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Developer: Interwave Studios B.V.
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ever the champion of stylish games, I was drawn to rComplex almost immediately. I’d never had the pleasure of playing the original, but that also meant going into this iOS rendition with a fresh outlook. Perhaps I’d have fewer complaints if I was donning the rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia.

rComplex is about a man on the run from a giant shadowy tentacle monster. Whatever this thing is, it’s relentlessly pursuing him. So his only choice is to run like the dickens and try to survive as best he can. Players will be sliding under and leaping over plenty of obstacles as they tear through each stage (yes, it’s not “endless”), along with occasionally taking a shot or two at their hungry-hungry shadow. Every now and then they might happen by a few extra bullets or a replacement scythe assuming they’ve lost their original in a struggle, but by and large gameplay is chiefly comprised of lots of swiping and a little tapping. And it would all be awesome if it just worked well.

First the good stuff. rComplex oozes style. Even more than it oozes bloodthirsty tentacle monsters. The decision to color-code over/under obstacles was also incredibly clever as it makes reacting to things a bit easier. So yeah, it looks and sounds amazing. For the most part. It’s also nice to have a legitimately interesting story to go with all that running for dear life. Whoever this guy is, he has no idea why he’s here or why this thing wants to eat him. However, he can access special memory cubes scattered throughout the game to shine a bit more light on the backstory.

And yet, as great as rComplex looks and sounds, it falls apart in places. For example the comic book story panels are a neat idea, but they’re an extremely low resolution (even for my 3GS) and appear fuzzy. Similarly, while the music is great the voice is merely so-so and the sound effects occasionally cut out. Most notably when escaping from the shadow-thing. Worst of all, however, are the controls. Swiping up to jump and down to slide are fine, but the response time feels off. It’s not so bad in the tutorial, but once things get moving I practically needed a sixth sense to know when to jump. Sliding is much more forgiving, oddly. Thing is, even reacting in time doesn’t always go well because of the weird delay. So many cheap deaths… And don’t even get me started on the more claustrophobic levels where the camera pulls in close.

I really, really wanted to be able to say rComplex is an absolute must own, but I just can’t. Not unless the controls get a bit more responsive. It’s not a bad game, and it might be worth the $0.99 to some people, but it’s also disappointing.


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