Developer: Arkalis Interactive
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s

Graphics / Sound Rating: Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

photo 3 (42)Stargate SG-1: Unleashed Ep 1 is an action-adventure game based on the popular TV show, and puts players in control of the main members of the SG-1 squad: Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, and Samantha Carter. While it is far from a perfect game, Unleashed does a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of its source material, making it somewhat of a hidden–but relatively pricey–gem for die hard fans of the Stargate universe.

Much like the television series, Unleashed is more about story than anything else. The game opens with a somewhat lengthy cinematic setting the stage for what will turn out to be a time-travelling caper before dumping players into the action. This structure persists throughout each of Episode 1‘s nine chapters, and primarily consists of either cover-based shooting, stealth sequences, quick time events, dialogue options, puzzle-solving, or a combination of these gameplay modes.

With this structure in mind, Unleashed seems to be deriving some of its gameplay from games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, albeit in a less polished way. Some of these ragged edges came off as charming to me, as I had always thought of the SG-1 TV show as sort of a B-list series, but some really hampered my experience. For example, I appreciated how Unleashed offered dialogue choices in the game, even though they were completely inconsequential to the game’s narrative. It was fun to see they were there and to control what some members of SG-1 would say, even though we live in an era where we expect narrative consequences for these choices. On the other hand, I did not appreciate the amount of time I had to replay many of these sequences either because a game crash or poor checkpointing.

photo 1 (47)In addition to these technical issues, almost every part of playing Unleashed is a similarly uneven experience. Shooting seems more difficult than it needs to be because it’s hard to see the targets you are tapping, the camera controls are clunky, some of the puzzles are tedious, the chapters are very uneven lengths, and quick time events are, well, quick time events. Despite all this though, I found myself compelled by the narrative to keep playing.

Ultimately, I would heartily recommend Unleashed to anyone that can get sucked into a serviceable sci-fi TV plot if it weren’t for the game’s asking price of $4.99. Although the game looks great, it has performance issues, and it’s only really fun when you’re unraveling the story. Once that is done, there is little drawing players back into the game, making it a rather poor value overall. Unless there’s a price drop, I’d say players are better off just watching an episode of the actual TV show.

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