Prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid Touch for the iPhone, I remarked how important it was to realize that Konami saw fit to get Snake on the App Store before the Xbox 360. Well, Xbox 360 owners, you get the last laugh. Metal Gear Solid Touch is certainly not the game Snake fans are waiting for. It is a simple shooting gallery that just happens to star Solid Snake and a host of characters from the PlayStation 3 bestseller Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
MGST is essentially a retelling of the Guns of the Patriots storyline. Between shooting scenes, players are treated to a series of static screens and text crawls. Snake is back to bring down Liquid Snake. Along the way, there are encounters with familiar faces like Raiden, Laughing Octopus, and Big Mama. If you have not played the PS3 game and intend to, this game is likely to spoil a few twists and turns.
All of the stealth action has been gutted and replaced with an arcade light gun game — and a very simple one at that. You only control Snake’s targeting cursor with your finger, scrolling around the screen on the hunt for targets such as PMC, choppers, and Gekko. When you are not moving the cursor, Snake ducks behind a protective wall. (This wall can be destroyed by too much incoming fire, so don’t be a turtle.) After rolling the cursor over a target, tap the screen anywhere to fire. If you need to zoom in on a distant enemy, pinch the screen like you are manipulating a photo. Snake automatically goes into sniper mode. Again, tap the screen to fire. However, inside sniper mode, you are vulnerable to enemy fire, even if you are not moving the scope.
Enemies do not fire as soon as they pop out, giving you a moment or two to aim. Look for a circle around the enemy to fill as he prepares to unload. When the circle is yellow, you better hurry and pick him off. When that circle flashes red, take your finger off the screen to initiate the ducking move. There are occasional friendlies you need to avoid hitting, although it is often hard to distinguish them from your foes. Watch their circles. If it starts to turn green, hold your fire. Shooting a friendly costs you health. You encounter boss battles, but the mechanics sadly do not change. You simply have to shoot faster and more frequent.
Health is replenished by shooting little yellow duckies that appear on various perches around the stage. Sometimes they are in the distance, requiring you to risk getting shot by employing the sniper rifle. Small frogs appear from time to time, too. Shooting these frogs rewards you with an RPG launcher that is effective at bringing down choppers and Gekkos.
What undermines MGST is how plainly shallow it is. This is a Metal Gear game in name only. While that is not necessarily to be held entirely against the game, it’s an unavoidable truth. Fans drawn in by the name will be disappointed. Snake playing stand-in at a basic carnival-style shooting gallery completely takes the Metal Gear Solid out of Metal Gear Solid Touch. At no point does it seem like any effort was made to fashion this as a Metal Gear game. Snake is just applied on top of a simple formula that has been done elsewhere on the iPhone. Just drag, tap, drag, tap, pinch, tap. It’s very repetitive and after six or so stages, no longer engaging.
The version of the game for sale on the App Store today contains only 12 levels, which can be breezed through in approximately an hour. (More are on the way in a free update.) At least the enemies are in different positions every time you attempt a mission, which adds some semblance of replay to the game. Konami also includes an in-game store where you can trade in points earned by playing for wallpapers of Metal Gear art. That is a nice bit of added value.
Metal gear Solid Touch was reviewed with version 1.0.
Metal Gear Solid Touch will be a real disappointment for both hardcore and casual fans. Despite the appearance of characters, settings, and weapons from the Metal Gear universe, this is not a Metal Gear game. It’s a simple shooting gallery. But at least it’s a good-looking simple shooting gallery with awesome music. Perhaps the later stages might get a little more Metal Gear-y, but right now, it’s hard to recommend this lackluster shooter.
Metal Gear Solid Touch really isn’t too shabby, but it simply fails to be Metal Gear. It’s essentially a light gun game, and it’s a simple one at that. The game looks great, using some slick sprites in game, with each level couched between some sharp screenshots from Metal Gear Solid 4 to helping to explain the story. The controls are very intuitive and smartly designed. You’ll never be faced with an issue of wrestling with controls. The only issue is that this game is shockingly shallow. Simply move a cursor over an enemy and shoot. That’s it. I was expecting something more along the lines of Solid Snake’s last mobile entry, but this is very basic.