Game Reviews

Exiles

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Exiles
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"Is she drunk?" I wondered, as the Enforcer fired yet another missile a good six feet to the left of the snarling alien that was rapidly descending on our position.

The beautifully rendered sun glinted overhead, illuminating each and every one of the sand worm's fangs as I wrestled with the controls to line up the next shot - the last in fact before we ran out of ammo. It fired into the dunes. I may have face palmed. I definitely swore.

Turning tail, we made a hasty retreat to our only option remaining: the teleporter lying 200m to the right.

Unfortunately, instead of finding ourselves in a new part of the planet the game loaded in a vast expanse of, well, nothing, punctuated by the occasional lens flare from a non-existent sun. The Enforcer promptly belly-flopped and died.

This is Exiles - a game buggier than a bed bug bugging out on a dune buggy.

One small step for man, a giant leap for a megalomaniac

The core concept, however, is an intriguing one. It's the year 2375 and humanity has left Earth behind to populate a vast network of planets across the galaxy.

Alas, over on Aurora 9, it's less songs-round-the-campfire and more sobs-round-the-funeral-pyre as the colony is driven to isolation and desolation by a corrupt governor.

Sat in a shadowy office, he's bent on enslaving the population with a lethal virus. As one of the Planet's Elite Enforcers, he's infected you with the disease too - the jerk.

Played out in stunning 3D graphics, you must now race against the clock to explore this distant world and unravel the secrets behind the governor's nefarious plot.

As we've come to expect from Crescent Moon, Exiles is a delightfully huge RPG, offering a planet-sized smorgasbord of caves, cities, spaceships, and deserts for you to explore.

This is the studio behind Ravensword: Shadowlands, and its experience in creating rich worlds and stories on mobile shines in every pithy one-liner and well-crafted NPC.

The console-quality 3D graphics are illustrated perfectly in the brand new day / night circle. At midday, the sun hangs overhead creating the sort of lens flare that would make JJ Abrams cry joyful tears. At night, the sky is lit up with thousands of stars so perfect, you could gaze at them forever.

Which is just as well, because you'll be spending a lot of time running around underneath those heavens. The primary campaign is fairly short – just a few hours – but you'll rack up the most time just getting from point A to point B.

It's not uncommon to get distracted by an intruiging side mission, run out of fuel, and spend the next half an hour hot-footing it across the 3km of desert separating you and your primary quest.

Call in the bug spray

Still, the time spent travelling wouldn't be so bad if the control system wasn't so glitchy. The left hand side of the screen handles character movement, while the right tilts the camera, aims weapons, and houses three buttons that become your main attacks in combat.

Trouble is, an annoying glitch means that whenever you put your finger on the left hand side of the, your character automatically leaps forward a good metre or so. If you're trying to reposition your character sideways behind cover, that can be fatal.

The aiming system is similarly difficult, with the imprecise controls meaning it's almost impossible to lock on to a target. It means "spray and pray" becomes the strategy of choice; buttering toast is a more tactical affair.

At its core, Exiles is a stunning world to get lost in. The vistas are some of the best we've seen on Android and the plot, though short, is compelling.

With a generous sprinkle of patch updates, this could be one of the best mobile RPGs out there - just a little bit of extra spit and polish could buff it up from bronze to silver.

Exiles

Exiles boasts some of the most beautiful graphics on Android right now, but an abundance of glitches lifts you out of what could be an immersive RPG experience
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