Metal Gear Solid Touch by Konami launched today for $7.99. The game is a tap-to-shoot arcade style shooter. With this hefty price tag in the competitive App Store, does the game deliver?
As a quick answer, sort of. MGS Touch is definitely a well-made game. The gameplay involves inanimate cardboard-style enemies popping into environments. You have a couple of seconds to take a shot or two to kill them before they fire. Shooting involves you placnig your hand on the screen and dragging it in the direction you want to aim. An important distinction to make is that you’re not simply tapping what you want to shoot on the screen. When you do want to fire, a simple tap does the shot and Snake will fire where the crosshairs are. For the most part, you face two classes of enemies. Those who are close enough to shoot normally, or those further away that require sniping. Sniping is done as the normal pinch to zoom action as in other apps.
For the twelve levels, the gameplay mostly remains the same: kill a certain amount of enemies to pass the level. Variations do happen with Metal Gears coming in, and boss battles as levels some times. The game controls well and can get hectic when you need to snipe and then kill close enemies quickly, and this is when MGS Touch is at its best. You can die in a level if you get shot enough by not taking cover when appropriate. With extra health popping up during the level and being able to hide to regain health, dying does not happen often.
Unfortunately, the gameplay gets tiring quickly. Each of the levels are beaten in around a minute and a half, and the textual interludes between levels aren’t interesting enough to read for anyone but Metal Gear fans. The game lasted me just over half an hour to finish the story mode, and there really isn’t much of a drive to go back and play more. Upon beating the game, you unlock a survival mode that lets you play through the game with no restarts, which is nice for hardcore fans. I did like the fact that every time you beat a level, you get some points to spend in the unlock shop. Points can be spent to unlock wallpapers to use on your iPhone. It may not be much, but I think fans of the series will enjoy this and it gives completionists a bit more to do in the game.
So, while the gameplay is solid, it gets tiresome and gamers should be aware of this before buying. The game at the time of this writing covers acts 1-3 of MGS4, with Konami promising a future update of 8 more levels to cover acts 4-5. The game might have fared a bit better with those levels included at launch, some sort of multiplayer mode thrown in, or more ways to want to draw you back to keep playing. Despite the drawbacks, MGS Touch’s solid audio, controls, and overall polish give it a respectable score.