New smartphone shooter attempts to improve first-person controls on touch devices

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The Drowning gameplay

Controlling first-person shooters on a touch-screen device always makes my hands want to explode. Developer Scattered Entertainment is working on fixing that problem in its new iOS game.

The Drowning is a first-person shooter due out soon for iPhone and iPad. It features high-quality visuals that should help you get your money’s worth out of that Retina display, but it’s even more ambitious for its new control scheme.

Most first-person games on iPad have players using their thumbs to control virtual buttons and directional pads. Personally, I find that this only works for a few moments before my hands start to cramp. Tablets are too heavy, and phones are too small.

In The Drowning, Scattered rethought controls from the ground up for the touch screen.

All of the basic movement commands work with one hand. Different gestures correspond to moving, shooting, aiming, and zooming. To walk, players just need to tap the ground with one finger like in an adventure game. A left or right swipe will adjust where the camera is looking. Players can then fire by tapping the screen with two fingers, and the bullet will fire to the middle point. Finally, gamers can zoom in by pinching with two fingers.

You can see a demonstration of how it works in the video below:

That demonstration makes it look easy, but we’ll have to get our hands on it to find out for ourselves.

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