Back to the Future HD in Review – The legendary series is back in the future!

The Back to the Future trilogy is my favourite movie franchise of all time. Unfortunately as far as game-implementations go, it’s has never had much luck. The late 80’s and early 90’s console and PC adaptations were boring, virtually unplayable arcade games. But when developer Telltale announced that they were going to be revisiting the franchise in my favourite genre of adventure games – I was beside myself with anticipation. And what better platform to experience a Back to the Future game than on the futuristic iPad in Back to the Future HD!

Back to the Future HD is an episodic third-person adventure game in Telltale’s best traditions. The story takes place a few weeks after the last movie, with Marti back in good ol’ 1985. While Doc Brown is living back in the Wild West era his estate is being sold off. Having wrenched Doc’s journal from the clutches of Biff, Marti leaves the house only to find an empty DeLorean. Yet again Marti has to travel through time to rescue Doc and put things right again.

Back to the Future in Telltale’s eyes is presented as a full-featured point-and-tap adventure. You control Marti as you collect and use items and interact with NPCs to advance the story. With up to 3 simultaneous goals, keeping track of them might have been a pain were it not for a convenient journal and pop-up system. The puzzles are all environment, dialogue or inventory based, though no item combinations are supported. The difficulty level is about average and while you won’t be able to simply breeze through the game, you shouldn’t be stuck for very long either.

Exploring the surroundings of Hill Valley in past, present and alternate timelines you’ll meet all of your favourite characters plus more. Back to the Future has been developed in close collaboration with Bob Gale – the mind behind the original trilogy and it definitely shows. Everything feels authentic enough that at times I wished it would be turned into a movie sequel. You’ll have the chance to explore Doc’s past in more detail as well as getting a glimpse at how things could’ve been completely different. And by the way, some of the events and storylines in the game were originally scripted for the movies, but weren’t included in the final cut.

Visually Back to the Future looks great thanks to Telltale’s in-house engine and excellent artists. As noted above, all characters are quite closely modeled after their real-life actor counterparts and Chris Lloyd himself voiced Doc Brown. Unfortunately Michael J. Fox, due to his medical condition, was unavailable to do the same, apart from a short and amusing cameo at the end of the last episode. Instead, a voice-alike was found from more than a thousand applicants and is so good that you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.

The interface is thankfully full-touch and doesn’t pose any real problems on the iPad’s real estate. Sadly, as with other Telltale games multi-tasking is not fully supported and you’ll have to go through the tedious process of booting and restoring the game after each switch. And the performance on the original iPad is shaky as well even with the lowered graphics quality compared to the desktop version. On the iPad 2 I didn’t notice any lags but did miss the visual upgrade found in the desktop counterpart.

When all’s said and done however, most people won’t have to think twice about getting Back to the Future. The formula is simple: if you like the movie trilogy and/or adventure games, then it’s certainly a must-have. The excellent visuals, balanced puzzles and authentic voiceovers will have you longing to watch the movies all over again. And even at the whopping $6.99 per episode, it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.

With this I declare Back to the Future Ep 1-5 HD officially touched!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Back to the Future Ep 1 HD / Ep 2 HD/ Ep 3 HD/ Ep 4 HD/ Ep 5 HD Developer: Telltale Inc
Reviewed Ver: 1.3 Min OS Req: 4.2
Price: $6.99 / $6.99 / $6.99 / $6.99 / $6.99 App Size: 365.61MB / 368.01MB / 379.80MB / 403.65MB / 418.80MB
  • Over 20 hours of the time-travelling duo across 5 episodes
  • Intuitive controls and helpful goal system
  • Authentic visuals and voiceovers (by the original cast where possible)
  • It’s Back to the Future!
  • Poor multi-tasking support
  • Some lags on the original iPad
  • More expensive than the desktop version


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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