Developer: Bulkypix
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

I remember covering T.E.C 3001 back when it was solely an Xbox Live Indie Game. It was a lot of fun, but runners have usually felt a bit out of place on consoles and this was no exception. However, seeing it ported to iOS was incredibly exciting. Now all that awesomeness (and then some) is mine to enjoy on my iPhone whenever I want! Only now I don’t want to because the controls keep getting in the way.

tec04T.E.C 3001 is about a robot who runs. Each of the 41 levels in the campaign mode tasks players with rushing through and around obstacles in order to make it to the finish line within a certain time limit, collect a specific number of batteries, or other similar goals. It isn’t immediately apparent but there are actually three separate kinds of races to partake in: standard free running, a drag race that has players trying to time boosts as they run over special pads on the ground, and a lane-based rush to the finish line at maximum speed. Each one offers up a slightly different experience and caters to various genre preferences.

The pseudo virtual reality look that shifts colors as players run through special gates is certainly something. T.E.C 3001 is a great looking game, to be sure. It’s also full of content, as I’ve mentioned. Aside from the variation found in the campaign there’s split-screen multiplayer across all three modes (Free Run, Speed Run, and Drag Race) and an Endless Run. Plenty of stuff to keep players busy. At least, it would if the interface weren’t so problematic.

tec09That’s the thing about T.E.C 3001: it felt out of place on a console, but now that it’s on mobile the controls hamper the experience to an almost humorous degree. Buttons are everywhere and will do different things depending on the mode, they fluctuate between feeling too sensitive and not sensitive enough, and their placement – such as having Dash, Jump, and Slide arranged vertically on the right side of the screen and incredibly close together – leads to a lot of accidental presses. I can’t count the number of times I’ve slid along the ground instead of jumping or unintentionally inched just slightly in the wrong direction, naturally with both instances often resulting in a crash. And don’t even get me started on the split-screen multiplayer, especially on the iPhone.

I really, really, really wanted to enjoy T.E.C 3001 on my phone. The console version was fantastic, and this port has even more neat stuff in it to keep me busy. Unfortunately the interface is too much of a mess for that to happen.


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