A review of Split! for the iPhone.
Split! is a new action/strategy game from Touchy Interactive that I was recently provided to be able to review. It was developed by Touchy interactive for use with the iPhone or iPad.
Not much to the story: two characters want to escape from some giant mega prison. No real background on what they were doing in prison to begin with or any depth whatsoever.
You control both characters. Click on the one you want to move and draw a path to where you want them to go and they will go there. There are spots of "cover" throughout the level where your character is safe as long as you stay behind it. Guards patrol the area and if they see you they begin firing. The main objective is to take cover and draw attention and fire from the guards while you then use the 2nd character to come up from behind or alongside the guards to kill them.
Balancing action style gameplay with strategy can be tricky, and it's where I find the most fault with Split! Oftentimes I knew exactly where one character should go to prepare myself for the 2nd, but had difficulty trying to drag the path to lead them to the specific spot I wanted and the next thing I knew my character was running right into the line of fire. You do have the ability to cancel a run, but sometimes you need to run past several guards who will be firing upon you while you're trying to make it to cover and canceling in the middle is not an option. I lost several games because of this and it became very frustrating. Other times I would draw my path to a spot, and the character would zig or zag or run to the spot of cover and then move AWAY from cover for a second and get shot. Needing to be completely precise on a touch and drag game on the iPhone is simply not the easiest thing to do. On an iPad I'd guess it's easier to control with the larger screen
I found the lack of variety in just about everything in the game to be disappointing. Enemies always looked and acted the same, and all had the same guns. The only real variety I saw in the game was that they started incorporating switches to open doors which did add a new element, albeit an expected and unexciting one, and I found myself getting bored of beating a level only to go to the next one to find little to no variety present. Some differing enemies, guns for the players, or environmental obstacles would go a long way. Also I know AI isn't exactly something to be expected in this type of game and there probably wouldnt even be a good way to implement it without it becoming a straight up action game, but sometimes it's laughable when you have one character drawing fire from 4 enemies, and the other is able to basically run circles around them without being detected.
I found myself quickly lowering the volume of the background music. Probably a personal preference but I didn't enjoy the drum n bass style music that sounded like the stuff I avoided in the early 2000s
Overall I think Split! has the potential to be a good game with some tweaks to the controls and some added variety. I think the premise behind the gameplay is solid but there just isnt enough to it at this point to keep me coming back for more. I'm going to give it a Rent it! rating in that it might be worth giving it a shot if there's a free version or maybe with some updates made in the future. Not worth a purchase based solely on what they're offering so far.