Gameloft rolled up to E3 in a stylish party bus, tricked out with black leather interior, a wet bar, and four new iPhone games. Castle of Magic, DJ Mix Tour, Real Tennis 2009, and Guitar Rock Tour 2 are all due out in June, all for $5.99… and we’ve got all the hands-on details after the jump!
First up is Castle of Magic. This is a platformer with a cutesy kiddie look–all magic wizard hats and roly-poly porcupines–but it’s built on a solid run-and-jump foundation.
Gameloft’s greatest skill as a developer is picking, choosing, and blending elements from classic games into an interesting new package. This skill is certainly on display in Castle of Magic, which plays like a Greatest Hits from the last quarter-century or so of platformers.
For instance, your character can double-jump by tapping the jump button twice, and then spread out his cape to enter a controlled glide, ala Mario. He collects jewels that scatter like Sonic’s chaos rings when he gets hit. And then there multiple powerup suits for throwing fireballs, shooting arrows like Robin Hood, and so on.
We had fun bouncing around the levels and blasting enemies with a magic wand during our play time. The virtual d-pad and buttons respond nicely, and the game has the look of a PlayStation platformer.
The gameplay is 2D, but the characters and environments are all modeled in 3D. The camera’s perspective twists and turns along with the level, so if you run around the corner of a building, the camera will rotate along with you, as in Pandemonium.
Castle of Magic features five worlds with three levels each, playable on three difficulty levels. Gameloft’s representative estimated that it takes three to four hours to complete.
DJ Mix Tour places you behind virtual turntables, spinning tracks by such dance-happy acts as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and the Bucketheads.
We demoed the game on the medium difficulty level, where the note tracks are bent around the two circular turntables, with a third track down the center representing the mixer.
You don’t actually spin or scratch the records, per se, but the hardbodies in the crowd go wild when you hit lots of notes in a row. If you keep up the good work, the crowd goes wild and foam starts spurting out of the ceiling, just like Ibiza in high season.
Guitar Rock Tour 2 picks up more or less where the first Guitar Rock Tour left off, only with a new list of 19 tracks.
While the first game concentrated more on pop rock and power punk, the sequel’s selection returns to classic rock and metal. There are covers of Kiss, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, ZZ Top… it’s like sorting through a collection of 8-tracks in your uncle’s Trans-Am.
The gameplay is largely the same as the first game, with the option of playing guitar or drums. WiFi multiplayer has been added to the mix, too.
Finally, Real Tennis 2009 serves up singles and doubles action, Gameloft style. There are eight players to choose from–all clearly modeled on present-day stars–seven different courts, and hard, clay, and grass surfaces.
Put some topspin on that!
The 3D graphics look very crisp, with realistic animations and neat special effects for super shots. Performing an overhead smash causes a slow-mo camera spin effect, for instance.
When serving, the game uses tilt controls to aim, and then a power meter to set the speed of the serve. Once the point’s underway, a virtual d-pad moves the player around, with a single button to swing. Holding down the button in advance increases the power of the shot.
We found player movement to be a bit loose in this preview build, but final tuning is still underway, so hopefully this will clear up before the game’s released.