iPhone game Surveillant offers a simple, smart approach to platform gaming

Feb 3, 2011
Games

Security-camera footage isn’t high-tech video. It’s usually black and white, and the background detail isn’t high def. Surveillant, a game where you try to avoid being caught by a security camera, fits that ethos perfectly. It’s a sparse game. The first-person view provided ensures you never see your character, and the backgrounds and platforms you […]

Security-camera footage isn’t high-tech video. It’s usually black and white, and the background detail isn’t high def. Surveillant, a game where you try to avoid being caught by a security camera, fits that ethos perfectly.

It’s a sparse game. The first-person view provided ensures you never see your character, and the backgrounds and platforms you jump on as you attempt to evade the watchful camera eye are as plain as they come.

This lack of visual detail doesn’t mean there’s a lack of attention to detail, though. Far from it, as Surveillant is a cool, old school game that packs quite a challenge in its quaint little space. Part of that challenge is because of a learning curve that can feel a bit severe. It’s not easy to get used to tapping various platforms to note that you want to stand on them, as if you were playing a point-and-click game in real time, or to tilt your iPhone to look around, rather than tap a digital D-pad that would look this way or that way.

But once you’re used to the controls, the levels are quite cleverly designed to make you fetch things from all around the screen, almost guaranteeing you’ll have to make at least one smart move to avoid the eye of the camera.

The old school appeal and lackluster visuals might ultimately work against Surveillant, which would be a bit of a shame. It might not be the prettiest girl at the dance, but it has some moves if you get to know it. The only question is whether you want to accept the kind of challenge the classics used to be known for.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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