Hijinks Reviews: Command & Conquer Red Alert for iPad

Red AlertPublisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
Cost: $12.99  [iTunes Link]
Release date: April 1st, 2010
Version Reviewed: 1.00

Let’s jump right in, is it worth $12.99 you ask? Good question. I really have mixed feelings about its price point, though I suppose when you consider that I paid more than $13 for almost every game in the Command & Conquer series for the PC it seems a little more reasonable. That said, unless you’re a die hard Red Alert fan and someone who finds these types of campaigns engaging, you might want to hold out for a lower price. This isn’t a bad game, but as in introduction to the series it’s not that impressive, and it really could use an update to fix some serious bugs.

When I first heard Red Alert was coming to the iPad I was pretty excited, I’d downloaded the Lite version for the iPhone in the past, but didn’t buy the full version because of screen size issues. So I figured the iPad would be a perfect platform for an RTS game like RA, and I still think that’s true, but EA needs to get their act together before someone else comes out with a better RTS for the iPad. The controls in this game are sloppy at best, unit highlighting isn’t precise, selecting buildings often results in accidentally selling them (how hard is it to add a “Are you sure you want to sell this building?” dialog?), and the build interface in general could use some tweaking.

Other than using a touchscreen interface, the game hasn’t changed much from its PC counterpart. Your goal is still to destroy everything in sight, all while managing the mundane tasks of generating enough money and energy to keep everything running smoothly. Graphics are nice, but not awe inspiringly so, and they suffer from the occasional stuttering problem when there’s a lot of action going on.

Red Alert for iPadThe game includes a decent amount of playable content, as with previous versions of the RA this one features three unique factions each with its own campaign, all of which are fairly solid and fun to play (but not much for replay value), and the skirmish matches are quite entertaining for some pick-up-and-play gaming. But I think the big draw is going to be the multiplayer, that is if  EA fixes it.

Let me expand a bit. My initial thought was, “this is gonna be friggin’ sweet”… However my enthusiasm waned during the subsequent 20 minute battle that ensued when trying to get a game started without it crashing. Based off my experience, if you want to get a game started without it crashing you should just stick to the default values. Even after getting a game started I also encountered numerous crashes at random points during gameplay, which is quite frustrating, as it disconnects both users instead of allowing you to rejoin the game. Another complaint is one that I’ve voiced in the past about almost every multiplayer game for the iPad, where’s the internet gameplay and larger maps for more than 2 players? Seriously, I have more than one friend who owns an iPad, maybe we’d all like to play at once in a local game or better yet in an online match.

To summarize, decent game but it needs some polish to be a great game, definitely pick it up if you see it drop below $10, otherwise consider your purchase carefully. And if they roll out online multiplayer gaming this will jump straight to a must have title for the iPad.

Published by

Aaron Nelsen

is the webmaster and senior technology editor. He's a career geek, coffee enthusiast, Apple fanboy, and accomplished barista pimp.

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