Square Enix's bold experiment falls a bit flat.
Brace yourselves, for today we have a "new genre of entertainment" to tell you about. Or, more precisely, a comic that thinks it's a game. Or is it a game that thinks it's a comic? Either way, Square Enix is trying to gently tweak our temptation glands by offering it free of charge.
Developed by H.A.N.D., the studio that brought us Final Fantasy: Chocobo Tales on the DS, this 53-page comic essentially intersperses the narrative frames with occasional mini-game interludes which move the story along.
In principle, it's not a bad idea, but it relies on a) the quality of the story and b) the quality of the mini-games. Sadly it's by no means a foregone conclusion that you'll be interested in either. I certainly wasn't.
Now, I'm certainly no authority when it comes to comics and graphic novels, but it was hard to care about Toshiyuki Itahana's story even a tiny bit. There's an attack on Paris. Cue onomatopoeia. Blah.
You might care a little more if the mini-games were any good, but they're as throwaway as can be. If insultingly basic block rotating puzzles and lame Flight Control and Missile Command-style interludes sound like a fun way to kill some time, then go ahead. It is free, after all.
But if Square Enix is considering monetising its experiment in the future, the least it can do is make the games worth playing. As it is, Imaginary Range feels like a waste of everyone's time.
Used under license from Eurogamer.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
What's Hot: Cool idea, attractive artwork, free to play.
What's Not: Boring mini games and narrative.