Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad mini RetinaGraphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
SXPD is part comic book, part driving game, set in the merciless 52nd State of the USA. A place governed by a singular authority: a female police force named the SXPD. In this futuristic society, the officers are given only numbers as names, and are kept busy by the various gangs rebelling against the state.
Players will follow a new recruit known only as '021' through a black-and-white digital comic, drawn by renowned comic book artist Duke Mighten of Batman and Judge Dredd fame. As the panels splice and scatter apart to further the story, they'll soon find themselves dropped into a high-speed chase out of nowhere. These sections come complete with stylised cel-shaded graphics that reflect the art of the comics, with all of the cool visual sound-effects and death panels one could hope for. It's an immersive experience, and one that feels properly integrated into the story.
Players must tilt the screen to turn the bike, tap to shoot at enemies or obstacles, or swipe upwards to hit them with a rocket blast. The environments are actually open-plan rather than a standard track layout, so no chase is a simple game of catch-up. Enemies will attempt to flank and take down recruit 021, making for fast and frantic gameplay sections that capture the intense nature of the comic.
The gameplay is the slightly weaker part of the overall experience as the chases become increasingly tedious and predictable, reducing down to the same chase-em-and-blow-em-up formula. This is highlighted even more so in Arcade Mode. The story is also a tad clichéd, and I struggled to make sense of the action in a few panels (due to the monochrome style), but on the whole it's entertaining and enjoyable enough to still be a page-turner.
SPXD gets the balance right for the most part though, combining two genres into a well-blended mix. They support one another well, the gameplay sections coming in at just the right time to provide a short respite from the Wild Western-style manhunt of the comic book. It's a engaging experience, just not one that necessarily warrants a second play/read through.