A triumph for iOS gaming
IronMonkey Studios have made an impressive name for themselves when it comes to iOS gaming. The release of Mirrors Edge was met with critical acclaim, and their mobile iteration of Dead Space won awards across the globe. Now the Melbourne-based studio have released their magnum opus, Mass Effect Infiltrator.
Technically impressive – When it comes to graphical and audio prowess, Mass Effect Infiltrator must be in contention for the best on the App Store. Running the same engine as IronMonkey’s award winning Dead Space, the team has optimised the already impressive visuals to a whole new level. The expansive environments are highly detailed, bringing each world and ship to life in a way we haven’t seen before on the platform.
Sonically, Mass Effect Infiltrator is proof that audio plays an important role towards selling an experience. Whether it’s the low hum of a Cerberus mothership, the blast of your rifle at some Geth soldiers, or the incredible voice acting on display, ME Infiltrator is definitely best played with a good set of headphones.
Stand-alone story – If you’re a die hard fan of the Mass Effect series, you’re going to find a lot to like with Infiltrator. The events of the main story run parallel to the story arc featured in Mass Effect 3, putting you in control of a Cerberus agent as the events unfold. This gives experienced players a chance to see the other side of the conflict, offering a unique and fresh perspective.
If this is your first foray into the Mass Effect universe, don’t feel alarmed; the events of Infiltrator play out as a self-contained adventure, meaning a firm understanding of previous iterations is not required. Obviously fans of the series are going to gain more out of it, but the uninitiated will feel right at home.
Intuitive controls – The control scheme of Mass Effect Infiltrator is easy to grasp, even for those who aren’t “hardcore” gamers. The left thumb controls movement during non-combat sequences, while the right thumb handles your viewpoint. When things heat up in the heat of battle, players will be treated to a truly intuitive scheme that really makes good use of the touch-screen.
Swiping in the direction of cover will put your player out of harm’s way, with simple flicks to the left, right or forward sending you to the next available piece of cover. Attacking enemies is as simple as tapping on them – the screen will then change to a target reticle in which the player can control where their shots are landing. Upon a successful kill, the game will slow down, giving the player a chance to target another enemy and maximise the damage caused.
Biotics are controlled with a swift menu on the left of the screen; simply hold down to select and then tap an enemy as you would when shooting. Changing weapons are handled in the same manner, tapping the right of the screen and selecting your desired item of destruction.
Loads of content – The main story will take players approximately 5 hours to complete, which is a hefty amount of content for any iOS game. Combat sequences offer up rating dependent on your time, health and style points, which also give you another reason to go back and better your scores.
Each of those combat sequences will reward you a number of credits based upon your performance. With these credits you can purchase upgrades for your weapons, melee abilities, armour and biotics. If you’re setting out to unlock everything, its going to take you a few playthroughs to afford everything on offer.
iPhone controls are finicky – Mass Effect Infiltrator was a delight to play on our iPad 2, but when we were playing it on our iPhone 4 and 4S we noticed some issues. The controls were often unresponsive during heated moments of combat, which certainly detracted from the experience. It didn’t happen every time, but it happened more often than we liked. It doesn’t break the experience by any means, but if you own an iPad, you’ll want to be using it for this game.
Mass Effect Infiltrator is more than just a Mass Effect game. It is a technical triumph, not only for IronMonkey Studios, but for iOS gaming as a whole. Combining the deep and engaging universe of Mass Effect, with truly intuitive controls is an impressive feat, but opening up this complex world to a number of people who would never be able to experience it otherwise, is cause for celebration. If you own an iOS device, and you want a game that serves up action around every corner, Mass Effect Infiltrator should be your next purchase.