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Review: Firepower lets you play (virtually) with the big guns

An AR gaming app for when you don't have Call of Duty on the road.

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Updated October 17, 2017 I have a nine-year-old little brother, and during the summer I need to constantly keep him busy. If he's stalled for even a second he'll either cry "hungry" or "bored." You can bet I've kept my eyes out for apps that'll do my work for me on long road trips, or lazy Sunday afternoons where I just need to chill.

Firepower is a super low-key iOS app by Lava Monster that turns your screen into an augmented reality chain-gun simulator. You simply point your iPhone or iPad camera at something around you and fire. Super violent — but also super entertaining.

The app has pretty low ratings in the iTunes store, but don't fret: they've debugged a ton of things since then. Complaints of a black screen have since been fixed — at least on my version.

Firepower lets you virtually shoot guns on your iPhone or iPad.

When I first opened the app, my impressions were pretty weak. The graphics were fuzzy and poor, but there were minimal buttons to use, and the design was accessible and simple. I knew an adult would never last two seconds with this app, but I hoped the game could keep my brother entertained.

A machine gun is positioned at the bottom middle of the screen along with a target above it to help you aim. The fire button is on the right while a screenshot button is on the left. There are three options on the upper left hand corner that gives you app information, settings and gallery options.

The settings allow you to adjust the Enviro FX and Smoke FX (special effects), Real Gravity, Vibration and Shake Reset. You can also choose from yellow, red, green and blue for the preset FX. Additional FX can be found when you launch Particle Toy, another app.

You can adjust the settings to add more special effects.

But that's pretty much it. When I fire the gun, bullets, smoke and sparks fly out and it's pretty boring. However, for my brother it's a different story. He played with it for an entire hour just shooting things and taking screen-shots of them, which are saved to your Photo Library. Maybe he's in the violent video games stage?

The app glitches a lot — especially when you're on the information and Particle Toy pages. At times, a white screen will appear with nothing on it and you can't exit out unless you restart the entire app. I sent a message to the developer about this problem, but have not heard since.

Firepower is a simple game, probably too simple for anyone older than 10-years-old.Amber Wang

This app is purely for children, with anyone under the age of nine or ten sure to enjoy it. For this reason — and solely for this reason — I consider the game a decent option for downloading. Otherwise it was a complete waste of 99¢ for anyone that's interested in playing virtually with guns or playing violent video games. Consider this app if you have a kid that is easily entertained, but other than that — hard pass.

Pros: Simple buttons, easy settings and the ability to screenshot.

Cons: Graphics are fairly poor, the app is not really worth the 99¢ cost.

-Amber Wang recently reviewed the InkHunter AR app for GearBrain, a virtual way to scratch the tattoo itch without permanently inking your skin.

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