SXPD ($2) from Little Chicken Game Company is being billed as “the world’s first true game-comic book hybrid.” Featuring a full 42 page comic book with six chapters, the game was created by noted developer David Perry, who’s known for his design of games like Earthworm Jim and Wild 9. The game features art from DC Comics artist Duke Mighten. As a part of OneBigGame’s initiative, net proceeds of the game will go to charity. SXPD is an iPad-only game.
One would think the story in SXPD should be more important than most iOS games — it is a game-comic book hybrid, after all. The game is set in the 52nd state of America — New Royale, which is privately owned by a billionaire. We’re not told what became the 51st state. You’re a member of an all-female police force, trying to prevent apocalyptic events from happening within the state. It may not be the greatest story ever told, but it’s certainly enough to suck you in. We wished the comic sections were a bit longer, actually.
Mighten’s art in SXPD — dark and brutal, with a red, black, and white color scheme — will remind some of Frank Miller’s Sin City. Gamers might find it very reminiscent of MadWorld for Wii. It’s got a great look. The graphics will attract many to this game, and the animation, though limited, is superb.
The game itself is a fast-moving 3D shooter — you zip around on a machine gun-wielding motorcycle, gunning down enemies. You can pick up nitro boosts and missiles, but each level is about shooting those moving targets. Gameplay-wise, there’s not much more to it than that. It can be fun after a while, but there are a number of initial issues. The first thing you’ll notice is how sensitive the controls are. It’s very hard to make tight turns without crashing into something nearby. Even after some practice with the controls, quick turns remain tricky. An option for control sensitivity would be welcome.
Upon crashing — and you will crash plenty — you lose a bit of health, respawn, and get back up to speed almost instantly. This will cause a number of quick crashes, especially at first. It’s best to steer away from obstacles right away. Another problem comes while chasing enemies. Due to the game design and targeting system, it will sometimes look as if you’re right behind someone, but no, they’re actually far away, behind a building or in a different part of a tunnel. Again, this often causes crashes.
A tutorial and time trials are included within the game to add some extra features, but the meat of SXPD is pretty repetitive. If you take the time necessary to get accustomed to the controls, you might find yourself having fun. We’re giving SXPD a limited recommendation — it should garner interest from comic fans and gamers who tend to enjoy fast-paced shooters. We love the concept, and with some improved controls and more variety in its gameplay, SXPD could have been a very good game. Note: The complete title found within the app description is “SXPD: Episode 1, The Rookie,” leading us to believe more chapters will surface in the future.
iLounge Rating: B-