agent trying to escape from a German castle during World War II, navigating a labyrinth of rooms and corridors, shooting any bad guys who come your way. There are doors to open, puzzles to solve, food to eat, and medicine for your injuries. It’s a classic game.

  • The game’s vintage-quality shows, admittedly. There’s no up or down control, and the graphics are shockingly blocky, especially when compared with what you will see on a high-definition television.

  • Also, you should not expect moving music, hours of play, or breathtaking visual or audio effects. Yet, I still regard “Wolfenstein” as a personal favorite.

  • It’s simple, but it has drama, a spark that keeps you playing, and great on-screen touch controls that make it easy for you to move through the game.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

  • $7 on iOS and Android

  • In contrast, “Modern Combat 5: Blackout,” $7 on iOS and Android, is jammed with detailed graphics, sophisticated controls, and fast-paced gameplay. The setting is more modern: a militarized unit fighting terrorists. Its graphics are so good that you’ll see features like rippling water and haze. You may find yourself looking around the game just to admire the buildings and characters. It’s also so fast-paced that you’ll probably lose pretty quickly the first time you play it. And the second.

  • Unlike “Wolfenstein,” this game really is 3-D. You can walk around and over the scenery, and to shoot, you have to aim your weapon both left and right and up and down. This makes it confusing to control at first. With one thumb, you move around by gesturing on the touchscreen, while the other aims your weapon and fires.

  • The game offers hints about the gestures you use to take cover, leap over barriers, and so on, but even for a seasoned gamer, it took a while to get used to the controls. Once you get past the learning curve, there is plenty to offer, like multiplayer events where you can play and chat with other users.


Blitz Brigade

  • Free on iOS and Android

  • If these apps don’t appeal, a simpler game is “Blitz Brigade.” Free on iOS and Android, it has a cartoony style and bits of dark humor.

  • It’s set in World War II, and it, too, has full 3-D controls and online multiplayer settings. The game’s main interface is a weakness. It’s overly complex, with a bewildering array of menus and control screens. But I like the game’s playing style, which features short bursts of action rather than the longer set pieces in “Modern Combat.”

The Drowning

  • Free on iOS

  • For a completely different experience, check out “The Drowning,” which is free on iOS. This is a zombie-killing game in which movements, aiming, and shooting are controlled through on-screen gestures. The game has a more basic story line than some of the others, but it has good graphics. I find its gesture controls also make it intuitive to play.

  • And one last thing to note: You will have to forgive the corny voice acting and dialogue on these games, because they are genre staples.

Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times.
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