A new Stargate SG-1 game, Unleashed Episode 1, recently hit the App Store for iPhone and iPad, so as a fan of the show, I figured it was definitely worth a look. The game features the original cast of the show doing voiceovers for the characters, and an all new 'interactive adventure' storyline. So, how does it stack up?
The first thing you notice is that it looks really good, the graphics are very well done. Not necessarily the best we've seen on iOS, but the characters all bear good resemblance to their real life counterparts, and the worlds are nicely designed. The Goa'uld bear striking resemblance to their on-screen counterparts as well, and from the first play you're immediately at home in the SG-1 universe.
The control system has been designed with a touchscreen in mind, and as such it's easy to pick up and play. Moving around is by way of an on-screen joypad for your left hand, while dragging your right hand across the screen pans the camera around. At certain points in the game, you will be required to perform special manoeuvres, such as edging along a ledge or climbing a ladder, and an on-screen prompt displays the gestures required to carry it out.
To shoot enemies, you simply tap the screen where you want to shoot. Releasing the stand up button will drop you into a hiding position -- handy to recover if you've been shot, or just want to dodge -- and also reload your weapon at the same time if required. No messy joypad aiming, just tap, shoot, kill.
The game isn't just a run around, shoot stuff, shoot some more stuff kind of affair. It's broken up by a series of challenges, each of which must be completed before moving on. It's a welcome change of pace, though can sometimes be a little tedious.
The main issue I have with SG-1 Unleashed is the sheer number of cut-scenes. While integral to the story and the overall experience, they're often long, and interlaced with questions you must ask to proceed, and it does sometimes feel more like you're playing an interactive TV show than a game. It's bearable, but sometimes I couldn't help but feel frustrated that the gameplay was being slowed up by them.
Fans of Stargate SG-1 should love this. Equally, non-fans should get a good kick out of it as well. Once it gets going, and you're actually playing instead of watching a cut-scene, it looks great, plays great, and is a great example of a mobile game for the touchscreen done well.