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.