Max Payne’s iOS version: Does it work on a touchscreen?

Max Payne's iOS version: Does it work on a touchscreen?

Max Payne’s iOS version: Are touchscreens compatible with twitch-based shooting games? The most accurate word we can use is “nearly.” Because precise movement, aiming, and firing on a touchscreen are little more than a pipe dream, the announcement that Rockstar was going to attempt to bring Max Payne to mobile devices came as a surprise to a lot of people. They have fulfilled their promise, as seen by the debut of Max Payne Mobile on iOS devices earlier today. But I’m curious: have they solved the feared touch screen input problems yet? Another instance of “nearly.”

Are touchscreens compatible with twitch-based shooting games? The most accurate word we can use is “nearly.”

Because precise movement, aiming, and firing on a touchscreen is not much more than a pipe dream, it came as a surprise when Rockstar announced that they were going to attempt to adapt the first Max Payne game to mobile devices. They have fulfilled their promise, as seen by the debut of Max Payne Mobile on iOS devices earlier today. To what extent, though, have they been successful in resolving the dreaded touchscreen input problems? Another instance of “nearly.”

Because they represent the single most significant departure from the PC version of the game, the controls are the single most crucial aspect of Max Payne Mobile. The majority of individuals who played the PC version used a mouse and keyboard. On iOS, the controls are, as one might expect, touch-based; however, Rockstar was astute enough to incorporate a startling amount of customization choices in the game in the hope that players will be able to discover something that is suitable for them.

You have the option in the game of aiming with one of many different auto-lock settings, or you can choose for free look for a gameplay experience that is more authentic. You have complete control over where each input button appears on the screen and can even switch the sticks that control movement and aim. You have the option of adjusting the sensitivity or setting it such that it will leap each time you press the screen. I spent a solid hour trying different settings until I found ones that were suitable for my needs.

The most remarkable feature of the controls is probably the way they recreated the usefulness of the mouse appearance. Other action games on iOS have experimented with digital analog sticks for aiming, but the default setting for Max Payne Mobile is mouse look, which recognizes even the least bit of movement produced by your thumb. This makes it easier to get a precise aim. It’s quite similar to how a mouse can detect even the tiniest movement to the left or right of its position. My experience with the platform has provided me with some of the most precise targetings I’ve ever seen thanks to the implementation.

However, there is an issue with this. Shooting. After all, you are playing as Max Payne, and you will have plenty of opportunities to shoot as he terrorizes New York City. Now picture yourself holding an iPad in your hands. Your right thumb is in charge of targeting, while your left thumb is responsible for all of your movement. So how do you fire? The only option available is to touch the fire button, which requires you to remove your thumb from the aiming button.

The answer that I’ve come up with is as follows: I shifted the fire button so that it is now located on the left side of the screen. Because of this, I am unable to move and shoot at the same time; however, because Max is capable of his characteristic Bullet Time dive, I do not actually need to. I basically dive and use my left thumb to fire as I aim with my right thumb. I have included a screen capture showing how my controls are organized so that you can test it out on your own.

Is it the perfect situation? No. But I have to give respect to Rockstar for allowing me to discover a solution that fit my needs. And until I can find a way to bring support for a mouse and keyboard to the iPad, I’m not sure I could come up with a better solution to the problem.

Regarding the remaining aspects of the game, the transfer is absolutely flawless. Each and every level, each and every ludicrous bit of narration, and each and every corny comic strip have all been painstakingly re-created. Even though the character models and locations employ the same blocky materials from years past, the game appears astonishingly crisp on the new iPad, which I used to try it out.

Max Payne Mobile, on the other hand, has no support for the Game Center, which is something that bothers me. Rockstar has decided to forego Game Center in favor of its own proprietary Social Club, which comes complete with its own collection of accomplishments, stat trackers, and friends list. I don’t begrudge Rockstar for wanting its own service, but I don’t see why not integrating support for Game Center on top of that would be a problem either. Rockstar has never included support for Apple’s Game Center in any of its iOS games, which is rather surprising given the amount of effort that goes into developing their mobile versions. Whatever the explanation may be, this seems like a pretty significant mistake to make.

Aside from that, there isn’t a whole lot else that might be improved upon here. It is a fantastic reproduction of one of the finest action games ever produced, and it provides a wonderful prologue to the release of Max Payne 3 which is scheduled to take place the following month. The fact that you can get a Universal app for only three dollars is the frosting on the cake.

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