Review: This Army Public School attack game fails on every front

Published January 18, 2016
— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store
This first-person-shooting game is based on the Dec 16, 2014, Peshawar school tragedy. – Screenshot
This first-person-shooting game is based on the Dec 16, 2014, Peshawar school tragedy. – Screenshot

In an attempt to honour the valour of Pakistan Army soldiers, the Punjab IT Board last month released an Android game themed on the Peshawar Army Public School attack in December 2014.

This first-person shooter (FPS) game titled 'Pakistan Army Retribution' is based on the tragedy, when terrorists massacred 144 pupils in what was the country's most brutal terror attack. A quick response from the army is said to have restrained the damage but not before the attackers claimed hundreds of innocent lives.

144Stories: Visit the Army Public School Memorial

Whether or not a game should have been designed around the Army Public School massacre is a different debate altogether. No one, especially families of the victims, would ever want to re-live that dark day. But oddly enough, the developers decided to recreate those moments for a gaming experience.

The game, which begins with the Pakistan national anthem, depicts events that took place on the dreadful day as terrorists breached the school’s security.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

The player’s task is to lead soldiers into the main building and eliminate the heavily armed terrorists scattered throughout the premises.

There are a total of nine missions as of now, and the game-play comprises first person and sniper shooting.

Just like other first-person shooter games, players will have an on-screen pad to control movement, and a trigger to eliminate the terrorists. A radar keeps players informed on where the enemies are.

The first mission starts with a neat animation to take the player inside the school and into classes.
The first mission starts with a neat animation to take the player inside the school and into classes.

To navigate the hero soldier, players have four tap-based directional keys to move back, forth, left and right. Although gunshots are limited, they are enough to destroy the enemies.

Basically, the terrorists are very easy targets and you can eliminate them in all nine levels in your first attempt.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

The game may be an attempt to pay tribute to the Pakistan Army, but the app itself is not very well made considering the name behind it, and the market it was placed in.

One can understand the emotional attachment to the story but as a game, it falls flat. From visuals to controls, the game just doesn’t deliver. Even when taking on such an unlikely subject, the Punjab IT Board is expected to deliver something far superior.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

Developers need to work on improving the graphics and the controller should offer more comfortable gameplay. Levels should be shorter or perhaps poor game control made them seem long.

Producers of the game should keep in mind that quality needs to be a top priority in order to deliver a better image of Pakistani games.

Screenshot of the main menu.
Screenshot of the main menu.

As much as some would argue, the desire to tackle an attacker visiting the school in this virtual manner is in poor taste. The Peshawar attack was a tragedy that holds national significance since it sent the entire nation into trauma. Any recreation of the carnage that day seems insensitive.

The game has been taken down from the Google Play store by its maker.

The author is a graphic designer and freelance writer with a focus on tech.

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