Call of Duty is one of the most well known names in video games, and yet the developers, Activision, haven’t done much on iOS. Call of Duty: Zombies is on iOS, but it’s nothing more than a mini-game zombie shooter that is quite a poor experience. That is why the release of Call of Duty: Strike Team is such a surprise, and it’s made from the ground up for iOS. It’s a unique experience for the Call of Duty franchise as it merges first person shooter and third person strategy into one game. Also, the two modes aren’t available in separate levels, but rather you can switch between them at will within a level with just one button. The main game revolves around an extensive campaign mode that delivers a traditional Call of Duty storyline that is engaging enough to keep you battling through enemies.
Call of Duty: Strike Team is all about concentrated assaults, as you’re controlling a two man strike team as compared to an individual character in other Call of Duty games. It’s a whole new way to play, though the game maintains the familiar first person shooter style that the game is founded on. Rather than constantly switching weapons, or caring about character classes, you have two different characters at your disposal at any time. The initial missions give you a sniper, and a regular marine letting you switch at will between ranged attacks, and close combat. The entire game revolves around strategy, using real time action with the option to battle in the trenches. The third person perspective gives you an aerial view from a drone, where you can tap or drag to direct your two soldiers around the battlefield. It’s similar to Xcom as you try to keep your soldiers in constant cover while targeting specific enemies to advance across the battlefield, and it’s all done in real time, as compared to turn based.
In a given mission you start out with a first person perspective, and can plow through a few guys in the traditional format. Then, you’ll want to switch to the bird’s eye view to get a feel for the battlefield, and get your team into proper position for the next assault. From there, you can oversee directions on which enemies to attack, but it’s better to dive into the action, and take out enemies quickly. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the missions, so that not two are the same as you infiltrate bases in Alaska, or track down terrorists in Pakistan. The missions are extremely well balanced for constant action that is very targeted to specific goals that strings together the campaign to keep you playing. Everything is also made for on the go gaming with short bursts of intensity with each mission having a very specific objective that doesn’t take too long.
There’s just so much to appreciate in Call of Duty: Strike Team, and that’s highlighted by the design quality, which deserves the monicker, “console-quality”. One of the most remarkable aspects is how seamless the transitions are from the different perspectives, and even the different characters. The entire game is set-up in such a way that certain sequences are designed for either first or third person, and sniper or assault rifle all available to switch between with single taps. The interface is also made very well for touch no matter what mode you’re in with the familiar first person shooter controls, combined with very targeted action buttons. Every part is designed to immerse you in an experience that is simply remarkable when playing on iOS. It’s just something that you want to savor, and save up for a time when you can truly focus on the game.
Call of Duty: Strike Team ($6.99, Universal) stands out on iOS for all the right reasons, which really elevates the platform to a new level. Future games have higher expectations, and the best part is that this isn’t just a Call of Duty port, but rather a whole new experience. The seamless combination of well crafted genres can’t be emphasized enough, and there’s just such a great balance through the campaign. Call of Duty: Strike Team is an absolute must buy that is a targeted strike on the entire App Store to put everyone else on notice.