Total Recall is in theaters and to go with it is an officially-licensed game by Jump Games. It’s a pretty straightforward on-rails shooter that follows in the footsteps of the sci-fi remake. You play through 11 levels, each one unraveling a bit more of the story with comic book-style vignettes sandwiched between each one. Every stage is peppered with power-ups acquired with quick taps between firefights and hosts a bunch of different challenges to complete. Accomplishing each one grants coins which you can use to buy new gear, though you can skip the hard work and just pay with in-app purchases to accelerate progress.
Graphics and audio
The graphics are clean (if simple) and faithful to the movie, but the animations are stiff and repetitive. The menu UI is bare-bones, though functional. Between each level are comic strips that over time piece together the story of the movie, but they feel awfully low quality considering there are plenty of assets from the show they could just use. How about an official YouTube clip showing where we are in the movie?
The music is pretty good, but loops quickly and in a pretty obvious way. Besides gunfire, there isn’t much in the way of sound effects, which is really too bad; some voice acting from Colin Farrell would have gone a long way to legitimize the licensing here, even if the sound bytes were just pulled from the movie.
Gameplay and controls
The game employs a pretty traditional control scheme. Since you don’t have to worry about moving, swiping around the main area moves your crosshairs to enemies, while buttons on the left side allow you to fire, reload, and switch weapons. A button in the bottom-left lets players duck behind cover when things get a little too intense (though you can still get winged). Up in the top-left are buttons for consumable medkits and damage power-ups. Even with sensitivity cranked up to the very maximum, I found it hard to react quickly to enemies popping out from behind cover. Gyroscope-based aiming would have helped out a whole bunch.
The gameplay doesn’t really break any barriers, and mostly leans on the Total Recall IP for its appeal. If you loved the movie the game will grip you, but looking at the Rotten Tomatoes reviews, I’m going to guess diehard fans are few and far between.
Progression is linear, with a bit of replay value in each stage for those that want to get all of the challenges complete. Considering the scripted nature of the encounters, it can get very easy to remember where the bad guys pop out after a few replays. Most of your progress is marked by upgrading your weapons, through there are also in-app purchases employed if you want to get the good stuff. Pushing IAPs in paid apps always makes me a little sour, and it's clear that they're gearing for more with placeholders for 6 more levels and two other fantasy categories.
- Established IP
- Plain, predictable action
- Stiff animation
Total Recall is woefully underwhelming for a game based on a big budget movie. All the Android game bothers to leverage from the property is the logo, rough storyline, and the bare minimum of artistic assets. The gameplay is slow enough that it doesn’t do anything to attract people into seeing the movie, and double-dipping with in-app purchases on top of the $0.99 pricetag lacks tact. All in all, the quality of the game matches the quality of the movie.