I have to be honest, I never knew Microsoft along with 343 Industries and Vanguard Games had released a Halo top-down shooter back in 2013 on Windows and their mobile platforms. Even more of a surprise to me is learning that not only is that game on Apple devices, but the sequel as well. So here we are with Halo: Spartan Assault on iOS, which despite the touchy controls is a pretty fun arcade take on the popular franchise.
The setting takes place between Halo 3 and Halo 4 and follows two spartans named Commander Sarah Palmer and Spartan Davis. The two soon find themselves under attack by some rogue Covenant members that have broken the cease-fire treaty made after the events of Halo 3 (sounds very similar to the recently made Halo: Nightfall webseries). It’s up to you to guide our spartan heroes through some twin-stick shooter action missions to put a stop to the Covenant while having some mobile fun doing so.
While I love having big franchise games come to iOS devices such as some of the Grand Theft Auto games, etc, I’m always skeptical of the touchscreen controls. Luckily the controls here aren’t too bad, but they do take awhile to get used to. With your thumbs placed on the bottom sides of the screen, the left side controls movement while the right controls the aiming of your weapon. Things generally work out well, until you want/need to do precise things such as fine tune your aim by slowly moving your right thumb then making a sharp movement of it to fire your weapon. You can tap on your character to active a power-up specific to the character you’re using, and single tapping the screen uses your melee attack and double tapping at a location of your choosing will toss a grenade there. There’s also some weapon and grenade tabs to the right that allow you to swap between the various ones you come across (just about every major weapon/grenade from the game series is here).
Despite the touchy controls, there’s plenty of fun to be had blowing away the baddies as you fight your way through the missions. Adding to the fun are some sweet power-ups you can get such as mega shields, a cloaking device, speed boosts and more to help out. If that wasn’t enough, even the infamous vehicles from the games show up here to be used, such as the warthog, Covenant ships, etc. The graphics and sounds are also pretty good here, though your character is a bit on the small side. I guess it’s due to the developers wanting to place a lot of action and enemies on the screen when need be. While the console port of this game had multiplayer, this version does not. It may be a deal breaker to some, but most who play will be too busy having fun with the 25+ missions to care.
Halo: Spartan Assault may not be the best way to experience this legendary franchise, but for what it is, an arcade-like take on the series, it actually works out pretty well. The touchy controls will take some getting used to, but once you’ve passed that and get in the zone, this is sure to be one of your favorite ways to pass some time on your iOS device.