App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
If you took something like Space Marshals and tried to make it more like Half-Life 2, then you'd be approaching what Island Delta seems to be trying to do. This isometric shooter puts you in possession of a couple of gravity guns which you'll use to infiltrate a facility to extract your captured robot friend. I'm very sold on the ideas that Island Delta puts forth, but the fun of the game suffers quite a bit from poor checkpointing and puzzle design.
In Island Delta, you need to face off against guards, robots, turrets, and other enemies and obstacles. The only real tool you have at your disposal is a Grav-i-ray, which is a gun that lets you grab things and fling them around, much like the gravity gun from Half-Life 2.
Using this ray, you can grab and toss enemies off cliffs, but you can also stack boxes, throw batteries into power outlets, fling explosive barrels at destructible walls, and more. The main gameplay hook in Island Delta is solving puzzles by creatively using your ray with the elements of your environment.
Pulling you in
Island Delta frames its entire story around a mission to retrieve a stolen robot from an evil scientist, and this story–as simple as it is–helps drive you through the experience. Part of what makes the story appealing is Island Delta's aesthetic, which is reminiscent of a Pixar movie.
Throughout the story, you'll find yourself bouncing between two different characters. While this does help from a narrative standpoint to keep things interesting, there's no gameplay differences between the characters, which feels a little bit like a missed opportunity.
Since you use a gun that effectively lets you move and fling objects at will, Island Delta depends on your successful manipulation of physics to solve a lot of its puzzles. Even though the game has a pretty great control scheme for manipulating objects, things can and will still go awry in a way that's unpredictable and pretty frustrating.
These setbacks wouldn't be quite so frustrating if it weren't for Island Delta's checkpointing system, which saves checkpoints at only one or two pre-defined sports in a level. When playing, I found myself dying pretty far into levels, which usually ended up forcing me to replay long sections of levels just to catch back up to where I died.
Even when I wasn't dying, there were times in Island Delta where I had to restart from a checkpoint because I had managed to break the level by using objects in unusual ways, both intentionally and unintentionally.
The bottom line
Island Delta doesn't seem to have a good enough handle on its physics to get away with the puzzles it sets up and the checkpoints that it gives you. I'm a big fan of what this game is on paper, but in practice, it's just kind of a drag.