Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered in Review – A masterpiece remastered!

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As I’ve said many times, I am and have always been an adventure games fanatic. And when a few old-school classics started creeping in to the App Store, I was glad – at first. At the same time, I had mixed feelings about it. Some ports such as Flight of the Amazon Queen and Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2 have really frustrated me because they have been available for free for some time already and some developers simply bundled them with the ScummVM which is available for jailbroken iPhones for FREE. Their projects just reeked of money-grubbing. Others were better, provided by developers of the original titles and at least somewhat adapted for the platform (Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Jules Verne’s Return To Mysterious Island). Well, now another classic has made its way onto the platform and boy, has it had a makeover!

Beneath a Steel Sky (BASS) is a dystopian future, coloured by the story of a runaway orphan, Robert Foster who is raised the wilderness area called the Gap which sits just outside a towering cit. One fateful night, soldiers appear, seize Robert and take him away in a helicopter, and leave his village in a smoking ruin behind them. He manages to escape, crashing the copter and now, on the run in the strange an unfamiliar territory, he must find out why he was brought here. The only one he can place his trust is his robot friend Joey.

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BASS is cult classic. The puzzles are logical, but you have to really get the feel of the game, to get a grip on the logic. The way Robert’s trusty robot Joey, transforms from a circuit board to a cleaning bot, and into a welding bot and beyond is hilarious and often drops useful hints. I would say this is not an extremely difficult adventure, and for those who are really really really stuck, there is a context-sensitive (meaning it knows where you are and what the next step should be) hint system.

Revolution have remastered BASS for the iPhone, adding gorgeous cut scenes which are created in partnership with Dave Gibbons (the co-creator of Watchmen). And the music, oh the music! It is simply amazing, and there are wonderful voice-overs. The actor’s voices fall nicely with the characters, although the emotional context is sometimes a bit off. Then again, maybe it’s just me. The graphics themselves have not been updated, unfortunately, but nevertheless can still put many other games on the App Store to shame.

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But the main work has obviously gone into the new interface system. I can safely say that Revolution have finally nailed it. This is the new benchmark for the adventure games interface on the iPhone.Completely touch sensitive, you just move your finger on the screen and all hot-spots near the tip light up in a flurry of context-focused motion. If you move over the hot-spot, several icons appear, signifying possible actions for the hot spot. The inventory screen is handled in a similar fashion. You can bring it up using the icon on the bottom left of the screen and it appears as a strip containing all of your items. A double tap will provide some info on the item and a tap-and-drag will allow you to use it whenever you wish – or at least try to use it ;)

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Evidently, with such a polished game, there is no need to note that it saves state on exit. In addition to this, you can save/load your game in separate slots if you wish. A nice additional feature is Twitter integration. What it does is send various messages out using your twitter account when interacting with certain hidden hot spots in the game. If you follow me on twitter, you must have noticed several of those tweets. The downside is that if such a tweet should go out when you don’t have access to internet, the tweet is scrapped. Sadly, I have missed a couple this way.

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Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered is truly an a top-notch remake. Revolution have not taken the easy way of porting form within a ScumVM – though they could have. Rather, they have set a new benchmark on how an adventure game should be ported to the iPhone. With lots of new content and a brilliant interface, this game is an excellent pick for both old-school adventure fans and newcomers to genre alike. And with 10+ hours of such high-quality gameplay I’d this wonderful adventure is well worth the price.

With this I declare Beneath a Steel Sky Remastered officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered (v.1.0)Developer:Revolution
Price:$4.99App Size:129 MB
  • Gorgeous cutscenes
  • Excellent music and voice-over
  • 10+ hours of gameplay
  • Benchmark interface
  • Sometimes the voice-overs are a bit off
  • Twitter messages are not buffered in case of no internet connectivity

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TMA simply can’t do without adventure games, and I assume that you too are like us. Perhaps the below articles can help you out.
Raving Manor in ReviewMystery Mania in ReviewReturn to Mysterious Island in Review

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