Price: FREE ($5.99 to unlock the full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Revolution 60 has a lot of influences. It wants to be a sprawling sci-fi action RPG full of choices like Mass Effect. It spices up its numerous cutscenes with quick time events like Heavy Rain. Parts of its plot recall Metal Gear Solid, and its stylish 60s espionage vibe is probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to another No One Lives Forever. However, instead of being derivative, Revolution 60 emerges as a fantastically fresh original vision and a great debut for developer Giant Spacekat.
Starting Revolution 60 feels like stepping into a wholly realized sci-fi world. In fact, the lore can get so dense at times it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, but players will pick up enough. Plus they can purchase a separate guidebook explaining the universe, which fortunately seems interesting enough to warrant such a cost. Besides, the characters are what really matters, and Revolution 60’s cast is definitely worth getting invested in.
Players take on the role of Holiday, an assassin working for the covert Chessboard organization, as she and her team investigate a mysterious orbital weapons platform. Players will frequently interact with Holiday’s squad including stern and possibly unhinged leader Min, bubbly engineer Amelia, and Val, who has been rendered a cybernetic zombie by a near-fatal accident. Through their dialogue choices players will make or break friendships, discover personal histories, and witness genuinely captivating characters arcs over the tight three-hour campaign.
But Revolution 60 isn’t all talking; aside from a few exploration sections, the rest of the game is made up of one-on-one enemy encounters. Both combatants face each other on a grid and move around their lanes trying to land hits on each other. Players can move at any time, but so can the enemy. Guns also take time to recharge, so make each shot count. With enough hits, players can activate a slick, powerful takedown maneuver. The fast and tense action sits somewhere between the tactics of turn-based combat and the reflexes of real-time. It’s the best of both worlds. And as players level up, they’ll gain access to a plethora of new skills like double shots and faster reload times.
Revolution 60, powered by Unreal, strives for the depth of a console epic and that’s especially apparent in its ambitious visuals. There are lots of big environments with distinct looks like a neon, futuristic, urban dystopia or a sterile, 2001-style space station. However, at times the game strains against its limited indie resources - such as with some iffy textures. But the scope is so admirable it’s easy to overlook inevitable rough edges. That also applies to the character designs, which can look stiff and dated in screenshots, but animate fluidly in-game and are made whole by convincing voice work.
Despite its potential for originality, the App Store suffers from a culture of cynical rehashes. But Revolution 60 bucks that trend by being bold and true to itself. It’s counter-culture.