Sometimes it feels like reviewing iOS titles is a bit of a waste. So many of them are designed for quick consumption that going into intricate detail on one specific title seems to serve no one. So then, instead of trying to wring 800 words out of each of these three games, we’ve decided to combine them all into one mega post for your perusal.
Pantheon the Legends
This is a collectible card game from developer RedAtoms. It is segmented into two distinct gameplay elements. First is the Quest mode, which tells a mostly rote story that occasionally elicits a chuckle or two. This mode is the primary means by which players will collect cards and level up in order to make themselves stronger in the Battle mode. In the Battle mode, players can challenge almost anyone, and a helpful stat comparison will offer guidance as to whether or not the attack is wise.
The problem with Pantheon the Legends is that there really isn’t much to do. Battles feel mostly random, with little to no strategy involved. There isn’t even a battle screen. A window pops up and informs you as to whether or not you lost the battle and gives you the option to try again or to move on to something else. “Questing” is simply tapping a button labeled “Go!” repeatedly until you either run out of stamina or get bored (which doesn’t take long). It has gorgeous art and the different cards have interesting character designs, but there’s so little game here that it’s tough to recommend it, even as a free title.
A devious game from Mutant Labs, Half-Inch Heist has the player hold their finger over a diamond and guide it through obstacles in an effort to steal it. On the iPhone 5 that I was using to test, the action on-screen was easy to follow, even with your finger continuously pressed up against the screen. The action boils down to not allowing the assorted rockets on screen to hit your finger, as the diamond is almost always just below your fingertip. The graphics are retro-styled, but the game performs admirably even when the screen is filled to the brim with rockets, bosses and lasers. Half-Inch Heist is also free, and while the experience isn’t deep, it’s certainly a fun distraction.
Of the three games, Ghostbusters is the one with the most long-term potential. Beeline Interactive has created something here that plays out like a miniature version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, one of 2012′s best games. In Ghostbusters you control a squad of the titular Ghostbusters as they attempt to work their way through 50 floors of a tower and defeat whatever monstrosity lies at the top. In order to do so, however, players will have to build up the characters by completing missions (also known as “busts”) throughout New York City. Each bust is its own unique little scenario, with new enemies to defeat and new tactics to utilize. Combat in Ghostbusters plays out somewhat like a real-time RPG, with each character having a unique role, weapon and ability to use to take out the sets of enemies you’ll encounter. Combat is fast and fluid, although occasionally the touch-based controls can’t quite handle precise selections. When the action jumbles together, it can be difficult to select the right Ghostbuster to use to do a specific action.
The different management aspects are fun to explore, although the game’s aggressive free-to-play model rears its ugly head on occasion, as it’s easy to run out of energy (which allows you to go on busts) which then can take upwards of an hour of real time to recharge, lest a small fee be paid to continue. Over time, Ghostbusters can be rewarding regardless of how much you pay. It’s just that you’ll get more out of it by making some purchases every once in a while.