There’s so much potential in iOS devices, and yet most developers rarely dabble in grand scale adventures made for the platform. Spiral Episode 1 dares to bring a deluxe 3D adventure game to iOS complete with a one touch control scheme. The game is set in a futuristic world beset with the spiral virus which is transforming the population into Entropies, which are energy beings. You play as Tempus, who is a private investigator that has an energy based robo organic arm, and artificial intelligence infused within him. It’s up to Tempus to get to the bottom of the recent outbreak of the virus, and understand the link between the energy that flows through him, and the Entropies. Most iOS games deliver run of the mill experiences, but Spiral is attempting to be different, and the story is a good place to start.
As soon as you start up Spiral Episode 1, you can tell that you’re in for something special with ornate 3D graphics to behold. The graphics set the stage for a deluxe world to explore, and battle through. The main adventure consistently switches up the gameplay between traditional puzzle based exploration, and intense real time combat. The story brings it all together to be the driving force keeping you fully immersed in this intriguing world. Every aspect combines together so that once you set foot on this adventure, you’ll want to play through to conclusion across seven lengthy chapters.
The combat revolves around the one touch control scheme which lets you simply tap on any enemy to perform an attack. You can chain taps together for more destructive combos, and Tempus can block automatically to certain degree. There are more one touch abilities as well, allowing you to tap and hold for a charged attack, and you can also swipe characters to pull them towards you. At anytime, you can dash to dodge incoming attacks, and the entire time you understand that the controls are absolutely essential for the intense nature of the fight sequences. You’re usually encircled with enemies that offers different attack styles, but you have varying attacks at your disposal depending on the range of the attack, which are indicated by circles on the ground. The best part of the combat is that Tempus’ arm is pure energy which can take different shapes to act as different weapons like in Prototype, whether it’s blades, guns, batons, and even special charged attacks. It’s great to see it in motion with the flowing fluorescent attacks that Tempus performs.
The action sequences appear from time to time, and in the meantime you need to explore the city or given chapter scene with stealth and grappling abilities. There’s always a current objective to lead you forward, and there are just so many details to appreciate in your peripheral vision. The game may be too guided in the exploration sequence with the specific missions, and panning camera to the destination. The combat on the other hand can be extremely difficult, so it’s a bit unbalanced in that respect, but it’s still such an intricate experience to take part in. The main drawback of the fighting sequences is that there isn’t a smooth flow as the one touch movement, attacks, and dodge can make it a bit rigid to move between enemies while dealing with their offensive as well. That is especially apparent in boss battles that can drag on due to the lack of consistent flow to your player’s movements.
The one consistency is that there’s never a dull moment, and the game will keep you glued to your iOS device after chapter one, which is a bit slow moving. There are some repetitive sequences of moving through the world, and performing the same tap attacks, but you can put up with it due to the overarching adventure. The main story offers quite a few hours of enjoyment, and then there’s an optional arena mode to just fight for as long as you can. The entire time, everything is so clear allowing you to focus on the enemies at hand, which keep becoming more complex.
Spiral Episode 1 ($4.99, Universal) isn’t perfect with a few drawbacks from time to time, but taken as a whole it’s one iOS experience not to be missed.