E3 2012: The Act hands-on
The Act is a game back from the dead. Originally released in 2007 as a coin-op arcade game, it lasted only a year before its developer abruptly shut down. Then in March, Chillingo announced that they were bringing it to the iPhone and iPad.
Not that you’d know it. The Act looks and feels like a brand new title conceived for touchscreen devices with innovative controls and beautiful graphics.
An interactive comedy, it follows hospital window cleaner Edgar as he tries to win over nurse Sylvia. The story is split into different scenes, in which you control Edgar’s emotions. The best example of this is in a bar scene in the E3 demo.
Edgar stands on the left of the screen, resting against a low wall in a restaurant, while Sylvia sits at the bar on the right of the screen. The objective for this scene is to get Sylvia to dance and to do this, you swipe left and right to adjust how timid or bold Edgar is.
Swipe left and he’ll go back to ignoring Sylvia, his eyes avoiding her. Swipe far right and he’ll jump in to kiss her, almost pushing her off her bar stool. Both will of course see him fail. To be successful, you have to increase the interest he shows very gradually and do so in time with when Sylvia turns around to look at him.
Progressing through the different levels of interest and the animations they produce can be tricky for the first time, as there are so many different stances and it’s easy to be overconfident too soon. Get it right though and it’s like directing your own Disney movie. The whole game uses hand-drawn visuals which look stunning in motion.
You won’t have to wait long to see The Act for yourself; it’s out on the App Store at the end of the month. The developers were reluctant to show off too much of the story in the demo, but from the brief time I had with it, it seems like a refreshingly unique game that’ll be ideally suited to the platform it’s on.