Chopper 2 [rating: 4/5]
Chopper was, and by all accounts still is, a big hit on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; selling in numbers in excess of 350,000 copies. It was also well received critically, and more importantly by players. Chopper 2 is more of the same, but with a little more meat to the environment graphics and some pretty cool control and output features..
In essence Chopper 2 is a side scrolling shooter, with a little bit of rescue and some annoying birds thrown in for good measure (the new zombies in games apparently), and it’s all set against some quite pretty renderings of some fun and interesting locations..
I only learned this week that Chopper was originally a Mac game long before it was an iOS app. And with the advent of the Mac App Store David Frampton, the developer behind the game, has pushed out an OS X version of Chopper 2 as one of the first games available via Apple’s new OS X software distribution solution.
We checked it out to see if the game translates back from iOS, accelerometers and a touch screen to it’s original roots.. the desktop!
With Chopper 2 David Frampton took a while longer than he first intended to get his sequel to market, and the polish on the environments, whilst still fairly basic, shows. There is a lot more depth to the landscapes we scroll through, and although the majority of the trees are 2D, buildings are pseudo 3D and there is liberal use of fog and environmental effects to make the whole thing look very pleasing; especially against the backdrops of mountains and neon city sky-scapes. Parallax and judicious use of fog effects give us a really enjoyable feeling of movement through the game worlds which also feature a very pleasing and immersive draw depth.
Chopper 2 on the Mac is basically the same game you can buy for any iOS device, but upscaled to desktop screen size. A maximum of 2560×1600 pixels is possible. And the graphics do the game justice, even though for a desktop game those graphics are on the simple side these days.
In total there are 12 kinds of locations, from canyons through desert scenes, cityscapes and more pastoral country areas with mountain backdrops. And the game boasts 36 missions, and a 17 minute soundtrack. More than enough to keep you entertained.
Missions vary, but include straight destruction levels, defence missions, and search and rescue opportunities, among other entertaining scenarios. The whole thing starts out with only a training mission being available, which you unlock to progress onwards from. So you don’t have to worry about being thrown in at the deep end right off the bat. At each level progression you are presented with a set of floating instructions about your mission, which hover over the game environment. It is a very striking effect on a mobile device. I liked it a lot. And it’s ok, but not quite as impressive for some reason on the desktop version.
Gameplay is more of the same from Chopper, beefed up a little as you’d expect for a sequel. Missiles, bombs and explosions are all rendered and animated to good effect. And the enemy tanks and soldiers are presented clearly, with some nice overlays to enhance their visibility. Sometimes though I wanted a bit more complexity than just the sideways scrolling gives and the landscape hints at, but that’s just me. Having said that though, Chopper 2 is not a cake walk. The game offers a challenge to the player which is a lot of fun – and can get quite frenetic from time to time.
In Chopper 2 you meet quite a few different types of enemies: Troops, tanks, anti-aircraft emplacements, and depending on the mission at hand, you are armed with a variety of weapons; guided missiles, cannons and bombs.
The real question is does it work as well with a keyboard and mouse as it does on the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Yes, and no. It’s playable, but some of the magic is gone, in my opinion, when you play it without an accelerometer, or particularly without a gyroscope.
Also, Mobile games, for better or worse, are considerably more simple than games we expect to see on our desktop. And I would have liked to have seen a little more effort and depth put into the OS X version. Had it been I would have happily paid more to play it. To be completely fair it is not an expensive game. So it is still good value, it’s just that I wish David had “gone for it” a bit more.
As it stands playing Chopper 2 on a Mac can be kind of like playing it on an iPad or a computer. You can either use the mouse and keyboard which are OK, or use your iPhone as a remote control. The latter feature being something that hitherto has only been possible with an iPhone and an iPad. If you don’t have an iPad then perhaps that is a good reason to get Chopper 2 for your Mac; because you can then experience what all the lucky people with an iPad and an iPhone have. Ultimately Chopper 2 is much more fun when you use a device with some kind of motion device, it simply works better.
Right now Chopper 2 on the Mac App Store is 99 cents for a limited “launch sale” period. It does have a bug which stops you being able to remote control the game from an iOS device – that all important killer feature that sets it apart from a lot of other cheap bite sized games. But that is easily solved by logging all the users on your Mac out of MobileMe, and a fix is promised to be forthcoming very soon.
For a dollar or two, if you don’t have it for iOS, then it’s worth getting. If you already have it for iOS and it’s on your iPhone or iPod Touch then you might want to buy it again so you can play using your iOS device as a remote control. That would certainly be cheaper than buying an iPad!
But if you are expecting a new version of the game with more features and more depth than the iOS version the you will be disappointed.
- Remote Control system is a nice feature for iPhone / iPod Touch owners.
- It’s a good value for money game, which plays well and is fun.
- It still feels a little 2D at times.
- Bombs are quite hard to target effectively.
- It’s cheap, which is a good thing, because it’s not really a desktop title in terms of features.
$0.99 (View in Mac App Store)
Updated: Jan 13, 2011
Current Version: 1.2.1
Size: 152 MB
Seller: David Frampton
© 2010 Majic Jungle Software
Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later