Set in an alternate Victorian steampunk era, The Order: 1886 bundles werewolves, Jack the Ripper and Arthurian legend in with a load of wood-handled, high-tech gadgets and empire-era mock-futuristic weaponry.
Unfortunately, your role is barely more than that of slack-jawed bystander, the game frequently reducing your input to pressing a button when a prompt appears onscreen. At other times you’ll wander along rigidly defined corridors, side turnings blocked by scenery, or groups of conveniently immobile passers-by. There’s a robotic artificiality about the game that isn’t helped by pockets of third-person shooting in which your hero hunches behind pieces of scenery, popping out to take pot-shots at baddies until the music goes back to normal and you can move on to the next beautifully rendered but strangely lifeless encounter.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
IronFall: Invasion, Nintendo 3DS
In the past, the only way to make a shooting game really work on the Nintendo 3DS was to use the Circle Pad Pro, a peripheral that adds a second analogue stick to let you aim your gun. IronFall: Invasion relies on the same technique but also lets owners of the newer models of 3DS use its tiny C-stick to aim their weapons. Shoehorning a Gears Of War-style third-person shooter on to a device that normally contents itself with puzzle games and adventures seems, initially, to just about work. Yet, despite its outward appearance of functionality, the playing experience is uniformly terrible, the C-stick proving incapable of the subtlety of movement needed to aim accurately. Lumbering enemies move slowly enough to make up for this shortcoming, but multiplayer mode is a random mess of getting shot repeatedly by unseen malefactors.
The Detail: Episode 1 - Where The Dead Lie, iOS
Steeped in gritty police procedural-style comic-book noir, The Detail is a drama about cops and gangsters. Starting off as a detective whose best days are behind him, you meet an informant being dragged back into a life of crime, a smug, too-slick internal affairs officer and a parade of other hoary old stereotypes. The action is framed as a point-and-click adventure, getting you to touch hotspots on the screen to investigate crime scenes and choose between a few simple options during conversations. The iPad’s touch screen lends itself to such old-school adventuring, and The Detail applies it nicely to methodical police work. However, the game is let down by characters who barely qualify as ciphers and a script that’s better at conjuring atmosphere than making you care about the walking cliches you meet.
Rival Games, £4.79
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010