Over the weekend I purchased and downloaded XCOM Enemy Unknown for my iPad. As I’ve already mentioned I’ve been enjoying some quality gaming on the little device since picking it up a couple of weeks ago, with Hearthstone and FTL taking up most of my attention.
I then came across XCOM on the App Store and instantly remembered how much I enjoyed it on the PC when it came out. I’d forgotten that it had come out for iOS as when it was initially released I figured it wouldn’t be that great playing it on a small iPhone screen. The iPad though, now that could work. Next thing I know, I’ve got it downloading.
The listing on the App Store made it crystal clear that this was a very ‘big’ game for the iPad, so all other apps must be closed so that the processor and RAM can give it’s complete undivided attention to XCOM. When I first booted the game up I was greeted with a little notice, saying I should consider rebooting my iPad before playing. Prffftt, I thought, it’ll work fine.
It didn’t. As the first mission almost finished loading it crashed back to the home screen. 3 to 4 attempts later and I came to realise they were kidding that it was a very intensive game for the iPad. So I went and restarted the iPad at last and then booted the game…
Success! It worked! They were right!
After enjoying the first mission at long last I thought I’d have a look online to see if I could find any advice off the internet of a way to play the game without restarting my iPad every time. Turns out you can’t, it’s a known bug. The comments on the App Store (which I didn’t read before buying) were full of people complaining about the amount of crashing.
Now, I could email Apple and demand my cash back. I know it would probably work better on an iPad 4, or even the Mini 2, but the game’s listing says it works on the Mini…so surely I’d be within my rights to get a refund. The thing is though, even though I’ve only managed one mission so far, it reminded me of how much I enjoyed playing it first time round, and you know what, crashing aside, it’s a brilliant port of XCOM. OK so the graphics have dipped a little, to be expected, but from what I’ve seen so far everything else has remained intact and the touch controls work perfectly. So I’m going to put up with the crashing. Who knows, it may eventually stop crashing thanks to future updates.
XCOM shows that the iPad can (sort of) handle full-blown ports of popular console and PC titles, albeit with some difficulties it would seem. I hope this doesn’t put off other developers from bringing console ports to iOS.