Developer: id Software
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★★
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

I think that everyone is a bit skeptical of first person shooters (FPS) on the iPhone. Whether it be controls, graphics, or screen size, most people feel that the iPhone is just incapable of handling the genre. Admittedly, I felt the same, until I played Wolfenstein 3D on my iPhone. I was hoping for an average re-creation of the classic game, but I was expecting a port with wonky controls a-la Mega Man 2.

He is very dead.

He is very dead.

After booting the game up, I decided to start from the beginning on the “Bring Em’ On!” difficulty. I was a bit worried at the start about the controls, but figured that I could still beat the Nazi scum. The controls turned out to be really nice at first… shockingly good. The basic control setup lets you go forward and backwards by sliding your thumb up and down on a movement button in the bottom left and then turning by moving your thumb right and left. The shoot button is on the right and is fortunately large enough to where you never have a problem using a weapon. I got through the first episode with this control scheme until the level boss, which proved to be almost impossible at the time. Something was definitely wrong, and my playing ability wasn’t to blame, it was the fact that I couldn’t strafe. I thought, “well that was a dumb oversight” and shut the game off in anger. It wasn’t till I restarted the game that I found the control option sitting on the menu screen.

In this menu screen, I found what could be the coolest iPhone FPS feature ever… the ability to tilt to strafe. It sounds odd, but it works so very well. I was zig-zagging around the screen in no time, easily defeating the first boss. This feature not only makes this game 1,000x better, but also proves to me that the iPhone can definitely be a viable FPS platform. I can just see myself shooting face-huggers in Half-Life someday, right on my very own iPhone.

The biggest hurdle that I can foresee in getting the newer FPS games, or any game for that matter, on the iPhone is the graphics card. The graphics are perfect for Wolfenstein, and they could probably handle Doom and Duke Nukem, but anything meant for any game requiring a real graphics card will be a stretch. Backtracking a bit, Wolfenstein 3D on the iPhone looks just like it does on the PC. It’s not great, but very solid, and moves extremely quickly. There are no graphical hiccups or screen swimming at all. The sound of the game, obviously a small portion of this game, is true to its origins. The bad guys death sounds are just like I remembered them, and the first boss still says, in the nicest way possible, “Guten Tag!”… right before he shoots you with his dual chain guns. The music isn’t amazing (expectedly quite retro), but the minor-keyed patriotic songs bring me the perfect amount of pride and dread. Just enough to make me want to escape that darn Castle Wolfenstein.

He is also very dead.

He is also very dead.

There really aren’t any major negatives to speak of with the game, but there are a few tweaks that I would make. The thing that I would definitely fix first in the game is the fact that there is no weapon toggle. There is no way in Wolfenstein 3D to switch guns at all, which drives me nuts. After reading John Carmack’s development article (read it here, its really interesting) I sort of understand why the decision was made, but I still don’t like it. If I want to knife every bad guy on the screen I shouldn’t have to blow through all of my ammo to do so. Just let me knife people in peace (I’m not desensitized… no way!).

I really think that this is a must have iPhone app. Wolfenstein 3D helped me hit an iPhone milestone, which is longest time played on a single game in a day. Outside of the horribly addicting Fieldrunners, the most I had played an iPhone game continuously was around 30 min. I easily played Wolfenstein for an hour straight without as much as a water break. The iPhone is just waiting, begging almost, for a real length game to grace its glass screen, and I think that Wolfenstein 3D is the first step in the right direction.

Buy this app now, you won’t regret it a bit. At $4.99, all you have to do is skip on going to Chipotle once, just once, for potentially hours of iPhone gaming fun. I only give 5 stars to my very favorite apps, and this one is well deserved of that title.

I can’t wait for Doom to come out.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,