We just got back from a meeting with Gameloft personnel held at Ubisoft’s SF offices (the two companies are not officially related any more, but they are still major licensing partners). We got to go hands-on with two of Gameloft’s upcoming iPhone games at the media session: Terminator Salvation and Siberian Strike. Read on for the juicy details!
When Gameloft announced Terminator Salvation about six weeks ago, it provided few gameplay details. The screenshot provided at that time reminded us of Gears of War, although that was speculation.
It turns out that we were right. Terminator Salvation is most definitely based on the award-winning console shooter series–and that’s a very good thing, in our opinion. You play as Resistance leader John Connor (or the mysterious newcomer Marcus Wright, on some levels) from an over-the-shoulder perspective. Running and strafing are handled with a virtual thumbstick on the left, while the right thumb aims and mans the trigger button.
Taking cover is a simple matter of running right up to a barrier; the hero will automatically crouch to protect himself. As in most modern shooters these days, there’s no life bar to worry about. If you take too much damage too quickly, you die, but you can back off or hide to recharge. Also, the Resistance is well-provisioned for a ragtag band of guerrillas: all ammo is unlimited.
Although the preview build of the game we played was a bit jerky in terms of frame rate, we still had fun with the combat. Liberal auto-aiming makes drawing a bead on Skynet’s killing machines easy, and the weapons are satisfying (there are six total). There’s a variety of metallic assassins to blast, from the rudimentary T-600, to T-1 turrets on tank tracks, to T-325 “spider bots” that scramble up to you and blow up (these don’t appear in the movie; Gameloft added them to make the game more interesting). Plus, you can curb stomp downed T-600s by touching a boot icon. Killing Terminators yields memory chips that unlocks concept art and such, for a bit of replayability.
We saw three of the game’s eight levels during our playthrough, starting with the tutorial. We then moved to a level called “Rebirth,” where you play as the shotgun-wielding Marcus Wright, making your way through a Los Angeles that has definitely seen better days. Then we got a quick look at a vehicle level. Connor drives an armored pickup, while Wright mans a big cannon in the back. A gigantic machine called a Harvester was stomping around in the distance; we imagine that confronting Big Nasty will be one of the game’s boss fights.
According to Gameloft, Terminator Salvation is due out the first week of May at a cost between $7.99-9.99.
This announcement was a big surprise for us: we hadn’t heard about Siberian Strike since 2003 or so, when we were playing the game a phone screen the size of a postage stamp! This is one of Gameloft’s most venerable brands. They even made the game for black and white phones, all the way back in the early 2000s.
Siberian Strike is an oldie, yes, but also a goodie. This is a top-down shooter in the vein of arcade games like 1942, complete with a ludicrously skewed WWII plot–you’re fighting against Stalinbot, for crying out loud! The game opens with nice faux newsreel footage, with an old-timey announcer explaining the crisis.
You get your choice of three pilots in Siberian Strike, as well as touch or tilt controls. We played using touch, where the plane hovers off the tip of your finger, and it worked famously. You grab powerups, dodge bullets, and fight absurdly huge bosses… everything you’re supposed to do in a top-down shooter. WiFi multiplayer is also in the offing. Our play session was short, but it seemed like quality stuff to us.
Siberian Strike will be hitting the App Store in a week or less for $5.99. We’ll post assets as soon as we get them from Gameloft.
One final Gameloft tidbit: Assassin’s Creed will be hitting the App Store by this weekend, for between $7.99-9.99.