Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Stargate SG-1: Unleashed was available in the App Store. I was surprised because I hadn’t even known that the game was so far along in development. I had read about a Stargate game coming from Arkalis Interactive (the developers behind the other officially licensed Stargate iOS app: Stargate Command), but didn’t realize it was ready for release.
Stargate SG-1: Unleashed is an episodic adventure game for iPad and iPhone that lets you play as the cast of the hit TV show. The big four actors have returned to voice their characters, though sadly, they’re the only ones (Don S. Davis passed away shortly after the series ended). The game also appears to use the same level design as the Stargate Command app, which was incredibly accurate. However, I’ve spent very little time in the SGC since starting the game, so it’s hard to say how detailed it actually is. But enough about fan service, let’s get to the good stuff.
If you were a fan of the Stargate series, then you know the basics. The Go’auld are evil parasites. They take control of human hosts and make them do bad things. They use their advanced technology to demand worship as gods and they generally do lots of really bad things. SG-1 works to stop them. It seems like every week, something that threatens Earth is discovered and SG-1 has to work to save us all. Except in the summer. Summers always seemed so boring.
Anyway, a Go’auld that had been sleeping for 1000 years was set free and SG-1 are trying to stop her. The gameplay is similar to other adventure games on iOS. Movement is handled with a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the screen. Moving a finger around on the right side turns the camera. Tapping on certain objects will let you interact with them. The dialogue is very well-written, though the delivery suffers a bit, due to the storytelling format. It’s not awful, but it’s obvious that the actors are not recording their lines in the same room together. That said, Jack still has some excellent one-liners.
Speaking of dialogue, whenever you enter into a conversation with someone, you have options on how you can respond. Usually, your choices only determine the order in which you get your story information. Other times, certain responses are included for humorous effect. Some conversations can be had more than once, letting you try all the combinations, but many are one-time only, so you can find something new on a subsequent playthrough.
There is also a battle mechanic in which your character takes cover behind an object and pops up to shoot at targets. You can select different weapons and enemies have differing amounts of health. It’s very simple compared to many of today’s iOS shooters, but still quite fun and occasionally challenging.
Unfortunately, it’s not all Tau’ri and Chappa’ai: there are some missteps along the way. When moving around the game world, the camera can be frustrating. It has a strange momentum to it when you swipe your finger that can make it irritating to point it in just the right direction. It also doesn’t move on its own, so if you want to change direction, you’ve got to turn the character with the thumbstick and swipe the screen around to see where you’re going. It’s not an uncommon control scheme on iOS, but with the janky camera movement, it can be very frustrating at times. Thankfully, it isn’t an issue during key gameplay sections (with one exception so far, during the tutorial).
The game is episodic, with three chapters currently planned. It seems likely that each will cost a fiver, so you can expect to shell out fifteen clams to see how the entire story plays out. But, when you consider what you’re getting, it’s well worth the money. We may never get another Stargate SG-1 “movie”, and my dream of another series dies a little more every day, but the world is still alive to some and they want to keep it alive for us, as well.
I highly recommend any fans of the series or the genre give it a go. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts. Ral’tora’kee!