CS.One is amazing.
Out of the many iPhone games I have played, very few have been as much fun as CS.One.
CS.One is a an asteroids style shooter on crack. But, instead of shooting asteroids for no good reason, in CS.One you play a hacker trying to infiltrate “The Network” blowing up the data core while fending off enemy attack. This manifests itself as you in a ship fighting in a candy electronic vector world. Each time you blow up a core you move deeper and deeper into the game until you successfully hack that network.
As you move down the levels get harder and harder. The only way to survive is to master how to control your ship and think quickly to use the tools you have to get out of trouble. For example, when things get hairy you can gently shake the phone to turn on bullet time. This will slow everything down and let you pull off some amazing moves to get out of trouble. Your bullet time is limited however, and the only way to replenish it is to collect ghost data from slain enemies.
CS.One has some of the best control schemes I have ever seen for the iPhone. To control your ship you have to manage thrust, rotation, and brake, or reverse. CS.One breaks your controls into two modes, basic and advanced. In Basic you have an analog-style circle on the left hand corner to point the direction you want your ship to go. To accelerate you simply touch somewhere on the right third of the screen. To stop or reverse, slide your finger down in that same screen segment. Then in the lower right hand corner you have an area you touch to shoot. While you shoot the game will slow down your rotation so you can focus on aiming.
In the advanced controls you use the left two-thirds of the screen to control your ship. just slide your finger to the left or to the right from anywhere and you will rotate the ship left or right. You only touch the screen while your actively rotating, so unlike the other control your thumb does not just live on the screen. At first this control method seemed difficult and overly complicated, but after spending a bit of time with the controls I am convinced this is one of the best control methods for this type of game I have ever seen. I love it.
Not only does CS.One give you two very good control styles to choose from, but you can tweak each of them. You are able to fine tune your thrust, rotation, and aim dampening. You can also choose if you want to air-brake, or use reverse thrusters when sliding your thumb back. These options let you create the perfect control settings for how you want to play.
Learning to control the game well is one of the requirements for getting far in this game. CS.One is a game that starts out simply enough but gets very challenging as you really get into it. You have to become a Jedi master of the controls and be able to think on your feet to beat this game. CS.One is hard enough that it will make you hurt, but it hurts so, so, good.
The Graphics are amazing. The colors are very geometry wars and the shapes are sharp and crisp. The lines are razor sharp and the glows are soft and colorful. The art style might best be described as gritty vector-hacker style. The movement is good, and the enemies and targets are perfect for the theme of the game.
One thing that really makes CS.One stand out is the sound. I haven’t seen a better matched soundtrack in a game since ZenBound. The sound track is incredible. Put in your headphones and crank up the volume, it will test the limit of your headset. The lows are deep and thumping while the highs pierce right through. I can’t even get this good sound reproduction out of apple’s native iPod App.
When you go down the list you can see why CS.One is an exceptional title, amazing graphics, awesome sound, great gameplay, and lots of re-playability, but what really pushes this title over the edge is the attitude. When entering a level you hear the familiar dial up tones as you hack into the network. CS.One also makes dying a bit more light hearted as it will flare up a message like “seriously?” or “WTF?” when you meet your end. The attitude in this game really make stand out, not just from other iPhone games, but other games in general.
I consider myself a pretty hardcore gamer. I find enjoyment in the challenge being pushed to limit, being forced to get better to keep moving through the game and CS.One caters to that. Some casual players may feel disappointed that they never unlock the other levels or get very far on the game, but they will still have a lot of fun trying.
The Bottom Line
If I could only have 3 games on my iPhone, CS.One would be one of them. The game has taken a great pickup and play format and absolutely dominated it. It has that killer gameplay that will keep you entertained forever.
Presentation & Graphics
The graphics in CS.One will make your eyes pop out of your skull, in a good way. It does have a minor frame rate issue after you blow up the data core, but it doesn’t effect your gameplay at all, just takes a little tic of the perfect presentation.
Put on headphones and crank it up! I’ve even plugged to my high end home audio system ad enjoyed the audio glory. Listen carefully and you will hear some audio clips in the music that will make you smile.
The best of its kind, on any platform. I’m just glad they built it for iPhone first.
Because the game is so challenging there is a lot of gameplay. Nothing (not even the famous ZenBound) can get 5 in this category without some online multiplayer or user updated levels. The iPhone has raised the bar in this category.
Game Rating – Editor’s Choice
Seriously? Buy it, b$tch.($.99 on sale from 2.99)