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Pixel Gun 3D Review: Can We Just Stop With the Minecraft Clones, Please?

The “Minecraft imitator” genre is a growing one in the App Store. It seems like any game genre can be spruced up and made more appealing if it’s skinned with pixelated blocks. The latest clone is Pixel Gun 3D, a game that aims to deliver a Minecraft inspired FPS with multiplayer support. It has been consistently in the Top Ten Paid Apps for the last few weeks, so I decided to give it a try.


Pixel Gun 3D has two modes: a single-player Survival Mode, where you run around shooting mostly undead enemies like zombies and skeletons; and Multiplayer Mode, where you join others in a shoot-or-be-shot contest. The game also offers a Skin Maker that allows you to customize your own skins and export them as graphic files for uploading to Minecraft. It seems like a fair spread of features … until you realize that they’re all pretty mediocre.

The Survival mode is at least mildly entertaining. It kind of feels like playing Minecraft Minigore. The zombies crawling on the ground are a neat idea, and they almost always sneak up on me undetected. But the controls are iffy and aiming is about what you’d expect in a Minecraft clone, and so you often find yourself shooting walls or trees as enemies approach.


Also, pro tip: every time you play you begin in the Tutorial level, and there’s an obvious trick for getting all the weapons. Just keep mining the spawn point. Within a few minutes you’ll have virtually every gun in the game and a full load of ammo. Not that the guns matter too much; rate of fire seems to be the biggest difference between them, though the shotgun and rifle also do some extra damage. I have yet to encounter anything fun or unusual like a flamethrower or a missile launcher.

While Survival Mode has some merits, Multiplayer Mode is pretty pointless.  All the boards are user-created, so the rules aren’t consistent, or clear; and there’s a flaw in the display where text cuts off instead of scrolling or wrapping, so even when “rules” have been established they’re not readable. Add to that server lag and the fact that Multiplayer Mode has a tendancy to crash, and there’s little to recommend it. There’s better FPS multiplayer games in the App Store, and heck, even better FPS Minecraft clones.


You may also be interested in Pixel Gun 3D because of its “Skins Maker”, but it is definitely not a selling point. If you own an iPhone and you play Minecraft, you’ve probably already purchased Minecraft Explorer Pro, which has a much better skin maker with a more direct connection to your Mojang account. This is more like MS Paint with pre-defined templates for the various parts.


And lastly, the IAP is just ridiculous. Want the Crystal Sword (read: Diamond Sword)? $4.99. A Mining Pick? $1.99. A potion to let you Continue when you die? Also $1.99 (one use). If you’re going to charge these prices, at least give the game away for free!

How has Pixel Gun 3D made its way to the top of the Paid chart? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe players are desperate for any sort of multiplayer Minecraft game on their devices. Please, Mojang, hurry up with Realms and save us from the insanity!

Our Score: 2 out fo 5

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