When you’re reviewing a video game, one quick and easy way of describing its intrinsic appeal is to make a lazy comparison with another well-known title.
As loath as we are to stick to convention here at Pocket Gamer, there’s really only one way to summarise Vertigo Rogue: Grand Theft Auto in the sky.
Instead of being stuck behind the wheel of cars and boats, you’re at the control stick of a gun-toting chopper, dashing around a massive metropolis performing a wide variety of missions for your criminal boss.Puppet on a string
As always, you’re merely a good guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The day before you’re due to leave prison and reunite with your beloved daughter, your devious cellmate executes a daring escape and informs you that his men on the outside have kidnapped your daughter.
Using your affection for your kid as a means to keep you in his control, this nefarious fellow then sends you out into the big city on errands – usually involving the destruction of his enemies.
Flying a helicopter isn’t an easy task at the best of times, and the control system in Vertigo Rogue takes getting used to.
It’s a twin-stick setup that relies on different stick positions for various directional movements. For example, both sticks instruct your craft to move forward, while pushing both sticks back naturally gives the opposite result.Control confusion
Turning is a little trickier. To spin left you have to drop the left stick down and move the right stick up. Ascending and descending are performed by pushing the sticks apart and bringing them together, respectively.
While it’s not a new control scheme and has been used in other games over the years, it never gives you the precision you need, especially when you’re trying to align your jittery cross-hair with a fast-moving target on the ground.
Additional weapons make the job a little easier. Laser-guided rockets track targets, which means you don’t have to worry about being accurate. But for most of the game you’re sure to rely on your sniper rifle and machine gun, both of which are incredibly difficult to handle when you’re drifting erratically several hundred feet above your prey.
To get a better shot your only option is to drop down closer to your victim, but this then causes other problems. The viewpoint is so tight that it becomes impossible to judge the location of nearby buildings and when you consider that many of your enemies are willing to return fire, navigating your chopper becomes a real headache.Chop and change
It’s a crying shame because these control woes blight what is otherwise an achievement. The visuals are tremendous with massive buildings (boasting reflective glass and other embellishments), plenty of traffic, and other eye-catching details.
There’s even a 3D mode, and while it’s not quite as convincing as you might expect, it’s nice to see such a feature making its way onto the iPhone. You naturally need a pair of 3D glasses to take advantage of this element, of course.
If you have the endurance to persevere with the awkward interface then Vertigo Rogue may offer you some satisfaction, but the sad fact remains that this is a brilliant game unfairly held back by crippling control troubles.