Eliminate Preview: Transitive Verbs Are Cooler Than Nouns

I've got to stop checking out iPhone games – they'll fill me so full of envy, I might explode.

Ngmoco's Eliminate is the latest shade of green to go on my iPhone envy mask. A multiplayer-centric first-person shooter on any other console might fly right under my radar. But this is on the iPhone, which immediately ups the cool factor.

At least for little ol' me, who doesn't own an iPhone.

What Is It?
Eliminate is a first-person, multiplayer-focused shooter for the iPhone. The game supports up to four players per match in small-ish arenas that can be played single-player with three bots.

What We Saw
I was wrangled into a multiplayer tournament with developers and other games journalists, but I sneakily dropped out of several matches just so I could train up a little in singleplayer. In total, I spent about as much time with the game as would during my morning commute on BART.

How Far Along Is It?
Not sure – no official release date exists and it's obvious a couple of things are still buggy. Like the bots in singleplayer that spawn in facing a wall and just stand there, waiting to be shot.

What Needs Improvement?
A Little More Specific Touch Controls: You move around using a virtual analog stick on the left and fire your weapon (held in your character's right hand) by double-tapping the screen in the general area of where your weapon appears. The problem is, you do a lot of other things by tapping the screen. So you might wind up double-firing your gun instead of going into sniper mode like your meant to. I think more specific motions – like drawing a line across the screen – would clear this up.

You Can't Sell Armor And Weapons You No Longer Want: Weapons and armor are level-locked, so even if you've earned the credits to buy a new suit, you still have to earn it by leveling. The bummer here is, once you've bought a set of armor and then leveled beyond it, you can't get rid of it. I realize the inventory doesn't have cap on it or anything, but to me it's just wasteful if you can't sell back stuff you're not using. But that might be my inner role-playing gamer talking.

Eliminate Preview: Transitive Verbs Are Cooler Than Nouns

What Should Stay The Same?
Nice, Tight Maps: Any arena-shooter fan knows that a game is only as good as its maps. Eliminate has just five arenas (for now), but they're designed well enough to create challenge and small enough to make sure you spend the whole match running and shooting instead of wandering around bored.

Very Polished: From the intro video I enjoyed so much to the actual menu screens, Eliminate is a polished product. I really appreciate this in iPhone games and I also appreciate just how quickly you can get into and out of the game. Lends itself perfectly the portable gaming experience.

Final Thoughts
The novelty of Eliminate will probably appeal to people more than anything else. It certainly appealed to me and my iPhone envy.