Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPad mini Retina
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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The first thing that hit me about Tempo was just how incredible it looks - from its crisp textures to its smooth animations, with London providing a great (if under-utilized) backdrop. As the city finds itself under a terrorist siege, a secret government service with only a few remaining agents must stop it from being blown to smithereens.
Each level has a distinct goal, whether it's stealing intel, defending a position, or freeing a fellow agent from captivity. Regardless, what unfolds is a sprint to the finish while reacting to various situations in the form of quick time events, split into 3 categories: Focus (for hacking), Strength (for when things get physical), and Reflex (for shooting sections). All players have to do is tap at the right time, swipe a certain pattern, or tap repeatedly to execute an action. It essentially plays out like a series of cutscenes from a classic action movie, and one I felt inclined to see through to the end.
Tempo is described as a 'cinematic action game' and that couldn't be more apt, because ultimately player contribution is too minimal to provide any real sense of accomplishment. At one point an armed soldier had a gun pointed at my head, but as I raised my hands in surrender I suddenly knocked the gun out of his hands and judo flipped that sucker. In reality all I did was press the screen at the right time, and that made me feel like a bystander. Although most levels have a different setting or mission statement, each one plays out the same way, with similar animations and scenarios that are bound to repeat themselves (sooner rather than later).
As higher ranking agents are set free they are automatically added to the roster (with their unique abilities in tow), though it's difficult to see how their improved ratings effect actual gameplay. The money that players earn can be used towards power-ups such as added time or an extra health slot, to help when having to retry levels. It is the only currency too, because Tempo is a game without a stamina bar or exclusive content, so players constantly progress at a steady rate.
Tempo is slick, cool, and stylistically cinematic, but ultimately thats's also its downfall as players will undoubtedly tire of playing such a small role - both tactically and actively. It's a game that shows off the graphical capabilities of iOS gaming, but not the depth of gameplay that should reside behind pretty visuals.