'Brothers in Arms' Gives Hope For Console-Style Games On iPhone

There are no buttons on the iPhone*. That should stop most console-style games from working on the device, despite power comparable to the PSP.

That didn't stop Gameloft from bringing the "Brothers in Arms" series to Apple's handheld, however, and I have good news to report: it actually works.

I booted "Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes" with low expectations. The game promised dual analog controls on a device with no analog sticks.

No way, I said! Yet, it works. Here's how:

*When we say iPhone, we also mean iPod Touch, unless noted.

The iPhone "Brothers in Arms" moves the perspective to third person, a viewpoint found in the console "Brothers in Arms" when you line up against cover. The aiming has been simplified -- you need only hover the reticule somewhat near an enemy and auto-aim takes cares of the rest -- but character movement has been kept intact.

Because the iPhone's screen is multi-touch, Gameloft has included a way to move and aim at the same time. With one finger, you look around the environment. Movement is a little trickier. In the bottom-left-hand side, there's a small circle simulating an analog stick. By moving your thumb ever so slightly, it's possible to run 'n gun, thanks to the game's auto-aim. By all expectations, it shouldn't work.

But it does, and it works extremely well. By the end of the tutorial, I was zipping around the war zone without trouble. Despite Gameloft's inventive use of the touch screen, however, they can't get around the downsides that come with it. You will constantly be blocking what's in front of you with your finger. Once you become accustomed to the auto-aim, it's not such a big deal.

It's ambitious that Gameloft attempted to re-create the authentic "Brothers in Arms" on the iPhone with as few compromises as possible. While not a perfect port, many of the hiccups seem rooted in the limitations of the device to support this style of play. For what it is, though, "Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes" is a step in the right direction for big, bold 3D games on the iPhone.

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