There can be few better game development case studies than Call Of Duty: Strike Team, for no iOS game has been so effective in simultaneously demonstrating what works on a touchscreen format and what doesn’t. It is, as we’ve come to expect from Call Of Duty, two games in one, but instead of a brief, bombastic campaign paired with a broad, involving multiplayer, it’s a firstperson shooter that also allows you to control the action from a top-down tactical overview.
No prizes for guessing which is functionally superior. As a shooter, Strike Team lacks the spectacle and excitement on which the brand has built its name, its movement and aiming nowhere near as intuitive or responsive as physical controls. Aiming and firing concurrently is impossible with a single digit, so enemies will helpfully remain still as you line up a headshot, while tapping the far left and right of the screen snaps your sights to the nearest terror suspect. It’s at once overpowered for static foes and next to useless for those on the move.
Yet Strike Team is a moderately engaging RTS, with intuitive controls allowing you to flank and suppress with surprising ease. It is, however, fatally compromised by the need to function from both perspectives: the AI could generously be described as inconsistent, and you’ll be dragged back down to earth whenever it’s time to man the turrets. When directing death from above, Strike Team offers a glimpse at what might have been, but when it’s time to go loud, the whole thing collapses as limply as the enemies you’ve dropped.