Reviewed: July 9, 2010
Released: July 1, 2010
App Store Price: $2.99
Just in time to cash in on the narrow window of opportunity of the film release, Predators makes its way onto the iPad with about as much fanfare as the movie. I played the game for several days leading up to the film, then I saw the movie and played the game a bit more before writing this review, so I’m pretty fluent in all things Predator; at least in Robert Rodriguez’s new version.|
In Predators you get to play as a Predator hunting down the deadliest pretty – MAN! While the movie only had seven humans, the game offers an endless supply of prey that you can dispatch with a variety of weapons ranging from spears, wrist blades, shoulder cannons, a net gun, and cool toys like Smart Discs, a cloaking device, and thermal vision. The iPad version of the game gives you a better view of the action with the camera pulled out allowing you to see the enemies as they approach rather than having them jump you from off-camera. It also makes the HUD and virtual buttons much less intrusive when overlaid on the game graphics.
There are 24 levels to explore with a few variations in theme and design. Natural objects like trees and fallen logs and terrain steer you on a cleverly hidden linear path through the levels as you hunt down your prey and try to stay alive. There were moments early in the game before I was all powered-up that I felt like I was being hunted. Guys would swarm me from the trees and I was slashing furiously, but once you get all the cool toys the hunt is on. Additionally, the learning curve, while easy enough, seems to go on for nearly a third of the game as new items require their own explanation and tutorial. It made for some disruptive gameplay, even on future replays when I already knew how to play. You can’t turn these lessons off.
There is very little in variety when it comes to level design, enemies, or combat tactics. The game is a button masher for the earlier levels, feeling a lot like Hero of Sparta. Only later, when you have more options, does the gameplay start to evolve. I did enjoy the use of the movie characters as bosses, but other than that there is very little to tie this game to the film other than the title and the concept of hunting humans.
As you progress through the game you will earn honor points that you can use to purchase better weapons and gadgets. You’ll need these upgrades as the enemies get tougher to kill – the only way you can collect their skulls and other trophies that are tracked on the Crystal Leaderboards.
Predators is easy on the eyes with crisp visuals for the backgrounds and fluid animation for the characters and plenty of blood waiting to splash the landscape. My only complaint is that some of the animations are a bit lengthy and leave you open to attack while they pay out. The blue and red HUD overlays nicely providing instant status and an A/B input area along with a responsive analog control area.
The visuals are enhanced with some rousing music and gripping sound effects including those signature effects of cloaking and the various vision mode shifts. It’s all combines for a satisfying and violent combat action experience that fans of the new movie or the old ones will love.
If you love action games that offer ample ways to kill your enemies then Predators is the game for you. While it doesn’t tap into the film nearly as much as I would have expected, it does offer a quality Predator experience and one hell of a bloody good time. Check it out!