Pandorum in Review – You Are All That Is Left Of Us…

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“Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It’s pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can’t remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft’s shocking, deadly secrets are revealed…and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.” [courtesy of imdb]

Pandorum is the latest TPS (Third Person Shooter) from the folks at Artificial Life inc. Based on the upcoming movie of the same name, you play as the main character Cpl. Bower as you journey through the Elysium. In the past, I’ve been a little iffy about games that are based on, or centered around movies. A lot of the times developers attempt to take one aspect of the film and then tries to stretch an entire game around it. It’s for this reason that I’ve mostly stayed away from that area of games on any platform. This however, is where Pandorum is different from the rest. It’s based on the entire storyline from the movie; so that means that as you play the game, you get the chance to see what the movie is going to be like.

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The gameplay is somewhat typical of shooter apps on the iPlatform, using the d-pad style control on the left to move about. Theres also a bar on the right to control your view from left to right. If you prefer you can swap those in the options menu. Above the bar on the right you find your “use” button to fire/use weapons currently equiped. All the other menus and controls are pushed along the sides or up top, out of the way of the screen.

I found the controls to be extremely well responsive. The nature of the game requires you to move tightly at times and anyone proficient with these controls should have no problems getting around.

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One of the most important controls of course are the ones used for killing the enemy, in this case the Hunters. Here you have 2 options. The first is to manually move yourself in front of your target and tap the fire/use button. The alternative method is to tap on the Hunters themselves when they’re on screen and this will engage the auto-target feature. Once active all remaining shots will hit the target as long as they are in view.

Like most shooter games with a storyline, you have to collect various items to either further yourself, affect other items in-game or regain health (or in this case your sanity). As you progress, there are also journals laying around that you can read, thereby giving you more insight into what’s happened around you. Not having seen the movie yet (in theaters Sept 25th) I don’t know how well these items correspond to the film, but they definitely add to the dynamics of the game.

pandorum-review5Graphically, the game is really quite good. Similar in style to other shooters like Prey, the look and feel of Pandorum is a little “last gen”, but it still works. The fact that you’re on this beat up spaceship with monsters that look like something out of an old Doom title, it all comes together quite well. The atmosphere is certainly dark and haunting, and if i can just make up a word here, “horror-y”.

Some of the best visuals are when you are experiencing the “Pandorum effect” (a psychological disorder you develop in deep space). When this occurs, you begin to see flashes and images of faces totally taking over your screen. While some players may find that these effects cause varying degrees of nausea (the game comes with a Photosensitive Seizure Warning), it does add to the intended mood of Pandorum.

pandorum-review6There were a few extras that really stood out. The first of which was push notifications. I still haven’t quite figured out what it’s going to be used for, though my best guess would be something related to the launch of the film.

Another feature was the in app purchasing. From within the game, you have the ability to purchase an upgrade pack. With it you get access to upgraded weapons, unlimited ammo, a protective outfit as well as some graphical enhancements. As if that wasn’t enough, if you have a friend who also bought the game, you can even share the add-on pack via bluetooth.

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pandorum-review8The last feature I want to mention is the ability to post to Facebook. With this you can post up all your latest game achievements to your Facebook account. There you can compare your score to the online leaderboard as well as compete and challenge your friends.

Overall I think Pandorum on it’s own is a great title. The atmosphere and gameplay are really immersive and wanting to know what’s around the next corner can get quite addicting. The fact that it’s following the storyline of an actual movie is an added bonus. It’s a fun feeling knowing that after I’ve finished playing the game, i can go see the movie and and experience the Elysium on the big screen. I would definitely recommend this to any fans of shooter titles. As a bonus, if your still not 100% sure there is a smaller free “Lite” version for you to try.

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App Summary
Title:Pandorum (v1.0)Developer:Artificial Life
Price:$3.99App Size:88.7 MB
  • Nice visual work
  • Immersive game play
  • Based on actual movie storyline
  • Push notifications
  • In app purchasing
  • Graphics might be too rough for some
  • The “Pandorum Effect” coupled with the game’s dark atmosphere may cause nausea for some players

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  • http://www.touchmyapps.com/author/tma_chiffan/ ChiffaN

    Frankly I would say that in-app purchasing is actually a downside in this case. The developers actually are just offering the same content that should be in the original game for an additional price. I would leave the in app purchasing content exclusively for new levels.

  • SteveNaka

    They could have, but it’s really no different from other platform titles offering DLC. One major reason why new levels wouldn’t have been included is the fact that it’s based on the storyline of the movie. So if they did decide to create any new levels, that would take away from the main point of the game.
    Not to say they won’t ever. It just wouldn’t be logical to do up front in this case. Maybe after the movie has come out and everything you may see additions that aren’t as closely tied to the actual movie.

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