After watching a promising trailer for the Sambisa Asault game from ChopUp, and spending a few days playing it, here’s what we think. Sambisa Assault is now available to download from the Google Play Store.
Pledge 51, makers of the ChopUp gaming platform/community, have come out strong with this title. The art is original. The drawing is crisp. The gameplay is responsive. And the accompanying music/sound effects work well enough. Sambisa Assault is not just significantly better than anything they have done before, but also tops anything that is currently out there from the stables of Nigerian game studios, in our opinion.
Gameplay is simple — tap to frag. Bearded green kamikazes will come at you from behind rocks. If you don’t tap them quick enough, they’ll shoot you. Get shot three times, and you die.
Powerups are available to enhance your fragging power and help you stay alive long enough to rack up high scores. The powerups are purchased with ChopUp coins which appear to be awarded at random from dead terrorists. Of course you could just buy coins from the ChopUp store.
Because it’s a timekiller, the narrative isn’t very deep. The game’s description says you are leading an elite team to save a city from terrorists, but all you are really doing is jabbing at men on a screen. Which is fine for a timekiller. Who needs a story when you can throw bombs?
I find that the game’s developers have been a tad too stingy with the dopamine payout. Even mindless timekillers have to inspire some sense achievement, whether it’s by awarding badges, coins, powerups, character upgrades and other kinds of in-game knick knacks. One major letdown was that you don’t start off with enough coins in the beginning to try the powerups out right out of the box. I mean, just look at that, when are we ever going to make enough to afford a shakabula?
Of course while there has to be a challenge, gamers with short attention spans will churn if they are made to work too hard to earn the things they need to have meaningful gameplay sessions. At the very least, the game should give players a few freebies to get them hooked on the experience, before making them earn them through gameplay or outright purchase with real cash.
I hope that in subsequent iterations or in new games altogether, Pledge51 will try harder to hit the dopamine trigger squarely.
Another observation. I really feel that Sambisa Assault would have been so much better in portrait mode which would have allowed one-handed play. Not all timekillers are portrait, but the most successful ones like Subway Surf, Temple Run, Candy Crush and more are. They are the kind of game you can play in a Danfo, or standing in a BRT, and still have one hand free to grab the rails. As it is right now, Sambisa Assault demands both of your hands, and when things get really crazy with terrorists everywhere, even those are not enough.
- Sambisa Assault is free to play, if you don’t mind ads every now and then
- Easy to play (while there is yet circulation in your thumbs)
- Instead of waiting to stack up your bonus coins in order to enable you shop for artilleries, you can buy coins from the online store with real cash.
- There is a leaderboard that lets you see who’s leading among others playing Sambisa Assault.
- No matter what happens, you can always pick up from where you left off.
- This would have been a much better timekiller if it were designed to portrait dimensions for one-handed gameplay
- For such a monotonous game, the dopamine payoff is pretty low. You have to work hard for scant rewards. Without rewards, fragging terrorists could get boring quickly.
- The badges reflecting the player’s military rank is the same maple-leaf all through. That has to be a bug
- The sfx could be better. Besides the soundtrack and the gunshots, neither the terrorist nor the player makes distinct sounds when shot at.
Final verdict: definitely worth playing. Someone in the newsroom said with the way the game works your thumbs into a tapping frenzy, it might actually pass for an exercise in increasing typing speed mobile qwerty keypads — except they don’t make those anymore.
Sambisa Assault totally frags all the other Nigerian timekillers in its league. Zoom out to Africa-wide, and it would hold its own against titles from East and South African studios. However, Pledge 51/ChopUp still have a long way to go to accomplish a game with quality on par with a fruit ninja or subway surf, but if they keep on this path, they are definitely headed there. Play Sambisa Assault, and let us know what you think.
Lulu Fadoju contributed to this review.