The original Prey introduced a lot of cool features that had yet to be experienced by console gamers, including portals, wall walking and innovative means to avoid the frustration of death. As a first-person shooter, though, it was merely average, and excitement quickly faded after its release.
Prey Invasion continues the storyline of Tommy Hawk as he once again battles ferocious aliens on their turf and in the American Southwest. Some the console game’s features made it to the iPhone sequel, but a number of frustrating factors keep this from being as memorable as its predecessor.
Sickle-arms are never a good thing.
At first glance, this is great game to look at. Sharp textures and a variety of locations, a smooth framerate and well-rendered enemies provide enough eye candy to encourage you to keep playing. Several of the cool weapons, such as crawlers, which are little alien critters that you can lob as grenades, set it apart from other 3D shooters. And spirit walking–floating about to access new areas and to fire off shots from your spirit bow–also keeps the gameplay varied. Unfortunately, terrible control schemes and overly linear levels turn the game into a clumsy mess.
The game offers up both digital and analog control options, with a crosshair or tap-to-aim/shoot firing mechanic. But no matter which method you choose, it’s cumbersome. Aiming is especially difficult, and the default centering option further hampers things. By the time you have a handle on the controls, the game is over, as you can plow through the entire campaign in a 2 to 3 hours. While this might not seem so bad, there is little to no incentive to go back and play the game a second time.
The storyline is basic and told through boring text-laden cut scenes of still images. The sound engine is just as drab. The music that frequently cuts out, and sound effects and voiceovers sound as if they were overly compressed. The music problems are especially grating, and while this could easily be corrected in an update, it dramatically hurts the experience.
Looks pretty. Gameplay is another matter.
Prey Invasion ends up being a bare-bones FPS that may initially dazzle some iPhone gamers with it’s spiffy 3D presentation, but it soon shows itself to be a shallow game with no replay value and lacking any sense of wonder.
As the quality of iPhone games ramps up, shiny graphics can only carry a game so far, and even for $2.99, we’ve come to expect more. A more expensive and fleshed out game is what we need, not one that feels rushed in an attempt to cash in on name brand value alone.