Stranded: Mysteries of Time [rating: 3.5/5]
An Enjoyable RPG let down by it’s flawed controls!
It seems that not a week goes by without Glu releasing a game to the App Store and their latest release is Stranded: Mysteries of Time an adventure RPG in a land of mysterious and more importantly dinosaurs!
You play Dr Alex Howells on his adventures to protect mankind and the adventure takes place on a remote research island which is full of mysteries, puzzles and adventure through not only the present day but also the past and the future. You get thrown into the action as soon as the game starts but without wanting to give anything away not everything is as it seems. And that premise can be kept for the whole game as it twists and turns.
The game uses a top down view and the graphics look good in a retro type way. There is a lot of color and detail going on including flocks of prehistoric and tropical birds flying over head. An additional nice feature is the way that time works through the application with equal time spent at night as well as day. This can be seen via the gauge at the top of the screen along with your other controls.
Your inventory and other items are available via your back-pack which is accessible via the button at the top of the screen. From here you can access your active tasks, which items you have found and a map of your location. While your inventory and item list prove useful, if not essential the map is not. It is very simplistic and doesn’t help you navigate your tasks either making it pretty useless.
The story and conversations are all text based and while it’s entertaining enough I often found myself skipping through much of it to move the game along a little faster. The story moves along at a sedate pace and with the majority of your time spent searching for dinosaur eggs and plant seeds action is rather leisurely. RPG players looking for action and battles should probably look elsewhere, you do get to smash open a lot of crates by kicking them though!
You first couple of tasks will help you learn how the game works, what you need to do and how to interact with people. There are a lot of people around too, it appears that the remote research island is a very popular place. While you can interact with most of the scientists and security guards only a few of them are pertinent to the story line.
The major issue with this game though are the controls. The method is pretty standard for these types of games, a virtual d-pad and an action button. The problem is the implementation of the d-pad which controls your walking and running. The further you move your finger or thumb from the centre of the d-pad you will change from walking to running. However because of this if you move your finger in any direction too far you will slip off of the d-pad and your character will stop whatever he was doing and stand still. At times this can be annoying, at other times it can be a lot more serious! I hope that this can be adjusted in a future update as it puts a severe dent in the enjoyment level of this game.
Stranded: Mysteries of Time is a relaxed paced RPG and while it won’t be to everyone’s tastes for those who can get past the frustrating control system they should find themselves entertained for a couple of hours at least which at $2.99 is not too bad.
- Good looking detailed environments
- Relaxing paced storyline
The Not So Good
- Control method leaves you standing!
- Map doesn’t help with direction
Price: $2.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Released: Apr 15, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0.1
1.0.1 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 9.3 MB
Seller: Glu Games Inc
© 2009 Glu Mobile, Inc.
Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.