SXPD: The Rookie (iPad)

SXPD_BOXSXPD is a unique mix of underground comic book narrative combined with battle and chase style driving.  The game is set in the future, and the 52nd state of America is ruled by a wealthy leader and there is crime and terrorism everywhere.  The law is upheld (in the loosest sense of the word), by an all-female police force called the SXPD.  You play as one of the members of the SXPD in this downloadable game exclusive to iPad, directed by David Perry (creator of Earthworm Jim).

When you start the game, you have to flip through several pages of comics to expose the storyline and setting.  The art is all black and white (and sometimes red), so it really gives it that gritty, underground comic feel to it.  And just like many underground comic books, the plot oftentimes is confusing and doesn’t make any sense.  The artwork is great, but the text is a bit too small for my liking.

Unfortunately, SXPD should’ve just stayed a comic book, because once you get to a certain part in the story, you have to play a driving battle game, similar to titles like Spy Hunter (except Spy Hunter is way better).  Tilt the iPad left and right to steer, and hold down one finger on the screen to fire your machine guns.  If you pick up a nitro boost, place two fingers on the touch screen for a burst of speed.  Nab a missile and lock onto a target, then swipe your finger across the screen to launch it.

This is easier said than done, however, because of the awful play control.  Tilting to steer is either too sensitive or not responsive enough, and the all black-and-white graphics make it hard to see what you should be shooting and avoiding.  I couldn’t even get past the separate tutorial mode.  If you are really good at tilt control driving games, you might fare better than I did.  But I’ve certainly played better games than this.


Kid Factor:

SXPD isn’t rated by the ESRB, but I would imagine it would get a T or M rating.  The storyline and artwork is oftentimes quite dark and violent, but the gameplay is less so and only consists of exploding vehicles.  Younger gamers would get frustrated at the difficult controls anyway, so it’s best suited for older gamers.

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