Back to the Future Ep 2 HD proves that developer Telltale Games has a knack for creating charming adventures, even if it still has much to learn about designing games for iPad.
This second episode takes a step forward from the pilot with better scenarios, easier puzzles, and an expanded cast of likeable characters.
Yet it's an unexpected step back in terms of audio and visual performance on a first-generation iPad. Numerous technical issues dominate the experience, cutting into this well-written game's charm.The good news
Picking up right where the inaugural episode left off, Back to the Future Ep 2 HD sees Marty and Doc hurrying back to the present day. Unfortunately, events have evolved unexpectedly and Marty's grandfather has been killed, putting Marty's existence in jeopardy.
The only way to save Marty is to save his grandfather in the past, and so back in time you go.
In true adventure gaming form, rescuing gramps means solving a variety of puzzles and chatting up the townsfolk. The puzzles are simpler in this second episode, more often focusing on word games and easily understood interactions with the surrounding environment than obtuse item combinations.
Conversations are snappier, too, although since the game builds on an earlier episode it's only to be expected that the characters and dialogue flow more smoothly as a result of development in the first episode.
It's a good thing, too, because this follow-up is more entertaining when it comes to story and scenarios.The bad news
Unchanged from the previous instalment is the unlikable control scheme that has you sliding a finger anywhere on the screen to move Marty via a virtual analogue stick. Adding a tap-to-move configuration would be great - which shouldn't be difficult - as an option at the very least.
It's easy enough putting up with the controls, but the technical issues are what really bite into the game's appeal. Right from the start, it runs slowly - quite literally from the start, as in the title screen animation is choppy.
On a first-generation iPad, the graphics stutter at an inexcusable rate. There are other issues, too: blurry icons, odd camera angles, and other unpolished features that make this iPad port feel half-hearted.
Telltale Games needs to get its act together and start giving its iOS ports as much attention as its PC and console releases. A game with these production values shouldn't be marred by easily fixed technical issues.
In spite of the unavoidable and highly annoying technical issues, Back to the Future Ep 2 HD manages to entertain.
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 3 HD - Citizen Brown. [Buy it.]
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 4 HD - Double Visions. [Buy it.]
Read our review of Back to the Future Ep 5 HD - Outatime. [Buy it.]