iPad Game Review: Gyro 13 - Steam Copter Arcade HD Reviewed by ColeDaddy
The creative team from Cinemax has created a steampunk-themed universal arcade game which allows gamers to traverse an otherworldly cavern in a helicopter powered by steam. Gyro 13 is an iOS game that uses the Unreal engine made famous by Rage HD and Infinity Blade. However, just because a game is powered by an Unreal engine doesn't guarantee its success. I recently bought and immediately deleted a couple of games infused with Unreal's graphical power due to the absence of intriguing gameplay. So, how does Gyro 13 stack up?
Of paramount importance for any game is creativity and ingenuity inspiring its gameplay. In the case of Gyro 13, the old concept of a side-scrolling helicopter is tweaked just enough to make what is old seem new again. In Gyro 13 you are a pilot of a steam copter set out to fulfill a series of missions while saving others along the way. Mastering the steam copter's movements can be quite challenging and, if you're not patient, frustrating. Controls are pared down to a pair of up/down and left/right pads on both sides of the screen. As simplified as its presentation sounds, gamers will work hard to find the correct, nuanced pressure sensitivities to best maneuver their copter. Additionally, the caverns are filled with poisonous gaseous materials and hovering bombs, not to mention the surrounding rocky terrain that could be harmful to both vehicle and passengers.
I found myself crashing quite a bit due to the static and rather small control pad. For example, I chose to position my vertical and horizontal control pad on the left side of the screen. I found, however, that when I would press upwards, my thumb would slide up past the control area, causing me to depress an area that can't read my touch, resulting in my crashing my copter. The terrain isn't too forgiving at times and requires great control of the ship. My recommendation would be to make the size of the controls adjustable (ala Infinity Blade). As a result, the coverage area will enable the screen to better read and capture my touch-sensitive positioning.
Given the treacherous environment and the inherent obstacles, I'd also recommend that future builds include a radar map to enable better visibility on the approaching angled landscape allowing for the anticipated adjustment of the upcoming climb or fall of the cavern terrain.
Another adjustment gamers must accommodate for is the percussive force that pushes your copter backward each time you emit a spray of steam to either blow away a noxious cloud blocking your flight path or the phalanx of bombs suspended before you. This, too, requires some skilled, navigational control, as at times, there isn't enough wiggle room to maneuver.
Given the Unreal technology underneath the hood, this game sports some great visuals and animation. The rocky caverns are textured and dense. The visuals are eerily dark, humid and claustrophobic. The steampunk theme is beautifully rendered in the steam copter's look and feel along with the number of varied skins which can be unlocked as you progress through the game.
The crisp, digital sounds were energetic and strong on my iPad 2's speakers. But, the clearer, 360 degree "surround sound" affect had greater impact through my headphones. Either way, your ears are in for an audible treat.
The side-scrolling cavern genre has been amped to the nth degree by reimagining an old concept and skinning it with beautifully rendered steampunk visuals and surround sound audio, effortlessly powered by the Unreal tech running underneath the hood. Gyro 13 is a challenging, yet entertaining tour de force.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Unreal. Steampunk. Caverns. 'Nuff Said! Sound: - 5 - A surround sound experience without having to go to the theaters. Controls: - 3 - Patience is a virtue, Grasshoppa! Gameplay: - 4 - This ain't your Daddy's side-scroller. Take the Red Pill and jump in! Overall: - 4.25 - No need to shore up on your China Melville before playing this game. Get ready to be transported into the steampunk cavernous void, piloting a steam copter accomplishing missions and saving lives along the way. This is a side-scrolling romp with a stylistic flair that would make Ridley Scott proud.
Playing Hints and Tips:
The tutorial is deceptively simple and doesn't fairly represent the forthcoming difficulty you're about to face learning the controls. During the earlier levels, the difficulty ramps up quickly. However, keep your chin up and push on, Chum. You'll master the control system in no time!