Defy gravity, and your opinion of quality game design, with this alien blasting FPS.
When it comes to video games, you know there's a problem when an enemy programmed to walk up stairs repeatedly bumps into the first step. If you can live with that, imagine a monster clipping through a wall (unintentionally passing through a solid object) and somehow damaging your character on the other side. You'll experience these issues and more in Hands-On Mobile's Prey Invasion, a buggy adventure that is still one of the iPhone's best first person shooters.
Instead of creating a watered down port of the 2006 Xbox 360 game, developer MachineWorks Northwest designed an all-new experience that revolves around the series' hero Tommy, a Native American thrust into a battle against aliens. Armed with a plethora of weapons (including a wrench, Hunter's Rifle and exploding critters), you'll explore a series of strange locales and blast a host of slimy looking monsters that run the gamut from pint-sized runts to towering behemoths with rocket launchers. It's rare you enter a room with more than four beasties, but suffice to say, you'll have your hands full throughout the story mode's three to five hours.
Impressive graphics, customizable controls and tap shooting make the game enjoyable. First, the developers did impressive work bringing Invasion to iPhone. In addition to featuring a smooth running 3-D engine devoid of slowdown, the game also sports attractive and dusty looking canyons, gross looking monsters and alien-inspired locales that are a mix of flesh and metal.
Watching the game in action, thankfully, takes a back seat to playing it depending on the control scheme. Prey Invasion has two ways to maneuver Tommy: Digital and Analog. The first places a series of directional arrows on both sides of the screen and you press them to make him walk, strafe and look in various directions. This is without question the best way to experience the game, since it not only gives you better control over Tommy, but also allows you to physically slide the arrows around the screen to suit your tastes, similar to Sega's upcoming Wii shooter, The Conduit. As for Analog control, the two circles along the bottom of the screen are much too finicky, and therefore, a waste of time.
Finally, the game has a rewarding tap to shoot mechanic that offers pinpoint precision and frees you from having to locate a fire button during more intense moments. There's something cool about poking an alien to death.
Beyond that, MachineWorks retained the original game's features, so expect to walk upside down/along walls and solve puzzles by leaving Tommy's body. If he dies, Tommy will enter the spirit realm, where you can shoot floating creatures with a bow and arrow to reclaim health and eventually return from the dead.
Whether or not you dig Prey Invasion, though, depends on your tolerance for glitches and moronic artificial intelligence. Aside from the aforementioned problems, the game's enemies don't exhibit lots of brainpower, often walking past you and firing after you attack first; don't expect them to dodge, either.
Then again, we don't expect much for $2.99. If anything, Prey Invasion is proof that the iPhone can handle more advanced first person shooters, but there's still a long way to go. For less than three bucks, we suggest giving it a spin. At least you'll have something pretty to show your friends.
What's Hot: Costs $2.99, customizable controls, impressive visuals, tap shooting.
What's Not: Horrible Analog controls, clipping glitch, brain dead computer.