iPhone review of the day: Mission Europa – a portable, but gonzo Fallout 3 in space. Really

On iPhone
Mission Europa (standard edition)
Price: $3.99
Size: 171 MB
Get it now on iTunes:US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Yes, I realize the headline of this write-up seems hyperbolic, but Mission Europa’s perfect marriage of an FPS with deep RPG mechanics truly only brings to mind Fallout 3. There isn’t a VATS-like turn-based option for combat, but everything else is there: a wasteland environment, the ability to create your own weapons, and a healthy sense of exploration. Not that Mission Europa is riding any coattails; it’s uniquely the vision of an uncompromising and uncensored creative mind (named Ryan Mitchell) following its muse. And while Mission Europa sometimes sounds a bit like a 1,352-page sci-fi/fantasy magnum opus written by a high school nerd, complete with invented species and their languages, it all makes for heaps of gameplay and a ton of value.

Value is good, because while there’s a standard edition of Mission Europa with a $3.99 price tag, there’s also a $10 collector’s edition, which unlocks much of the game’s content right off the bat. If you grow weary of dungeon-crawling incrementally in outer space, you can hop around to your heart’s content in the deluxe version. Not that it does you much good to hop straight to the end and face down Beelzebub, because he need only sneeze to end you, but, hey, the option is there if you wanna drop some more cash.

Mission Europa is still a precious gem at its more affordable price tag, though not everything about the game is sparkling. On an iPhone, there are simply too many onscreen buttons to make survival through missions feasible. The trigger buttons for weapons are also noticeably slippery – you’ll mean to look around but instead waste precious ammo by unloading it into the harmless ceiling.

Also, in an attempt to compete with console games, Mission Europa is intent on awarding achievements for almost every conceivably minor accomplishment, be it collecting 10 pieces of gold or dying five times. This sort of thing isn’t too uncommon, but it’s annoying to acquire accolades at an inopportune time because they take up the entire screen. Nevertheless, there’s so much to do and experience – be it offline or via multiplayer – that Mission Europa more than lives up to its Fallout 3 influences. Actually, it does it one better, since there are no bugs or crashing problems. Stunning work, especially when you consider it%26rsquo;s all from one man.

Apr 22, 2011

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