Price: £1.79 (iTunes)
It may be no “Aliens” by anyone’s standards, but the Predator movie franchise has enough gun-toting, testosterone fuelled thrills to have made quite the impression on me in my formative years. “If it bleeds, we can kill it” has become my rather disconcerting catchphrase whenever I’m faced with a tough challenge, much to the discomfort of whoever is accompanying me in the endeavour at hand. So naturally, when I heard there was an iPhone/ iPad universal app action game to tie in with the upcoming “Predators” blockbuster sequel, I couldn’t help but take it out for a spin.
And, much to my relief, it’s not half bad at all.
You take on the role of a young Predator, a race of extraterrestrials who love the thrill of a good hunt and just happen to have one of the coolest arsenals of weaponry in sci-fi movie history. Taking its cues from the upcoming movie, you’re sent on the hunt for the ultimate trophy; the heads of some of mankind’s most feared killers (which, believe it or not, include the rather refined Adrien Brody among their number).
From here on in it’s a pretty straight forward beat-em up, battling through 20-odd jungle levels and fighting increasingly difficult waves of human foes.
If it all sounds quite familiar and repetitive, you wouldn’t be wrong; its not far off the same sort of “Streets of Rage” gameplay that’s been knocking around for over 25 years now. What it does get right though is the core feel of the franchise itself. Beyond even the clever use of thermal imaging and the Predator’s strange runic language, it’s as gory as any of the films, with the Predator pulling off bloody combos and sickening trophy kills, tearing spines from his fallen opponents. It also looks great too, especially on the iPad, with well animated characters and lush-if-uninspired jungle level designs.
You do get access to an “honour” based levelling system which lets you upgrade your weaponry (making you notably stronger if you go back and replay earlier levels), but little to distract beyond the basic fighting present elsewhere. Predators succeeds by making this combat always satisfying, in no small part thanks to excellent controls. The virtual strike and block buttons are very responsive, as is the virtual thumb stick. It’s not quite as comfortable to play on the larger iPad, but it’s nothing that will severely hinder your enjoyment of the game.
It’s not the cleverest game on the App Store, or even the most well designed. It does however handle its source material with care, is reasonably priced for the amount of fun to be had, and will let you laugh guiltily at the carnage you wreak on the tube to work. Forget the chopper; get to the App Store!