If the shiny new Amazing Spider-Man 2 game didn’t float your boat, then maybe some old school arcade shooting action will. CONTRA: Evolution, a throwback to the 80’s namesake, is now free to play on Android, but still carries with it a bit of in-game purchases.

CONTRA: Evolution launched August last year to the tune of $0.99. The price was quite normal for a such a game that was, back then, riddled with in-app purchases. For whatever reason, Konami has now decided to go the free to play route. Surprisingly, that did not lead into an increase of IAP but has actually even reduced them down to a select few. Most of the game, however, runs the same and follows the same rules for unlocking characters and content.

The game is basically an old game with new graphics and controls retrofitted for touchscreen devices. Unlike the situation when it launched, it seems that the game is now available not just for smartphones but for tablets as well, though the latter might be somewhat harder to handle given the screen size. The game features an Arcade mode as well as a Mission Mode, which gives players the same content as the original Contra, except with updated and fancier graphics. But gameplay has changed a bit as well, and might confuse some players. The D-pad on the left is used to both move the character forward or backward as well as direct your gun’s aim. Fortunately you don’t need to mash some trigger button, as you weapon fires rapidly by itself. On the right you have button for jumping up, as well as down, and smaller buttons for special moves or skills that need to be recharged after use. CONTRA: Evolution also adds a bit of modern-day mobile gaming conventions, like special rewards for playing the game within some set period of time or intervals.

Now that CONTRA: Evolution is free for the taking, it is unlikely that it will go on a paid price again, since Google Play Store doesn’t yet have a mechanism for that. Konami and game developer Coco might release a different paid version, but it’s hard to imagine what that version would have over the one already in the market. CONTRA: Evolution, despite its issues, is a game that gives a nod to a gaming age long past but doesn’t remain chained to the conventions and limitation of that period. And now that it’s free, everyone can take a jab at one of gaming’s classic titles.

Download: CONTRA: Evolution on Google Play Store
VIA: Android Police