Terminator Salvation Review

Looking for the best 3D shooter on the iPhone? Look no further.

Gameloft brings the best shooting action yet to the iPhone with it’s game based on the upcoming Terminator Salvation movie. It’s not often that games based on movies are good, much less raise the bar for other games in their genre!

You play as either John Connor or Marcus Wright, but since the game isn’t too heavy on plot, there may as well have just been one character. The game starts off with a great intro cut scene and ample instructions to get you moving around, using cover, and firing. The cover system works very well, and and is very similar to Gears of War. In fact, a lot in this game can be compared to Gears, which is a very good thing considering the quality of that game. You walk up to cover to lock in and crouch, whether it be sandbags or the corner of a wall.



You fire to move out of cover, and stop firing to move back. Very simple.

One of the biggest problems with shooting games on the iPhone are the controls. Luckily, Gameloft completely nailed this one, as they seem to have been doing with their recent action games. You move forward, back, and strafe with a virtual joystick on the left side, and aim/fire with a button on the right. (You can slide your screen on the main screen anywhere to look around.)The game makes great use of slight auto aim to assist in locking onto enemies. While locked on, you can move your reticule to fine tune your shot, and generally, to aim for the head.

By the end of the first level, you should be very familiar and comfortable with the controls. They are so good, that it is generally not a problem when you have to react quickly to a batch of enemies than surprise you. I was also able to strafe and fire effectively, which is yet another feat for this kind of game on the iPhone. Gameloft offered 2 other control types, including accelerometer, but the default controls are by far the best in my opinion.

The most amazing part of Terminator Salvation is the fact that it plays well, is mostly lag free, and LOOKS GOOD while doing it. There were moments where I just stood there



admiring my surroundings, forgetting I was actually playing this on an iPhone. There are some instances of “pop-in” textures, and a very few brief lag moments, but overall Terminator really showcases what the iPhone can do. The game environments are very rich with detail, and really help immerse you in the battles. The enemies are also pretty cool, and will keep you on your toes for the most part. Most of the missions will introduce a new enemy or weapon, so the pace never gets dry or dull. The musical score from the movie goes perfectly with the action, and there are no audio clipping issues like a lot of games that require more graphical power.

The action is great, with a good variety of missions. Sadly, it’s a short but sweet ride. There are 8 missions in all, and playing on hard (second of three difficulties), I beat the game in just shy of 90 minutes. It’s a different story on “extreme” mode, which you unlock after you beat it on hard. One of the benefits of unlocking extreme mode is getting to play through the whole game as a Terminator. Unfortunately, there is very little difference, other than the fact that you can’t take cover. (Terminators ain’t no wussies,

Hmm... do I DARE!?

Hmm... do I DARE!?

FOO!) The gun icon shows your weapon to be a chain gun, but it’s not the weapon you’re actually holding. Lame.

There are “achievements”, but as you don’t even know when you get these until you check in the menu, it feels like an afterthought. It’s all a nice touch, as are the unlockable game art pieces (which you can’t even view full screen), but all around, it’s not a game you will playing much past maybe 2 times through.

Presentation & Graphics
Some of the best 3D graphics on the iPhone. Period. You’ll think you’re playing it on a PSP! The lag issues are very minor, and won’t effect your experience at all. It looks soooo gooood!

Crawling bots are always a scary thing!

Crawling bots are always a scary thing!

Great use of the original movie score. Fantastic sound effects that really help immerse you in the experience.


Perfectly tweaked controls. Intense action. Cool weapons. Varied missions. As far as action games go, Terminator Salvation fires on all cylinders. I only wish there were more cutscenes, and that the main plot wasn’t shown through a paragraph before each mission. This cheapens the experience… only very slightly. The hacking mini game is practically pointless. Game is too easy, even on hard!

Sweet, but so short! I completed all 8 missions on hard in less than 90 minutes. It’s tougher on “extreme”, but other than an unlockable T


Terminator Salvation is the future of action gaming on the iPhone, plain and simple. It has raised the bar in sound, graphics, and controls for all the current shooters on the iPhone, and for those to come. It’s a varied and exciting experience that will sadly leave you wanting quite a bit more. It’s short and sweet at only 8 faintly strung together missions. Still, even with the extremely short play time, it is definitely a game you can’t miss, even if you wait for a price drop to get it! ;)

Terminator Salvation – $9.99

[Check out the video review in our latest Vodcast!]

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  • revolver.1

    when I got this game I was in awe at what my little handheld multimedia device was capable of.
    There had been near misses before namely gamelofts own assassins creed which is great but just falls short of classic status.
    This game has raised the bar for everyone and at the same time made everones job that much harder.

  • iPGN-Matt, USA

    Good to see a supporter! Kinda odd to see such a good game from a movie license. I wonder if they will follow suit with the major console version?

  • revolver.1

    yeah well I’d hope so but my ps3 just died with a cannot find correct hard disk error so I’m not too bothered at the mo LOL just keep the good itouch games coming.
    If this is as good as the 5.99 bracket gets(I’m Scottish so we pay in pounds) then can’t wait to see what the rumoured £19.99 bracket will bring us.

  • Random.

    Controls just ruin the experience. I just can’t play FPS @ iPhone.

  • revolver.1

    They can be a little sticky hut not to the complete detriment of the game.
    Try playing dark raider then you can say something bout bad controls

  • iPGN-Matt, USA

    Yeah I had literally no issues with the controls (as shown in my review). Did you maybe try the other two methods offered to see if they work better for you?

  • erik

    absolutely amazing game but too short :-(

  • iPGN-Dave

    This looks like it’s gonna be a tough one to resist buying.

  • Rock $ Rolla

    Aweasome-after reading your review this game looks awesome


    i wasnt too keen on this. maybe i;ll give it a shot.

  • iPGN-Matt, USA

    Yeah. To be honest, if it was at least twice as long, it probably would have been the first 5 star game in a long time!

  • Jake Lee

    To me it feels like a re-skinned Brothers in Arms. That said tho- the graphics are awesome, I do like the mini-game and yeah its far too short.

  • Jay

    in my mind, this is what BoA should have been like. :)

  • Omar

    The ONLY bad thing about this game:I can’t help myself not playing it before watching the movie :)

    Besides that if it was longer you can easily pass it on as a quality playstation game emulated on the iphone.

    Cheers gameloft!

  • Ryan

    Awesome game, smooth controls ;-)