Halo: Spar­tan As­sault / Spar­tan Strike

The Mi­crosoft fran­chise wages war on alien ter­rain

Mac Format - - RATED - Alan Wil­liamson

£7.99 Devel­oper Mi­crosoft, haloway­point.com

Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

The story of Halo isn’t Master Chief sav­ing the Earth from re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ist aliens; it’s about a fran­chise sav­ing Mi­crosoft’s Xbox from the scrap heap. With Spar­tan As­sault and Spar­tan Strike, Halo in­vades the alien world of iOS. These sib­ling shoot­ers (avail­able as a two-for-one bun­dle) dis­til Halo – shoot­ing, driv­ing, shoot­ing while driv­ing – into a tiny pack­age, with mixed re­sults.

Spar­tan As­sault and Spar­tan Strike look and quack like Halo: en­vi­ron­ments are au­then­tic, guns be­have as Xbox vet­er­ans would ex­pect and you can even hi­jack a Wraith tank to rain pur­ple plasma death on the Covenant. But the con­trols are some­what ropey: lob­bing grenades is an ex­er­cise in ex­plo­sive frus­tra­tion and switch­ing weapons can be­come a fa­tal faff. On an iPhone 5S, text is mi­cro­scopic and thumbs ob­scure the view, but there’s plenty of room on the iPad. Spar­tan Strike is more re­fined, with an in­ter­est­ing story run­ning par­al­lel to Halo 2, but there’s lit­tle to truly dif­fer­en­ti­ate them.

Both of­fer bite-sized nuggets of con­fronta­tion and track high scores for pos­ter­ity. They put the ‘fun’ in per­func­tory, of­fer­ing an en­joy­able af­ter­noon’s blast­ing and not a lot more. These games are recog­nis­ably Halo yet lack the spe­cial sauce of the Xbox se­ries: the com­pelling space melo­drama of Chief and Cor­tana, the grandiose bat­tles with su­pe­rior ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. You’ll be en­ter­tained, but may be clam­our­ing for the real thing.

Smart, chal­leng­ing en­e­mies

Au­then­tic Halo ex­pe­ri­ence

Where’s Master Chief?

Good luck aim­ing grenades

The pack­age is a de­light­ful Halo fix for se­ries fans and an en­joy­able dis­trac­tion for the rest of us.

It wouldn’t be Halo with­out gi­gan­tic ex­plo­sions in­vad­ing the screen at al­most ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

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