The next episode from Telltale’s Back to The Future series is upon us, which means iPad game reviewers will be once again left struggling to find something to write.
There’s plenty to talk about - technical issues, a clunky touch interface, excellent voice acting, and a strong script - but the problem is that all these points were true of the last episode.
Indeed, you won’t need a time travelling DeLorean to feel like you’ve read this all before. Because you have - literally, I wrote these exact same words for my review of Ep 3.
But if you’ve been on the Back to the Future journey these past few months, the negatives shouldn’t dissuade you from finishing this ultimately entertaining story.Back to the present
Any review of an episodic series runs the risk of having massive spoilers - especially when each episode is only a few hours long - so forgive my vagueness in the following paragraphs. It’s for your own good.
Picking up from where the last episode left off, Ep 5 starts with Marty waking once again in the 1930s to find Edna back up to her old tricks and the future Doc trying to actively destroy the past Doc’s scientific endeavours. It’s basically one big mess that needs a-sorting.
So back you go to the Science exhibit to ensure Emmett gets banned for the next 50 years, find out Edna’s dark secret, and hopefully restore the present to the way it was before all this mess started.Back to the past
The pacing of this episode is generally excellent, with a good feeling of time ticking down as you solve the various puzzles inside the exhibition, thanks to Trixie slowly going through each exhibitor in turn (with Emmett Brown being the last).
As a demonstration of how involved I was with the story this time around, my iPad 2 actually ran out of juice halfway through, thanks to me constantly ignoring the low battery warnings to see what would happen next.
The puzzles themselves are slightly less obtuse than the previous episode's, and are more in line with Eps 2 and 3 in difficulty.
Which is to say they won’t be challenge puzzle veterans, but casual gamers here for the franchise and fun characters should find them engaging without being too frustrating.
The sliding door puzzle early into the episode is a little bit boring, rather than hard, but this is the only part that sticks out like a sore thumb.
It’s also worth noting that the final episode finally does away with the shopping list structure for puzzles, and the story feels tighter and more linear as a result.Back to the Future
Looking back at the series as whole, technical issues aside, Back to the Future has been a strong series for Telltale.
The plot has occasionally spluttered - most significantly during the first episode and a stretch in the fourth - but overall the writing has been tight and fans of the films should come away pleased.
In the future it would be nice if the constantly annoying technical issues that plague the iPad 1 version were sorted out, but the plot and humour go a long way to making them bearable.
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 1 HD - It's About Time. [Buy it.]
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 2 HD - Get Tannen. [Buy it.]
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 3 HD - Citizen Brown. [Buy it.]
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 4 HD - Double Visions. [Buy it.]