Street Fighter IV: VoltPlatform: iPhone/iPod
Recently Capcom provided me with their latest Street Fighter iOS title, Street Fighter IV: Volt. Capcom has always iterated on its Street Fighter franchise, and the iOS platform is no exception. The big feature of Volt is online multiplayer!
Previously I reviewed Street Fighter IV, and the main gameplay hasn't changed much. Check out my review to get the gist of the game. If you don't feel like jumping to that review, allow me to give you the quick recap: It's great. Street Fighter IV is one of the best games on iOS. It looks and feels like the console and arcade versions but is slightly simplified. SF4 uses an on-screen virtual joystick and buttons that can be moved or made transparent for maximum comfort. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous with 3D models and 2D backgrounds, and the music and sound are what you love and expect from Street Fighter.
So, what's new? For the most part, online multiplayer! The previous incarnation had Bluetooth multiplayer that worked well, but now you can play over Wi-Fi (not 3G). This works pretty well, but occasionally there is a bit of stuttering from the lag. Luckily it's usually fine. I had some problems with people disconnecting presumably to prevent a loss on their record, but this is a hard problem to tackle. You can choose to play either ranked matches or friendly matches, and you can, of course, play against your Game Center friends.
Volt also introduces the Wandering Warrior mode. In this area of the game, you create an avatar to fight automatically against your opponents' avatars. You earn BP by winning against opponents and then can use that BP to train your avatar. Wandering Warrior reminds of those keychain virtual pets that could fight each other back in 90s. While clearly not the focus of Volt, I enjoyed Wandering Warrior and thought it was a great addition.
Of course, Volt features Arcade mode for solo play, but it also introduces Survival and Challenge. In Survival, you fight opponent after opponent endlessly without returning to full health between battles. Luckily you do gain a little health after each victory, but you'll still need to play defensively if you want to survive long. I'm a big fan of survival modes, so I was very pleased to see it present in Volt. Even with online multiplayer, I suspect Survival is where I'll be spending the most time!
Challenge trains you to perform combos correctly. It's very useful, and I should definitely have spent more time with it. Let me give you an example of some of the challenges. Chun-Li's first and easiest challenge is to perform Crouching Light Kick (down + kick), Crouching Light Kick, and finally Hyakuretsukyaku (kick repeatedly). Her eighth and much more difficult challenge is to perform Hazanshu (quarter-circle back, kick), Crouching Light Kick, Hyakuretsukyaku, and lastly Senretsukyaku (back-charge, right, left-right, kick). Clearly it gets much more challenging as one would expect from Challenge mode.
Street Fighter IV was already an amazing iOS game, and Volt just adds to that. At $6.99, it's currently only $2.00 more than the original Street Fighter IV at $4.99, which definitely makes Volt the best choice. I do have to wonder though why online multiplayer couldn't have been added to SF4 as an update. Regardless, if you already own the original, it simply comes down to whether you want to pay the asking price to play online. If you're a competitive player or if you just like some human interaction, it's worth it, but if you play mostly for the single player, you might not want to upgrade. That said, if you don't already own Street Fighter IV on your iOS device, I think you should ignore the original even if you only like playing solo and jump straight to Volt. Street Fighter IV: Volt is the best fighting experience on iOS and can be purchased on the App Store!