It isn’t often that someone gets a chance to play a game that involves nuns shooting at things. Then again, Hitman: Absolution stirred up some controversy last year with that exact same thing. Nun Attack takes the “nuns with guns” hook but goes for something a lot less violent and a little more casual. Previously available for iOS and Android devices, Frima Studio has brought their deadly holy sisters onto the PS Vita.
Because Nun Attack is a mobile game through and through, it doesn’t spend much time harping on a story. Eva, Rosy, Mandy and Olga are battling their former friend, The Fallen Nun, Mortana. It is up to the four good nuns to battle the demons and undead that Mortana has unleashed on the world. From there the player will quickly unlock all four nuns with their variety of weapons to dispatch foes. Eva has dual pistols with a quick rate of fire, Rosy uses high damage rifles with good distance, Olga is slow but packs a punch with shotguns, and Mandy uses revolvers with high critical rates. Over time, new weapons are unlocked for each nun which add different effects such as fire, damage over time, poison or even knockback. Each nun also has a special ability that can turn the tide of battle like Mandy’s healing or Eva’s ability to spawn a decoy. Figuring out how to play the strengths of each nun is the only way to survive.
As a mobile game, Nun Attack fits extremely well on the PS Vita. Just about everything is executed through the front touch screen from menu selection to movements to attacks. At first only two nuns can be in a party, by the third area all four can fight together. Selecting a level lands players on a map where they tap on the group of nuns and drag a line where they want them to move. Around this map are enemy camps which trigger battles, treasure chests and portals which shoot out deflectable projectiles. Because these sections are simply a way to travel from the beginning to the end, they aren’t all that exciting. Destroying the portals can be a bit difficult because the touch controls make it hard to deflect the small flying skulls; and because all portals need to be destroyed to get the best score, it will cause some annoyance.
The battles themselves are simple but well done. Skeletons with guns and chainsaws, rock throwing werewolves and flying vampire ladies attack the nuns from all angles. By tapping a nun and dragging it over to an enemy, she will move into place and fire away. Want her to attack a different foe? Just repeat the process. The same goes for movement. This mechanic opens up the obvious strategic elements of the game as focusing on the more dangerous foes and positioning the weaker nuns makes survival possible. Miracles that restore health, absorb damage, freeze enemies or even set them on fire are activated by drawing a simple design on the touchscreen.
Guiding the nuns towards victory is frantic and fun but aren’t without issue. One of the biggest problems is selecting an individual nun when they are close together. It won’t always lead to death but it can result in having to execute a different strategy. Because the player must select a nun and then a target, the nuns won’t auto attack unless they are hit by an enemy. This will frequently result in a nun just standing there while her sisters are doing damage. Leveling up the nuns and weapons is fun and does yield positive results but is also very grind heavy. After a point, it takes a lot of gold to get guns to high levels and some players might not want to make the effort.
Graphics and Sound
The PS Vita’s screen is hardly ever not kind to a game and Nun Attack is no exception. While it might not be graphically complex, the colors are vibrant and all the action on screen runs incredibly smooth. Character design all around is very creative even if the same skeleton designs are often recycled. There really isn’t much sound to speak of aside from gunshots and other combat noises. A soundtrack is in place but is nothing to rave about.
At $2.99 Nun Attack is hard not to recommend. Frima Studio could have taken the short route and released the game as a PS Mobile title. Instead the game goes an extra step and includes trophies (because everyone wants them). The game is at a bargain price and has a lot of replay. Nun Attack might get a little repetitive after lengthy play sessions but that’s because its design makes shorts bursts of levels fun and a breeze. Despite being a bit grind heavy and having minor issues with touch controls, Nun Attack is great for those who want to fill that urge of having a game where a bunch of gun-toting nuns fight evil–even if they didn’t know they had it.
Note: A copy of the game was provided to Gaming Illustrated by the publisher for the purpose of this review.