Modern Combat: Sandstorm
Modern Combat Sandstorm
App Store Icon




iOS, Android, webOS, Bada

Release date

August 27, 2009


First-person shooter


Apple: 12

Modern Combat: Sandstorm is a 2009 first-person shooter developed and published by Gameloft, for Apple iOS, Android, webOS and Samsung Bada. It is the first part in the Modern Combat series.


Modern Combat Sandstorm Screenshot

Gameplay Screenshot

Sandstorm plays very similarly to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The game features ten missions in varied environments with different tasks for players to complete. The main enemy in the game are the terrorists, and other soldiers fight against them alongside players throughout the game. There are a variety of weapons and grenades to use in the game. Movement is triggered by a virtual joystick on the screen, and sight and aim is controlled by scrolling across the touchsceen. Players can also crouch, throw grenades, scope, reload, change weapons and shoot using buttons on the touch screen. Online multiplayer ability was added to Sandstorm as a free update on January 28, 2010.


Chief Warrant Officer 5 "Chief" Warrens returns from injury to active duty in the war against terrorism in the Middle East, and reunites with his old squad, consisting of Dozer, Ryan, Fox, and Cpt. Jones. After completing a training run, Chief is immediately taken with his squad to an area which is thought to be the home of a terrorist radio outpost. The squad splits up and travels around the area, destroying a number of radio towers, before regrouping in a hotel. Their extraction chopper is shot down by the terrorists, and so they are forced to defend the hotel before being safely extracted in a Humvee. During the mission, the squad notice how the terrorists seemed to be ready for them, and come to the conclusion that someone is a mole.

The squad are then sent to a hospital to capture Abu Bahaa, a terrorist warlord, who is apparently under care. Chief and Dozer infiltrate the hospital through the sewer system below, while Ryan and Jones wait outside. On reaching Bahaa's room, Chief finds that they have been tricked; the hospital has been rigged with explosives and a dummy placed in Bahaa's hospital bed. However, he and Dozer manage to escape unscathed. But Jones has been injured, and Ryan has been killed.

After Jones recovers, the squad break into a dockyard which Bahaa is using to store a large nuclear weapon. They discover that the terrorists actually have an enormous base underground, the entrance hidden within a metal box. Chief is sent in to find the nuke. He encounters Bahaa inside, but is forced to leave to locate the bomb, which could be detonated by the terrorists any minute. He eventually finds the nuke and is able to secure it, while Bahaa flees outside and attempts to escape in a truck. The squad pursue him in a Humvee, chasing him out of the dockyard and through a train tunnel, before eventually managing to flip his truck just as he reaches the highway.

The squad find Bahaa lying by the truck, still alive, and Dozer prepares to capture him; however, Jones betrays the squad, killing Dozer and taking Fox hostage. Bahaa taunts Chief, saying that he is weak and that he has no choice but to surrender, but Chief shoots Jones, who falls to the ground with Fox. Bahaa pulls two grenades from his jacket and prepares to blow up both Chief and himself, but Fox pulls him to the ground and tells Chief to run. Chief takes cover by the Humvee as both Bahaa and Fox are consumed by the explosion.

For all of his efforts, Chief is promoted and becomes known as a hero. He travels to Fox's residence and meets his wife, informing her of her husband's act of martyrdom and how he saved his life.


A high-definition version of the game was released on April 1, 2010 for the iPad only. It features updated controls and graphics to make use of the iPad's larger screen.


There are a variety of weapons in Modern Combat: Sandstorm. They range from two assault rifles, one with a higher rate of fire and movement speed, but lacking in power and accuracy in comparison to the other, to an SMG, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, and an RPG. These weapons can be found stored in crates, often inside a side building along the path indicated by the missions. In multiplayer, the seven available weapons are organized into four classes:


  • M16A3
  • MP5A2

Close Quarters

  • MP5A2
  • M870


  • AK-47
  • M24 SWS

Heavy Gunner

  • M249
  • RPG-7


The game has led to two sequels. The first, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus was released on October 4, 2010, and is a direct sequel to Sandstorm, with the player again assuming the role of Chief. The second, Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation was released on October 25, 2011.


Upon its release, Sandstorm received extremely positive reviews.

IGN awarded the game a score of 8.5 out of 10, calling it "a game that pushes the system more than most gamers would expect possible. Enemies are aggressive, environments have slight deformation in specific situations, and the amount of attention to detail – be it textures, level design, enemy spawning, or voiceover – is impressive to say the least [...] Sandstorm is a nice blending of both power and manageable touch controls, and ends up being way more game than I'd expect to find for a mere $6.99. It's a little short, but it's jam packed with content, and hopefully a template for more Modern Combat games – and more FPS titles in Gameloft's future. If you're willing to put a little time into learning the controls, Sandstorm is an impressive shooter, and proof that iPhone can handle FPS gaming."

TouchArcade awarded the game 4 out of 5, saying "Modern Combat: Sandstorm is an excellent game that raises the bar of what is to be expected of future first person shooters on the iPhone, as well as being added to the short list of games with fantastic on-screen controls. The three included difficulty levels should provide a fun experience for first person shooter veterans and newcomers alike, and while I'm not entirely sure how much replay value the game has, there is massive potential in the future multiplayer update. If you're at all interested in shooters, or are just looking for a great game to flex the muscles of your iPhone, look no further than Modern Combat: Sandstorm."

Slide to Play scored the game 4 out of 4, saying "The gaming experience in Modern Combat: Sandstorm is a great one. The controls are the best we've seen in an iPhone FPS, the graphics are beautiful, and there's plenty of level variety. Sure, we've seen it all before, but not on the iDevice, and never for such a small price. If you like first-person shooters, buy this game."

GameSpot scored the game 8.5 out of 10, stating simply "Modern Combat: Sandstorm offers a great experience. The controls are outstanding, the graphics are beautiful, and there's plenty of variety in the levels."