Games for devices such as PalmOS and Windows Mobile PDA’s have typically gotten much less attention than those for consoles and handhelds by big names such as Sony and Nintendo. What that has meant is that it is harder for game producers to get their games into the hands of those who might enjoy them: so-called ‘hardcore’ gamers would know about the games but be typically looking for a more serious and involved experience, while the more ‘casual’ gamer would be less likely to visit the online stores to get the games. The Apple iPhone changed that with the tight integration of the iTunes App Store into the already familiar iTunes Store for music and video.
Another thing that has been a problem for PDA games is price – take a game such as Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, which was recently released for the Nintendo DS as an greatly expanded version for $30. When it was released for Windows Mobile in 2006, it also cost $30 – which was the same price as the Palm version from 2005 and the GBA version from 2002, all of which were pretty much identical. Certainly smaller games and things like puzzles have been priced lower, but I have always found the value proposition for PDA games difficult. Once again, the iTunes model has set a new standard – everything $10 or less. That pretty much sets a standard for all PDA games – if you are going to cost more than $10 you better offer a pretty significant value. It also provides a new set of standards – we can look at the iTunes App Store and make some assessments about what a $10, $5 and $2 game look like.
Hot Pursuit is a new mystery adventure / puzzle game from eSoft Interactive that challenges you to use your knowledge and problem-solving skills to solve crimes quickly and efficiently.
- * A different kind of mystery-puzzle gaming!
- * Travel over 42 countries right on the palm of your hand!
- * Includes tons of geographical trivias
- * Cool sound effects and music
- * Save/Load your game anytime/anywhere
- * Online score ranking!
- * FREE lifetime updates!
The premise of Hot Pursuit is fairly simple. You are given a scenario and a starting point and need to follow the clues presented to get enough facts to issue an arrest warrant and then use the warrant to catch the criminal. Oh, and it all needs to be done in a set amount of time.
Gameplay is point and click based on a simple and intuitive interface: along the bottom are icons for traveling the world (Globe), investigating the current location (Magnifying Glass) and managing status (Printer). The current location and weather are shown at the top right of the screen, and the rest of the screen varies according to context. When you are traveling you get a world map with various pins associated with potential travel locations. When you first start a mission you get your notification in the form of a ‘News Flash’. The status screen provides you the ability to view the mission details screen again, view your player stats and medals, and gather information towards making an arrest.
But the majority of the game is spent on the investigation screen. Here you get a nice visual of the city you are visiting along with three places to visit. Each of these places allows you to question someone about potential suspects. If you have located a city of interest the people you question will give you clues about locating the next city and possibly one of the critical clues you need to make an arrest. If you have not located a city of interest the prople you question will have nothing of interest to report. In that case you’ll need to return to the previous city and check your facts and choose another destination, losing precious time along the way.
On the warrant screen you gather the information needed to arrest the suspect – you need to know their gender, hair, vehicle type, an identifying feature and and an identifying item. Once you have all of these clues, you issue a warrant and hop on the trail of the suspect. You still need to catch them before time expires, but you are generally within one or two cities of their location.
Once you solve a crime, there is nothing to do but keep solving them – as advertised there are plenty of locations, and loads of trivia and facts you’ll need to cope with to find the criminals. As you continue to solve crimes you gain medals and can track your stats online.
Technically the game is very well executed – load times are fairly short, the graphics are nicely done, the sounds are simple but fun, and the interface is intuitive and well thought out. The touchscreen is precise and very responsive, and you will never experience a slowdown of any type.
I played most of the game nestled on the couch with my family, and it was a load of fun. We would each guess what the clues meant and make sure none of the critical items were missed. Each of us knew things about some countries that others didn’t know, which helped us make our way through missions pretty quickly. However, after about a half-hour I noticed my wife and one of my sons drifting away, and even my other son was pretty much ‘done’. I had played before, and have played since, and the game is loads of fun in short bursts.
That brings me to a bit of a quandary: I enjoy the game, would recommend others to give it a shot, but don’t think it is a great value for $9.99. As I said, I believe that the iTunes App Store model has changed everything for this sort of game. If this game was ported to the iPhone (please, oh please do this!), I would recommend it be priced at $4.99 as that is a solid price point based on the gameplay and replayability. So I see this game as a fun game, but not a great value. Of course, since you can download a demo, it is easy enough to make that value judgment for yourself!
Check out a gameplay demo on YouTube
Where to Buy: eSoft Interactive
What I Like:
- Excellent interface
- Simple gameplay
- Learn and use real facts
- Downloadable demo
What Needs Improvement:
- Price too high for amount of gameplay