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'Shadowgun' aims to be the iPhone's 'Gears of War'

Forthcoming game
Forthcoming gameMadfinger

It seems Madfinger Games is out to prove that you don't have to build a casual, bird-flinging puzzler to make a hit smartphone game.

Perhaps more importantly, the studio — based in the Czech Republic — wants to prove that smartphones and tablets can deliver high-quality shooting games that will please the hardcore gaming masses.

Madfinger plans to launch its highly anticipated game "Shadowgun" for iPhones and iPads this Wednesday. It's a third-person shooter they say was inspired by "Gears of War," the beloved hardcore gaming franchise that makes its home on the Xbox 360.

And when it comes to "Shadowgun," MadFinger is making some big promises, calling it "the most advanced handheld game in the market" — one that will offer gamers "the same quality expected from console gaming systems."

The gist of the game is this:

SHADOWGUN puts players into the role of John Slade, a professional bounty hunter in the year 2350. Slade’s mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, renowned geneticist and former employee of the trans-galactic corporation Toltech Enterprises. Players must lead “shadowgun” John Slade as he infiltrates Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fights his personal army of mutants, cyborgs, and genetically-enhanced humanoids. Using state-of-the-art weaponry, ships, and the assistance of S.A.R.A.—Slade’s personal android assistant.

And if you want to see it in action, check out this launch trailer.

If the trailer is any indication, "Shadowgun" certainly looks top-notch.

Of course, how well a third-person shooter handles on an iDevice is another question. ("Shadowgun" will be coming to Android devices shortly after the iOS release.) Making core games enjoyable to play when smartphones don't have any thumbsticks remains something of a sticking point. It's one of the reason core gamers often dismiss smartphone/tablet games and find themselves drawn to Sony's forthcoming PlayStation Vita portable game machine (and its two thumbsticks) instead.

That said, while casual physics, puzzle and word games like "Angry Birds," "Tiny Wings" and "Words with Friends" remain the reigning kings of smartphone gaming, a growing number of titles with a hardcore bent — "Infinity Blade," and "Rage" for example — are successfully making their way to these devices.

Though they probably won't be gunning down those furious fowl any time soon, perhaps they might one day pluck a few of their feathers.

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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+ .   And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.