Version Reviewed: 1.0.10
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S/iPhone 6 Plus
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
If the general premise of Mayday! Deep Space feels a touch familiar, it might be because you’re one of the dozen or so people who actually played a little-known PlayStation 2 title called Lifeline. In case you’re not one of these rarefied elite, allow me to explain.
Both games operate under very similar premises: using only the tool of their voice, players guide a hero (and I use that term loosely) through the twisting corridors of a space station. Lifeline, akin to Resident Evil and other clunkily controlling third-person action-adventure titles of the day, was festooned with awkward combat and puzzles while struggling against dodgy voice recognition. Mayday!, on the other hand, eschews all but the most basic visuals - and, indeed, what could even be actually considered “gameplay” - to focus on atmosphere and an interactive storytelling experience while leveraging the power of Apple’s Siri software to enable a much more reasonable voice recognition accuracy.
Calling Mayday! a game is a bit of a misnomer as it’s more interactive fiction than anything. Sadly, the story itself is nothing to write home about: a hastily executed tale involving clones, space zombies, and the authoritarian trampling of human rights barely gets underway before it’s all over. There are branching story paths to take, but I was hard pressed to care enough about seeing multiple outcomes to sit through fifteen or twenty minutes of saying “Go forward.” “turn left,” “stop,” and “run!” over and over. And while the detached bystander guiding our hapless hero is quite important (since your charge doesn’t seem to know how to avoid walking toward an enemy without your assistance), your role as the faceless Taylor never feels especially important. Still, fans of Supernatural and Grimm will probably appreciate hearing the pipes of Osric Chau, Claire Coffee, and Bitsie Tulloch in their earbuds in a variety of roles and their performances are certainly above the norm for a mobile effort.
While the voice recognition usually functioned fine during the mundane segments of corridor traversal, during a couple of the game’s big decision moments that cause the story to branch it stubbornly refused to recognize my saying one of the two listed commands. Considering how it recognizes multiple other voice commands that serve the same function (going forward, for instance), it feels weird we wouldn’t be offered multiple means to pick these between these options as well. It's also worth noting that, while the iPhone 4S is technically supported, I encountered multiple hard crashes that prevented me from finishing the review until I started replaying it once I picked up in my new 6 Plus.
While Mayday! Deep Space attempts to present a more immersive interactive storytelling experience, it manages to be both too short to be especially engaging and not nearly as interactive as it wishes it were. And yet, the concept is a worthy one and it almost manages to pull it off. Kudos to Daniel H. Wilson and Iron Cloud for their idea and efforts, but it doesn’t quite manage to hit the mark. Maybe next time?