The Total Recall remake has hit theaters. In fact, Batman already covered the movie. For those that might have missed out, you’re put into the shoes of Douglas Quaid, a man who comes to realize his life as he remembers it is a lie, and fights to discover the truth. So where there’s a movie, there’s bound to be a few game tie-ins, especially on iOS. While the movie was cool, can the app follow through and deliver?
Total Recall starts well enough with a price tag of $.99, and is a rails first person shooter. Aside from hiding behind cover, you don’t move around the area on your own accord. Each level consists of moving to section to section while shooting anyone who appears. Most levels can be beaten in under 3:30, which is great for a mobile game. In-between acts, you can switch weapons and armor, and purchase new ones. That’s Total Recall in a nutshell. It’s essentially run into area, kill a bunch of storm troopers, get stuff, and repeat.
The store offers what you’d expect from typical shooter in terms of weaponry (handguns, shotguns, uzis, etc) as well as some not so typical ones (the gatling gun springs to mind). Total Recall also offers body armor to protect you from bullets, boosters to give you temporary boosts to you stats, and healing items. The higher end ones can cost a lot of money, which you can get by grinding or by spending your real dollars to get in-game money. I’ll admit, it can be fun to replay an old level after you got a more powerful weapon.
The camera controls I found a bit quizzical. The move controls are in a the lower left hand corner, which is standard design. However, they put the cover button in the center. The result had me ducking for cover when I wanted to aim and vice versa. The rest of the controls work just fine. The fire button is on the lower right, with the reload button just above it. Using the med kits and boosters can be done by pushing the right on screen button as well. Also you can switch out weapons in the upper right. The touch controls be a mixed bag, as while the directionals controls work, I found myself having to tapping on objects a few times before I collected them.
They do try to incorporate the movie’s story, though I don’t understand why. While the comic book cutscenes look cool, they never explain anything. For instance, the story starts with Quaid entering the ReKall center. I have no idea why he’s there, or have any clue where in the movie this part is. Even worse, you’re lucky to get more than a single page of story before the round starts; a story whose point seems to be that Quaid gets shot at a lot.
The levels themselves look good, but can get old. It seems like they just took the action parts of the movie, and made several levels of each scene it to fill out the game. Each level barely has enough in it to feel different. After you see the same objects, the same design, and look over and over, the design starts to become less impressive. The music doesn’t help with the repetitive feel as it sounds the same in every level.
Total Recall could have been a good rail shooter. The levels are short enough you could play it on the go, the graphics aren’t bad, the weapon selection is okay, and price is nice. However, it’s all the little things that ultimately ruin it. The design for the directional is lousy, the levels find a way to get old despite being only a few seconds long, and no effort was put into their cutscenes. This sadly turns an okay game into a passable one.