Part of the appeal of games like "Time Crisis" is the ability to use a light-gun, or GunCon in that franchise's case. Instead of taking out enemies using a standard controller, having that plastic gun in your hand affords a more tactile connection to the game, and at least the impression of more natural aim in the first-person view. So, when Namco Bandai released "Time Crisis 2nd Strike" for iOS and Mac last week, it felt as though there should be some accompanying gun peripheral.
Starting today, you can download the iGunCon app for iPhone 4 or iPad 2, which allows you to use the iOS device as a light-gun while "2nd Strike" runs on another device or Mac.
The iGunCon app itself is kind of a cool concept. The peripheral appears on the screen – you can actually choose from any of the GunCon's three generational designs – and tapping on the trigger sets the bullets flying. You can switch between four weapons: handgun, machine gun, shotgun, and grenade launcher. There's even a "pedal" at the bottom of the screen for reloading and popping out of cover. The app is free, and if you want, you can just play with it as a toy.
I'm not satisfied with that, of course, so I just had to download "Time Crisis 2nd Strike" to my MacBook Pro and give it a whirl.
The first thing I'll tell you is this: the keyboard and mouse are far more effective controls than using your iPhone. That's probably not much of a surprise, considering you're using an actual interface as opposed to tilting your iOS device through use of the gyroscope and digital compass. That's not to say the set-up doesn't work; it's strangely enjoyable to blast on-screen enemies with your iPhone, the gun sounds vibrating in your hands. The pedal system actually works really well, and for the most part, it feels like you're playing "Time Crisis" the way it's meant to be played.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't read the gyroscope perfectly for too long. You'll constantly find yourself pushing an on-screen button to reset the crosshairs, which is rather annoying. While I've only played around with the game for about a half hour, the $10 admission price for the Mac app feels a bit steep for such a simple, low-resolution game. While "2nd Strike" is also available for iPhone and iPad for $6.99, the idea of shooting at an iPad or iPhone with another iPhone is fairly absurd.
If you're charmed by the novelty of the concept, it might be worth paying for the game – I don't regret it. Strangely, I think this is one "Time Crisis" game that's actually better with touch controls. Now, if they could just release some goofy, orange, plastic peripheral for me to stick my iPhone into.