App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
At this point, I've begun to simply assume any 5-star game or app with five user reviews the day it releases has probably been rated by either dummy accounts or friends and family of the developers. I know this isn't always the case, but some of them are obviously "faking it." So I was understandably hesitant about Mission Europa, not to mention this $9.99 (now $4.99) Collector's Edition, when it hit the App Store with a slew of high ratings. Especially with visuals like that. I think my initial caution was justified, but after trying out the free trial version I realized that I had found the mother of all hidden gems.
The story in a nutshell is as follows: All contact with a mining outpost on Europa has been lost, and a search and rescue team has been sent in to investigate. Totally not a blatant indication of an unavoidably gruesome death. Players will have to fight their way through over 50 levels, complete over 170 missions and defeat over 180 horrific monsters in order to find the truth. And hopefully survive.
Mission Europa's shortcomings are about as blatant as they can get. The visuals are an obvious one, but there are a few more big ones. The menus are tough to navigate with overlapping windows preventing item selection at times, the frustrating need to drag a stack of potions out of a quick-select slot and into the inventory in order to add newly found or purchased ones to the pile (then drag it back to the slot, of course) and the rather irritating need to open multiple windows in order to craft or upgrade. It's also worth noting that the Standard Edition, priced at $1.99, is missing a significant chunk of content (4 out of 5 episodes).
Yet, as rough as it is, Mission Europa is still a must-have RPG. The environments and enemies, despite their simplicity, are still quite gruesome and eerie. There's a bunch of gear to find and craft, with the higher level stuff offering some very satisfying stopping power. Skills are also plentiful and varied, and duplicates (they drop like loot) can be combined to create more powerful versions. Really, anyone who enjoys cutting a swath through hordes of enemies in the name of "getting stuff" will be drawn in almost immediately. And assuming the 50+ hour long campaign gets boring, there's also local and online PVP.
I cannot stress just how much better Mission Europa Collector's Ed. HD is than it appears. This isn't just a must-play, but a must-own for fans of first-person RPG or loot gathering. The hesitant should absolutely check out the free version at the very least, but if it's deemed worthy of a purchase I'd definitely recommend the Collector's Edition over the Standard. It might cost a bit more, but it's totally worth it in the long run.