I’ve been playing First Person Shooters (FPS) for a long time. Wolfenstein and Doom on the PC, and a whole host of console games. In some ways, Prey Invasion is a throwback to an earlier time; a FPS light on story. But then it looks more like a modern FPS (at least somewhere between Playstation and Playstation 2 graphics-wise). And maybe that’s exactly the kind of game I was looking for, because I enjoyed it immensely.
Aside from being a well executed FPS on the iDevice, Prey Invasion isn’t really breaking any new ground. In fact it reminds me of lots of other FPS – a little bit Half-Life, a little bit Red Faction, about as much story as the original Timesplitters. There are also elements of Soul Reaver (moving into a spirit dimension), which I’ll get into a little later. But Prey Invasion looks great, runs very smoothly, and controls well. You’ve got two different control options, dual-analog sticks (where the sensitivity can be raised or lowered) or digital controls. I used both at various times and found them both easy to use and adjust to. You tap on an enemy to fire your currently equipped gun, and you run around trying to make your way to the end of the game.
Apparently there’s another Prey game out, and I think Invasion is supposed to be the prequel. The story starts with you having crashed your car in the desert, and suddenly you’re being attacked by aliens… I don’t know, just go with it. You find an Aztec looking pyramid, and inside is a bow that some ghost tells you is your link to the spirit world. This is used in two ways. First, any time you die, you’ll go to the spirit realm, where you can use the bow to shoot at these flying creatures to regain your health until you pop back into the real world. Second, you can choose to enter the spirit realm to reach a switch you couldn’t otherwise get to, and then switch back when you’re done. Frankly, the second usage of the sprit world isn’t implemented enough in the game; though as a casual player, I like the fact that when I ‘die’ I’m not thrown back to my last save point or something.
Anyway, you’re also on the search for your missing girlfriend, who seems to have been captured by these aliens. Making your way through the temple you eventually find an underground base of some kind, with lots of futuristic looking technology and more alien creatures to kill. Like all good FPS there are a bunch of weapons to find and upgrade to, as well as a clingy grenade creature you can chuck at your enemies. I loved the different environments; some are corridors, some are wide open areas. I felt the pacing was just about right, with a good amount of enemies (though the final stages could maybe have been amped up just a bit more).
Speaking of stages, there’s no real way to tell when you’ve gone from one to the next. Most likely if you’ve gone through a door, you’ve entered a new ‘stage’, and there’s about half a dozen stages to each level, with 5 levels to the game. You can revisit any stage of any level through the main menu once you’ve previously completed it, but unfortunately, there’s really no incentive to do so. There’s no awards to earn or time to beat, which might have made for a good inclusion in what’s an otherwise short game. I completed Prey Invasion in about 3 hours, and some of that was due to the obtuseness of the way in which objectives are laid out. It’s hard to tell if you’ve tapped a switch, because it’s easy to tap it again and undo what you’re trying to accomplish.
Also, there are times when the levels make little sense to my brain’s map-making ability. I enter a room from one side, but if I leave from the opposite door, I don’t wind up on the same platform that circles the room, instead I wind up in a completely different level. These quibbles are enough to keep Prey Invasion from achieving greatness, but I’d be hard pressed to say there’s anything comparable to it in the App store right now. If I were to make any recommendations to the developers, it might be to include awards and achievements, plus maybe a simple level creator using the template that now exists for these levels. Some additional levels to lengthen the game would be nice as well. At the same time, this game stands well enough on it’s own as is, and if you’re the kind of person who likes FPS, I’d definitely recommend grabbing it.
|Title:||Prey Invasion (v1.0)||Developer:||Hands-On Mobile|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||10.4 MB|