Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X
Enter the danger zone in Gameloft's thrilling action game.
Ubisoft gave Namco Bandai's Ace Combat series stiff competition with Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X, an attractive console game that features intense dog fighting. Now the fun comes to iPhone (courtesy of Gameloft), and while assorted bells and whistles were lost in translation, this $6.99 app is among the best air combat games you can play on Apple's device.
In the game, you play as David Crenshaw, a fighter pilot working for a private military company (PMC) called Artemis Global Security. When evildoers threaten the U.S., you and your buddies hop into various planes and defend freedom through 13 missions of bullet shredding, missile locking mayhem. This involves dodging enemy missiles, hitting key ground targets and blowing up other planes, all while the characters make comments about the goings on to help push the story forward. The voices sound cheesy and the narrative feels watered down, but everything's good enough to get the job done.
To play, you can either use an on screen joystick for advanced control, or maneuver the plane with the iPhone's accelerometer, tilting it left/right to roll in those directions, and bringing the device forwards and back to control pitch. Both work just fine, so it's simply a matter of preference.
In addition, the game has on-screen buttons that control the important functions, like cycling through the camera views (we suggest using the cockpit perspective), firing the machine gun and missiles. In addition, the game has an auto lock on, which makes hitting bad guys easier. Just fly in a target's direction, get close enough and let those missiles fly.
Overall, H.A.W.X is quite enjoyable. The game features a 26 different planes, such as the F-15, MIG-21 and F-14A Tomcat, as well as different weapon load outs. It only takes a few minutes to get the hang of those controls, and there are plenty of targets to blast.
There's also a four person multiplayer mode with deathmatch and team deathmatch, but it's local only. That's not horrible, since a lot of people own iPhones and the game's relatively inexpensive, but we wish it came with online play.
On top of that, Gameloft impressed us with the game's visuals. Sure, everything looks pixilated compared to the Xbox 360 version, but the planes resemble their real life counterparts, while the ground looks cool at 40,000 feet, thanks in part to GeoEye Satellite imagery of places like Washington D.C. and Rio de Janeiro; up close, however, is a whole other story.
For $7, H.A.W.X is a worthwhile purchase. You receive a few hours of dog fighting bliss, as well as some of the best graphics on the iPhone, all without the motion sickness that would come from flying a real plane, as well as the threat of being blown to pieces. That said, spend the cash and enter the danger zone.
What's Hot: Thirteen missions, 26 different fighter planes, two control schemes, on-screen fire buttons, decent story, plenty of chatter, impressive visuals powered by GeoEye satellite imagery.
What's Not: No online play, barrel rolls make us dizzy.