Pandorum Review: Shooting Yourself In the Foot

We reported that Artifical Life released Pandorum for the iPhone, a third person shooter based off of the movie that will be released September 25th.  Of course, movie games haven’t had much of a good reputation on the consoles, but the iPhone seems to be a totally different story as the best third person shooter in the App Store was based on a movie.  Pandorum sadly falls right in with all the console movie games, and while the game itself is well produced, major overlooks make this experience far from enjoyable.

Likes

Graphics: Graphics are very good, it’s just as plain and simple as that.  Very, VERY nice compared to most iPhone games in the App Store, and I was blown away by the quality.  If one area of the game was commended, it would definitely be the graphics.  Artificial Life did a great job animating, designing, and laying out the game to make it visually appealing to consumers.

Controls: Honestly, I really didn’t like the controls when I first started the game.  I thought they were unresponsive and very unintuitive, and I would have liked it if the game used controls similar to that of Terminator Salvation.  As I progressed through the game, I found the controls to actually grow on me more and more, and by the time I had played for an hour or so, the controls felt perfect right in the palm of my hand.

Achievements: Pandorum has very high production values, and achievements are excluded from this game.  It would have been cool if we received Plus+ points or OpenFeint points for achieving the achievements, but achievements are achievements.  Hardcore gamers will find that all the achievements aren’t easy, and an extensive list of awards is a great addition to the game.

Dislikes

Autosave: Major, major, MAJOR oversight from Artificial Life.  I cannot believe that this was not added into the game, and when I play the game, I just can’t help but know that I’ll have to restart the level again.  When each level takes over 30 minutes to complete, I expect the game to autosave, not make you restart the whole level.  Major oversight on Artificial Life’s part that’s clearly unacceptable and a major down point for this game.

What Am I Doing?: The beginning of the game was absolute chaos, and I had no real clue on what to do.  Tutorial was very skimpy and didn’t explain much, and I found myself getting lost over and over again, becoming frustrated and foiled by the end of the day.  Of course, I found out things for myself and travelled through the levels eventually, but most gamers will have trouble continuing to play the game after that initial frustration.

Pandorum really feels like a complete game, but major oversights make this game go down as “just another movie game”.  Graphics are very well done, game design is impeccable, but no autosave and a vague tutorial will frustrate the average gamer.  I was somewhat disappointed with the title, and playing the same level over and over because of the lack of autosave is just not what most iPhone gamers would love to hear about.

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Pandorum was developed by Artificial Life, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $3.99, and there is a lite version to try before you buy.

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About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

2 thoughts on “Pandorum Review: Shooting Yourself In the Foot

  1. I must be missing something… I almost finished mission 1-1, exited out of the game, and was forced to restart the level. Just tested it again, and there’s no resume option, only a “New Game” and “Select Mission” option. The “Share Progress” option is also there, but my phone is too old to support bluetooth.

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