Back in May, a very interesting game was released for the iPad called SXPD: Extreme Pursuit Force [$1.99]. It aimed to blend digital comics with high-speed racing gameplay, and did so fairly successfully. It featured 6 chapters of comic storyline created by renowned comic artist Duke Mighten, with the combat-heavy racing portions being created by industry vet David Perry. The only problem was that SXPD was created for the iPad only, and that somewhat limited its audience. That all changes today though with a new update adding Universal support to SXPD. The initial download of the game has also been changed to free, and this seems to be a permanent change which offers the first chapter of the game for free with the 5 additional chapters unlocked permanently through a 99¢ IAP.

Going the free to try route is definitely a good thing for SXPD, as it allows a much broader audience to check out the game, as does its new Universal support. This is great for someone like me who games much more heavily on my iPhone, but I do have a pretty big gripe. As mentioned the game was originally designed for the iPad, and it doesn't look like a whole lot of thought has gone into how best to transition the game to the smaller iPhone and iPod touch screens.

The comic cutscenes have literally just been shrunken down, retaining their same aspect ratio as on the iPad which means black borders on the iPhone screen. And actually I'm fine with that part, the black borders I mean, as I wouldn't expect them to redraw all that stuff for an iPhone screen. But the text… my lord, it is tiny on an iPhone. Too tiny. I really wish it would zoom in on each section of each comic page individually or something, rather than presenting the whole thing at once. That works on the large iPad screen, but not so much on the iPhone.

Tiny text aside, all iPhone and iPod touch gamers should definitely try out the newly-free download of SXPD just for the racing portions alone. If you find the text is too tiny to follow along with the story, well, c'est la vie, but it's a shame as I think the whole premise of the game is very interesting. The racing is fun too, though, and you should have no problem determining if SXPD will be for you based on the portion of the game that's given to you for free. I'm happy more iOS device owners can now check out such a neat game, but I'm hoping the developers of SXPD refine their Universal support in future updates so it's more friendly to us smaller-screen gamers.

Update: As helpfully pointed out in the comments below, you CAN double tap to zoom in on the comic panels when playing on iPhone. It doesn't zoom in a whole lot, and the text is still a bit hard to read, but it definitely helps.

  • tomas sala

    You can now zoom, by double tapping on a comic panel, guess that wasn't clearly enough explained ;(

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Thanks for pointing that out. It wasn't clearly explained, and I actually did try all manner of tapping to see if it zoomed in, but I guess I wasn't doing it right. Even zoomed in it's still tough to read text, but it's definitely better! I've added an update to the post to reflect that.

      • tomas sala

        Thanks,, we had a lot of trouble, because we couldn't ask Duke Mighten to redraw to widescreen,, (it took over a year to draw the first 42 pages).. And 4K resolution images wasn't practical for iphone 4 (for which we took care to deliver a proper version)..

        So we went with the simplest convention, double tap to zoom. We'd have preffered to use higher res images to zoom in even more, but sadly it was unpractical for a true universal app (from iphone4 gen onwards.

        There's also some settings for control sensitivity and switching to touch controls instead of tilt;)

  • ImJPaul

    Hey cool. This looks gnarlyyyyy

  • porsupah

    How does this affect owners of the original, paid version, with the complete storyline included?

    • tomas sala

      It should detect a previously premium version on first load, and then unlock the all the previously purchased features.

      One warning this feature is not possible in the older IOS versions.. If you have IOS 7 this should work without problem, if it doesn't unlock automatically use the redeem button.

      • porsupah

        Ah, thank you! That's very good to hear. I'll see how that detection fares in the white waters of iOS 8b5. ^_^

  • Intendro

    In my experience, an app that was a full version changing to an IAP for full version means people who bought it already do not have the IAP... so...