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ShootMania Storm: Laser Tag on Speed

It takes a lot for a shooter to be surprising these days. Year after year, competing developers and publishers attempt to deliver something for the genre's heavy international fanbase. Most of these games involve some combination of militaries, terrorists, aliens, real-world conflicts, and gore. So how refreshing it is to see a game like ShootMania Storm come along. This online shooter from Nadeo (TrackMania, among others) doesn't bother with storytelling or gore. It is one of the purest shooters I've played in years, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

ShootMania Storm gives you a number of game modes, a handful of maps, and a simple but nuanced control scheme. ShootMania Storm is a shooter that places heavy emphasis on positioning, momentum, timing, and precision. It is extremely fast and challenging, but those who learn the ropes will find the game to be quite rewarding.

ShootMania Storm is not about destruction or violence; in fact, it might be the least violent shooter I've ever played -- enemies don't die; they fade away. Every fired shot results in a cooldown cycle before you can fire it again. But luckily you have a handful of shots to begin with; if you can time the intervals between shots, you will have a better time of it than the ones who blow them all away in a second.

I cannot stress this enough: ShootMania Storm is just as much about movement as it is about shooting. Sure, this can be said about other shooters, but it's just so fast and difficult to predict that it must be emphasized. The speed and agility at your disposal is intimidating at first, but it's ultimately empowering once you get the hang of it. The maps in this game are topographically diverse, and several of the environmental features give you plenty of opportunities to catch some serious air. Making good use of the stamina mechanic will invariably result in an incredible sense of speed. The stamina mechanic governs your jumping, but if you hold it down while falling and moving forward at the same time, the acceleration is immediate and thrilling.

My participation in ShootMania Storm's beta was somewhat limited; most of the action was confined to one or two game modes, while servers for other modes were completely empty. Of course, this will be remedied when the game launches in April. Check back for a full review when the game blasts onto the scene.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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