It’s Missile Command 2.0! Not really, but kinda!
First Contact takes the simple gameplay of Missile Command and translates it into a good 3D game engine. The goal is simple: defend the bases on Mars against constant alien attacks. You do this by rotating around the planet and zooming in and out to tap objects that are flying towards the surface. This consists of missiles, UFOs, and other alien devices. When you tap the incoming threats, missiles are launched from the bases on the surface of Mars to destroy them.
The 3D engine looks very good, with some nice visuals even with relatively close-up views. The sound also works well, although there is no music in the game. The game engine was smooth despite lots of impending doom on screen at once. Oh and there’s a nuke power up, which I thought would look cool, but it’s just a white flash on the screen. Meh.
On a different note, I was surprised to see the choice to upgrade base shields, repair damaged bases, or increase your score at certain points in the game. This was a nice touch, but unfortunately you don’t get a visual idea of what it actually does in the game. There is no sort of HUD with meters for how much health is left in your bases, how many you have left, how good your shields are, etc. In fact, a HUD could have done this game some good. Sadly this feature which could have been great, turns out to be a bit pointless as far as the player is concerned.
I get the feeling that the graphics engine was the focus of this game, because it appears that adding fresh and different gameplay elements was a bit over looked. Because of this, there’s a lack of draw to continue playing First Contact. It certainly doesn’t suck, but it also doesn’t suck you in to make you keep wanting to play.
Presentation & Graphics
Very solid graphics with some good textures. Smooth.
No music, but the effects work well enough. Could have used more variety.
It’s pretty much 3D, 360 degree, Missile Command action! It’s very easy to pickup and play, and saves your progress if you need to take a break. The game really could use status indicators on your health and shields of your bases though.
There’s a global leaderboard, which is nice. Other than that, there’s only one mode of play. It’s fun, but not for a long period of time.
First Contact is certainly a solid re-visiting of the classic Missile Command arcade series for the iPhone. It’s a shame the developer didn’t take more liberty with adding things like weapons upgrades, defensive buildings, or other features to really put this above the pack. But for those looking for a simple and straight forward twist on a classic game, First Contact provides for a good, if not a bit bland, 3D arcade experience that shouldn’t disappoint.