James Cameron’s Avatar by Gameloft - $6.99
Avatar is arguably the biggest movie of all time. If not it is certainly the most innovative ever with its revolutionary use of 3D, paving the way for the inevitable future of movies. Just like so many other big movies, Avatar has received its own tie-in game. Something we weren’t expecting though was that it would be brought onto the App Store, but Gameloft has cashed in on the success creating this spectacular game.
James Cameron’s Avatar follows a different storyline to the movie, instead taking us back in time 20 years or so to when the Avatar program was first started. You play as Ryan, the first ever Avatar to travel into Pandora and you must Hack n Slash your way until you meet the Na’vi and become a trusted member of their group. There is a base storyline in the game but mostly it’s about killing anything that gets in your way as you travel through Pandora.
No expense was spared when Gameloft were to create Pandora for the iPhone and iPod Touch. They even worked with producers of Avatar the movie to create a world that represented the film and was to a standard that they were happy with. In return we have received a game that to the standard of something we would expect to find in a PSP title.
This game should have the nickname ‘Captain Detail’ as this is exactly what we get in Avatar. The game extends from the actual parts of the level that you can actually visit into creating a highly detailed scene around every corner. If this was just another shoot ‘em up platformer it would be incredibly easy just to have a blue sky and be done with it. In true Pandora style Gameloft has filled the sky with all the things that we get only in Avatar, such as huge floating mounds of land, waterfalls falling into thin air and just amazing landscapes.
There is a lot more around you as well, with 8 unique levels that provide a long enclosed path for you to follow full of luscious greenery and huge cliff faces, as well as lots of little creatures and colours. There is one open world level which features a huge grass clearing in a sort of valley. While this game just features the odd tree and huge cliff face, the main object in this level is the famous tree where the Na’vi live in the movie.
This game looks superb, easily one of the best looking games on the App Store. The only real competitors for a game of this size would be Gameloft’s other two titles NOVA and Modern Combat: Sandstorm. Once again this proves why Gameloft are and continue to be one of the best two developers, in my opinion, on the App Store.
The controls in Avatar are fairly standard for a Gameloft game, offering an array of on-screen buttons to perform every manoeuvre or skill needed to play this game. There is nothing overly special with the offering in Avatar and certainly isn’t up to the same amount of skills available in Assassin’s Creed Altair’s Chronicles. But then again a Na’vi doesn’t need half the skills an Assassin would use.
The game features a virtual joystick to control your Na’vi or whatever he may be riding at that current time. On the right side of the screen is a jump button, a button to repeatedly mash to attack with one of your weapons and a button that allows you to switch weapons. Fairly simple design, but when you have had it working for over a year and a half why mess with it?
As I said before the story in James Cameron’s Avatar is to follow the progress of Ryan, the first ever Avatar in existence as he discovers Pandora from the view of one of the local Na’vi. The game is a hack n slash/shoot em up platform game basically where you must run your way through levels defeating both nasty creatures in Pandora and humans from your own race who oppose you. The scene for the level is played in out via dialogue before each level (with voice acting from the main Na’vi in the film).
This game is what I would define as a 3rd Generation game because it is very similar to two other games by Gameloft. Previously we have had Hero of Sparta and Assassin’s Creed Altair’s Chronicles with the newest title always adding onto what we got in the previous title. This is the same for NOVA which is again a 3rd Generation title with Brothers in Arms and Modern Combat coming before it.
Avatar has 10 missions in total, with 8 being pre-set levels and 2 being free roam levels where you must complete around 5 or so tasks to finish the level. The other missions are all about advancing through the level by killing everything in sight, climbing cliff faces, jumping on moving platforms etc. The 8 levels will take you about 15-20 minutes to complete and the free roam levels take between 30-60 minutes depending on how many times you fail some of the tasks as it’s tricky to stay alive on harder difficulties.
A majority of the levels are using just your Avatar to run and jump around. The free roam levels allow you to use one of the horse creatures if you wish to so you can get around the map faster and one level let’s you fly on your own bird creature (I’m bad with the terminology). It’s nice to have this little big of variation in the game, making for a very enjoyable experience playing the game. Along with the option to use an array of weapons and upgrade your stats when collecting items this makes for a great time. Also having lots of checkpoints throughout levels lets you play for 5 minutes or an hour and you can regularly progress, something majorly lacking in Modern Combat: Sandstorm.
Avatar is an outstanding game on so many levels, with such exquisite detail and an amazing gaming experience. This game is deserving of all praise it receives and is really pushing the limits on what we can come to expect from both platform games and Gameloft as a company.
$6.99 is an excellent price for this game and a great companion to play before and after you watch Avatar for the 33rd time at the cinemas. Unlike so many movie and naming tie-ins this is something both James Cameron and 20th Century Fox can be proud to have their name against.
I would recommend this game if you enjoyed- Hero of Sparta