Monday, March 30, 2009

Metal Gear Solid Touch Review

Metal Gear Solid Touch has hit the iPhone and iPod touch, but does it deliver a true MGS experience or is it a quick attempt to get some money off the success of the device? Read on to find out.

Going into the game, you have to know that it is a simple shooter, where you don’t have control of character movement, but simply the ability to shoot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the controls work fairly well. You cannot simply tap and shoot where you tap, but instead, have to move a cursor around the screen, which has its ups and downs, but overall works competently. The cursor will stay wherever you leave it, so you can always see it and always know where you are aiming. Once you have it where you want it, you simply tap to shoot. This is a bit of an issue when you need to move around the cursor speedily to hit a moving target, and it is a bit awkward how you can’t hold down your finger to use an “automatic” weapon, so you only have single-shot. If a target is too far away, you will have to pull out your sniper rifle, which is easily done in the same was you zoom in on a web page or picture on the device; by pinching, which will switch back and forth between your sniper and assault rifles. Also of importance is the fact that while you are shooting or have your finger on the screen, you are vulnerable to attack, but once you let go, you get behind cover and very slowly replenish your health.

So, the controls are fairly simple, and the rest of the game mechanics are also really straightforward. You don’t have to worry about ammo or reloading or moving about. Each level, or mission, tasks you with taking out a set number of enemies, who will appear from and back into cover and continue to come out until you’ve reached your goal. Every now and then, a yellow rubber duck or green frog will appear, which you can shoot for a power-up. The duck will recover some health, while the frog will give you stealth camo or a single-use rocket launcher, all of which are very useful. Another important mechanic to note is the enemies’ health meter. Not only does it show how much health an enemy has, but it also lets you know when they will attack you, so you can prepare yourself by going into cover when necessary.

The game, currently, is composed of 12 missions, each of which take place in a different location and follow the story of MGS4. Most of these missions simply have you shooting a certain number of regular enemies, while not shooting allies, however, two of the missions are boss battles. The first pits you against Laughing Octopus, trying to find her even though she has that stealth camo. The second boss battle features Raging Raven, who flies around the screen. Raging Raven is, I believe, the only level that features moving enemies, and so it’s a good challenge and a nice change of pace from rather static environments and characters.

All in all, the game is short. Once you beat all the missions, you unlock survival mode, which has you play straight through all of the levels. This took me 17 minutes and a handful of seconds. Needless to say, this is pretty short, however, Konami is planning to make more missions available in the future, which can be downloaded for free for those that already have the game. Until that time comes though, you can still replay these levels to earn some Drebin Points.

These points can be used in Drebin’s Shop to purchase backgrounds and MGS art. There are 15 of these images to get, which will require multiple playthroughs to get enough points, and you can supposedly use these for your device’s background image. I’ve tried to do this, to use the image, but I could not figure out how, but it’s supposedly possible.

Overall, Metal Gear Solid Touch had some potential, and still does as there is going to be free DLC, but right now, I can’t recommend it too highly. The game is very short and very simple. The graphics and presentation or rather good, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the game is just too simple, with nothing really make it Metal Gear material. Hopefully the future levels will add a new dimension to the game, but you could probably hold off until then.

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Posted in cooperation with GamersPlatform

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