Gamers, expect to have your head buried in your Nokia Lumia smartphone for the foreseeable future as Halo: Spartan Assault comes exclusively to Windows Phone 8.
Since 2001, the Halo franchise has been entertaining gamers all over the world, selling tens of millions of copies of the series.
While that means there are some hard-core Halo gamers out there, Halo: Spartan Assault has been developed by 343 industries, in conjunction with Vanguard Games, to appeal to both fans and newcomers alike.
Typically, Halo is played through the eyes of the protagonist with nothing but the surroundings, the enemies and your gun-wielding hands in sight. However, Halo: Spartan Assault gives a new top-down view, providing you with even more visibility of the world around you as you battle your way through hordes of aliens.
“There’s no question that the FPS (first person shooter) view works, as people have been playing them for years. However, due to smaller screens on tablets or mobile phones, we wanted to make the most out of that real estate by letting the gamer see as much of the environment as possible. The new playing view in Halo: Spartan Assault does exactly that, while still giving the player the feeling of being in the heart of the battle.” explains Dan Ayoub, 343 Executive Producer for Halo Publishing.
“And that’s also why we created a new Halo game, rather than just porting over an existing one; it made sense to create something fresh and new.”
The storyline in this new game is set somewhere in-between Halo 3 and Halo 4 where you’ll experience a new war with the Covenant, and play as either Commander Sara Palmer or Spartan Davis.
Halo: Spartan Assault provides what is called a pick-up-and-play experience, thanks to the unique fusion of touch and console-like controls.
“We created a new adaptive control system that is incredibly easy to use. Sometimes when you’re playing a game with on-screen joysticks your thumbs begin to wander around the screen without you even realising, and before you know it, you’re fumbling for the controls at a vital part in the game and you’re too late to react. It can be hugely frustrating as a player. Our control joysticks move around the screen as you do, keeping you in the game.” describes Dan.
As with any Xbox game, players will have the chance to collect more than 40 in-game Achievements and add to their gamerscore.
While Halo: Spartan Assault is a single-player game, there will be weekly challenges to keep the content new and fresh. Then there’s the in-app purchase system that’ll encourage you to upgrade your weapons or armour to take the battle to the next level.
Owners of Halo 4 will also receive some rewards when playing this new game. There’s XP to earn, as well as new Achievements and emblems to unlock for your Halo 4 Spartan career. Additional integration features will also be available following the launch.
Dan shares with us what one of those extra features will be:
“At the moment you control your player using the on-screen joysticks if you’re using a touchscreen device, or a mouse and keyboard if you’re using a conventional PC. Over the next couple of months we’re going to add support so that you can connect your Xbox controller via the USB port, for those gamers playing on a PC or tablet, to give you an even more console like experience.”
With the gaming experience covering both Windows 8 devices, such as PCs and tablets, and also Windows Phone 8 smartphones, such as the Nokia Lumia 925 or the newly announced Nokia Lumia 1020, you can pause gameplay on one and continue it on another.
“We recognised that gamers don’t always have the time to sit at a PC or console to play their games. Sometimes the only spare time you may have is when you’re sitting on the train, or during a lunch break. This way of playing helps gamers to enjoy the things they love to do when sometimes it’s just not possible.”
“You’ll see more games from us arrive with this feature, and it’s also something other games developers can include, too.”
Dan provided us with some concept art that the team designed during the creation of the game, which you’ll find scattered below. Click through for the high-res images.
Halo: Spartan Assault has been available to download from the end of last week and it’s already receiving rave reviews.
Giving it five stars, gamer Shane left this review:
“This is THE game to own if you have a Windows 8 phone. It is absolutely amazing so far. The touch controls are awesome! They nailed it.”
Sean also gave it five stars:
“Great game, just what I wanted to see out of this game. Awesome support between Windows 8 and phone.”
As did Vien:
“Awesome game for being mobile! Runs smooth on my Lumia 928 and the controls were thought out perfectly!”
In related news, Comic Book Resources recently announced that Dark Horse will release the Halo: Initiation miniseries. This comic series details the origin of Sarah Palmer, launching in August – available for pre-order now.
Additionally, Steven Spielberg will be the executive producer of an upcoming Halo TV series.
Halo: Spartan Assault is available worldwide today for all Windows Phone 8 smartphones with 1GB RAM and costs $6.99. However, if you’re in the U.S., Verizon Wireless customers have an exclusive period until August 16 – then it’s available to others.
Are you ready for some Halo-goodness?