CAPCOM has successfully brought gamers back to the early 90s with a fresh yet familiar new chapter in the Street Fighter franchise-Street Fighter IV Volt. Oh, and they’ve done it all on iOS, developing an action-packed fighting environment that goes wherever you go (yes, it’s available for iPad too). This button-, er, screen-mashing dose of nostalgia brings old-fashioned, 3-round fighting to the online, multiplayer, mobile world. And guess what? It does it without tampering with the tried-and-true gameplay we all know and love.
For those familiar with fighting games, this release is nothing new. Controls consist of a virtual joystick on the bottom left corner of the screen and 4 buttons on the bottom right. The buttons are labeled with letters that correspond to their functions, like “P” for “punch” and “K” for “kick”. Additional features of the fight screen are the health meters, power-up bars, and the clock. The object is to attack opponents with punches, kicks and special powers (unique to each character) until either their health bar or the timer runs out. That signifies the end of the round, and the first player to win 2 rounds wins the match. Classic, story-based gameplay takes players around the Street Fighter world, battling a number of opponents until fighting the classic final boss, M. Bison. There are “play ’til you die” survival modes and an online multiplayer mode, to help kick things up a notch. But the central game is basically just a string of fights that increase in difficulty.
When I first launched this app, I was a bit concerned. The graphics looked a little questionable and the action was choppy. But, as I moved into my first fight, the game roped me in. I started with my favorite SF character Ryu. The basic control premise is simple, and I remember it well. But I found the touch screen a bit unresponsive to rapid moves, although I’m probably just used to mashing at arcade buttons. One huge upgrade is the option for extreme attacks, which make themselves available once you’ve been hit a certain number of times in a row. This allows for you to “get back on your feet,” literally and figuratively-dishing out a powerful, somewhat unblockable move. Each character has their own and the animations are excellent.
The real drawback to this game is its ability to hold my interest. I found that playing fight after fight (after fight, after fight) became tiresome and dry. But, I’m not sure rich storylines are what CAPCOM is (or ever was) after. I think for quick, pass-the-time moments of on-the-go gaming, SFIV: Volt serves an effective purpose. But if you’re looking for more, well, look elsewhere.