G is a really strange game to review. It has some of the best voice acting for the iPhone, it has got deep atmosphere not far from that I feel in Myst, and the story is really good and I feel intrigued to push on. Then on the other hand this is just a game about finding the correct trajectory and power of rockets.
You are a new sounding officer at the Ptolemy Station, and your mission is to explore The Rain by launching rockets. This is a deeper version of games such as iShoot, Slingshot and Worms. Instead of shooting at other targets shooting back you have to fire rockets that pass predetermined points on the playing field. Once the rocket passes the point you have to press your sonar button to activate it. Setting up trajectory and power of the rocket is done at its own screen. At the target screen you can choose direction, rocket power, and timing of power usage. When you progress further in G you will get stage rockets giving you separate controls for each stage. I find it a bit hard to aim and set power when I don’t see the targets. Going back and forth between map and the fire control screen is a bit tedious, and really not helping much. Most of the time it is better to just use trial and error instead of planning your shot precisely.
You get an aiming line at the map screen showing your last rocket, which is really helpful. The further you get in the game, the more obstacles you encounter. Gravitational pull, clouds and spheres varying in size all challenge your skill as a sounding officer.
The touch controls at times feel a bit off. I press the sonar and it reacts moments later, when the rocket has already passed. Rebooting the iPhone didn’t help. Menus also feel a bit sluggish once pressed. I know I am not poking dead air as the menu item opens but the delay feels unnecessary. Once your missile is in the air you can tilt the iPhone to affect how it rotates. By shaking the device you can obliterate your rocket, and get a new one.
There is no limit to the number of rockets you can use for but it will affect your score. The less you use, the higher you score. This is kind of strange I think, as it becomes more a matter of patience than skill if you finish the game. I really find it hard to motivate myself to do well by placing one perfect rocket traversing all points of interest. Instead you can aim at the individual targets one at a time at the cost of a point deduction. There is really no way to get a game over as far as I can see. Even shooting a rocket into the Ptolemy won’t punish you.
Once you have passed the tutorial you can choose missions from different companies, and the story evolves further. G expands into a deep, and highly interesting world. All missions are introduced by a text read by a great voice talent. I have not found any way to speed up or skip the introduction, and I would like some kind of skip button to make the game play a bit quicker. Especially when I retry a level I have already heard the introduction of.
G is the first in a trilogy set in the steam punk world of The Rain. I think that the developer, Soma Games, has a good foundation to build future games on. The world is interesting, the story intriguing, and the atmosphere created is great. I can only hope that the actual gameplay in future games matches those aspects. In G I think the gameplay is the weak link, but still I think G is a game worth to experience.
Utterly beautiful hand drawn art, the backgrounds and the Ptolemy look stunning. Story is told in text, would like to have more imagery of the world of The Rain.
Top of the line voice acting that feels urgent and sincere without sounding phony. The ambient music makes it all feel mysterious and wonderful. Use earphones to maximise the experience.
The gameplay feels a bit limited in scope. Granted it becomes more and more complex with three-stage rockets, but in the end I feel like I am playing iShoot without anyone shooting back at me. Limitless rockets make it too easy to skip the hard shots, and just go for lots of easy shots.
The touch controls work but at times delay makes them seem sluggish. Would like a button to destroy my active rocket instead of shaking the iPhone.
50 missions give you ample gamelife at two bucks. It is a struggle between wanting to follow the story, and getting bored by the lack of challenge that will ultimately decide whether you complete the game or not.
It is a really immersive game, easy to get into and enjoy through eyes and ears. Sadly the actual gameplay isn’t as interesting. At two bucks I feel I can still recommend it as an experience not to be missed. As it is the first in a trilogy it might also be wise to get to know The Rain from the start.