Uncharted on the iPhone? Sign me up!
But wait, where is Nathan Drake and who is this Jason Call guy? Don’t panic, you haven’t stepped through some kind of portal into an alternate universe or something. This is Shadow Guardian from Gameloft, an iPhone game that does it’s best to emulate the popular Uncharted games on the handheld. I’ll be honest with you, the iPhone is not known for it’s ability to pull off decent action adventure games. But that doesn’t stop Shadow Guardian from giving it a damn good try.
The story behind the game revolves around our hero, Jason Call, being tortured by some evil dude. This evil dude, Novik, is after something that is buried deep within Call’s amnesiac mind and the player gets to work their way through a series of flashbacks as the memories come flooding back. For what it’s worth, the story does a good job of tying everything together, even if it is not the most memorable tale ever.
There are two different types of gameplay to be found within Shadow Guardian, platforming and combat. The platforming element will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has played an Uncharted game, or even tried out a bit of tomb raiding. We are talking about leaping to and from precarious ledges, climbing walls and even the odd bit of dangling by fingertips. This is all handled quite well and is enjoyable, but the element of risk seems to be absent for the most part, with the game doing it’s best not to allow the player to put themselves in any danger.
The combat element also does a reasonable job. If the player is able to find cover from which to take their shots, the game does quite well. It is only when the player is trying to move and shoot that things come a little unstuck. However, this is largely due to the limitations of the hardware, rather than any fault of the game itself. However, a decent auto lock-on feature, a nice selection of weapons and plenty of ammo pick-ups go a long way towards making the combat enjoyable, at least most of the time.
The pre-school attitude of the game can be found throughout, not just in the platforming areas. This is likely the games biggest fault, as it ensures that the player knows exactly what to do and when to do it, both when exploring and when solving puzzles, which kind of removes the challenge. Working through the levels and dealing with the various puzzles/encounters was quite enjoyable, but there was a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I was cheating, simply because the game was telling me what to do. As you can imagine, the game is not really that difficult.
But the one thing that Shadow Guardian does to near perfection is the visuals. I see near perfection as there are a few instances where things don’t work as well as they should. But for the most part, the game is gorgeous and shows to good effect what the iPhone is capable of.
Shadow Guardian doesn’t do a bad job of emulating the adventures of Nathan Drake, but falls short at a few rather perilous leaps. This is in part due to the limitations of the iPhone, but Gameloft must shoulder some of the blame, as the constant hand holding really does diminish the level of excitement. That being said, the game is enjoyable, just as long as the expectations are not too high.
Shadow Guardian is available on the App Store for just Â£3.49