Spiral Episode 1 is an odd animal. It’s technically impressive for an iOS game, but at the same time, it’ll remind you so very much of the RPGs you might have played on the PSOne in the mid-‘90s. That’s obviously not a bad thing for those of us that carry a torch for the likes of Final Fantasy VII and Wild ARMs, but others might not appreciate the somewhat cliché story and character development. And you’ll definitely snarl a little at the game’s touted one-touch control system, regardless of whether or not you’re a nostalgia freak.
The first episode of the Spiral saga follows the adventures of Tempus, an investigator/elite soldier who shares a symbiotic relationship with a mechanical hand named A-VA (she knows what you do in the dark). The world that Tempus lives in is ravaged by violence and desolation, save for the towering city of Soleil. But even humanity’s last stronghold is under threat from mindless individuals that have been affected by the “spiral virus.” Tempus needs to get to the bottom of the outbreak, and will hopefully find some answers about his own mysterious life while he’s on the trip.
Spiral is an action-RPG, and its greatest strength is definitely its battle system. Tempus goes after enemies with a gun or with melee attacks depending on his distance. You can tap your target to murder it directly, or hold your finger on Tempus to charge him up for a more devastating attack. Also, his energy lance just looks freakin’ cool.
Outside of battle, the world of Spiral is a bit bland (despite some very pretty graphics). The story centers around mysterious happenings, blank identities, and conspiracy theories—stuff that’s fun enough to follow, though it’s been done a thousand times before in RPGs. The voice acting won’t make you cringe, but neither will it win any awards. The dialogue is standard RPG fare, and peppered with grammatical errors to boot.
The game’s controls are also something of a bear. You simply tap where you want to go, which is harder than it sounds when you’re working in a 3D environment. While you may think you’re tapping the road ahead of Tempus, you actually wind up tapping his head, and the camera subsequently freaks out. A virtual d-pad option would be nice in the next chapter.
In fact, Spiral Episode 1 has all the markings of a game with the potential to usher in excellent sequels. True, this particular game is a little clumsy and tells a typical story, but it’s still fun to play, which indicates a decent foundation. I’m eager to see where Tempus winds up in the future.