The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
This week saw the arrival of one of the best games of the last decade on the iOS platform with 2K’s release of Bioshock ($9.99). That arrival comes with a few caveats, however. For one, the game’s visuals have been heavily downgraded in order to work on mobile devices, and being that it’s a game designed for the physical controls of a gamepad or keyboard/mouse, the virtual touch controls have proven cumbersome for some. Looking past those two main drawbacks, the iOS version of Bioshock is still the same incredible game it was when it originally released back in 2007, and is a landmark release for the iOS platform.
Bioshock is one of those games that relies heavily on its atmosphere and all the little details of the underwater world of Rapture that the game takes place in. Because of that, the downgrade in visuals is definitely a bummer as Rapture just doesn’t have the same “pop" that it does on consoles or PC. The lighting especially is sorely missed, but even on the highest-end iOS devices the game has a grainy, jagged look compared to the original game. It’s an understandable sacrifice given the nature of mobile hardware, but as I mentioned, it’s a bummer. That said, the iOS version of Bioshock still retains all of the major things that make it such an incredible game. The story, the characters, the excellent soundtrack and voice acting. It’s all here, and it’s a marvel seeing it run on a tiny device like the iPhone.
In the end, how you ultimately feel about Bioshock on iOS will be subjective, perhaps more so than any other game on the App Store. Is it the most ideal way to experience a masterpiece like Bioshock? Well, no. Playing it on PC or console with full visuals and hopefully an excellent sound system would be the way to go if possible. However, as someone who played and enjoyed the game on Xbox 360 years ago, I’m having an absolute blast playing through it again on my iPhone. I’ve seen many more people having a similarly enjoyable experience. On the flip side, there’s many out there who feel the visual downgrade ruins the immersion and atmosphere of Bioshock enough that they just can’t enjoy the iOS version. I totally get that, too.
If you can enjoy it for what it is and not focus on what it isn’t, I think Bioshock is a great game to add to your iOS collection. If you’ve never played it before, and have the means to play it on console or PC, I’d suggest doing that over playing it on iOS as your first experience with the game. If you’re intimately familiar with Bioshock already and are just looking for a version to kick back with on the couch or when you’re out and about, the iOS version is still tons of fun. Hopefully this leads to more big developers porting even more big-time games to the iOS platform.