iTuesday Review: Back to the Future: The Game Episode 1 for iPad

Back to the Future: The Game is a point and click game (maybe “look and tap” would be a more appropriate term for the iPad) where you control Marty McFly in his newest time traveling adventure. The controls for the game are fairly easy. If at any point you hold your finger on part of the screen, it becomes a joystick so you can control Marty. If you tap on an object, Marty can interact with that object. If you put two fingers on the screen you are able to see what objects you are able to interact with. There’s also a few buttons on top you can tap to use objects, see the story so far, or save the game.

Now, lets dive into the content of the game. The rest of this review may read more like a movie review than a game review, but in many ways this game is similar to an interactive movie. Apparently Doc Brown has decided to disregard everything he said in the 2nd and 3rd movie about time traveling being too dangerous and how the time machine must be destroyed. In fact he’s been time traveling so much that he invented a device on the DeLorean that will send the car to Marty in 1986 if he gets in any trouble, just in case (of course, this does end up happening). I know, I know, we saw the DeLorean get hit by a train at the end of Back to the Future Part III. The game does explain why all of a sudden Doc has a DeLorean again, and honesty it’s a bullshit answer. I’m ok with that though, and here’s why; lets just take a second to examine a few of the key ingredients necessary to make a great Back to the Future game that takes place after the events of the third movie. You need Marty, Doc, it needs to involve time travel, and the DeLorean really needs to be the time travel vehicle. With that being said, it was easy for me to just accept the fact that Doc for some reason has time travel fever and he’s doing it in essentially a clone of the original DeLorean.

The game also contains other key ingredients for a good Back to the Future game. It has a member of the Tanen family, it takes place in Hill Valley, and it has Marty interacting with a member of his family. The bulk of the game takes place in 1931, which is cool for a couple reasons. First, it brings Marty to a point in history that Back to the Future hasn’t explored yet. It also means Marty has to work with a young Emmett Brown to save old Doc Brown.

Young Doc seems a little high strung

The game ignores the entire Back to the Future animated series. So that’s one really positive thing it has going for it. I mean honestly, can we all just pretend the animated series never happened?

The game is full of references to the original trilogy. Here’s an example that wont ruin any of the actual gameplay or plot for anyone; when you tap on a movie poster that has a shark on it, Marty says “Looks like they used a real shark”. This is, of course, a reference to in the 2nd movie when Marty freaks out over holographic Jaws, only to calmly proclaim, “shark still looks fake”. Die hard Back to the Future fans will have tons of fun interacting with the residences of Hill Valley.

The music adds an extra element to the game. It’s true to the trilogy, and I found myself playing the game with the T.V. off because the music added to the experience. I’m not referring to the main Back to the Future theme, in fact I’m not even sure if I can remember the theme appearing in the game. However, there are lots of great parts where instrumental music from the films appear, and it fits the tone of the game great.

Christopher Lloyd voices Doc for the game, which is great. Doc Brown has a very distinct voice and uses certain inflections when saying certain words and it was great to hear the real Doc Brown while playing the game. Micheal J. Fox does not voice Marty.  Even though you can tell right away that it’s not Fox, the actor, AJ LoCascio, does a good job as Marty.

My only real complaint about the game is that it is too short. I feel like when I was just getting into it, the credits starting rolling. The game is available for 6.99 in the App Store, which is not a bad price for the amount of game you get (especially if you love Back to the Future),but just don’t expect a long game. There are four more installments of Back to the Future: The Game still to come, so its not like Marty’s adventure is over yet, but it sucks waiting for the rest of the series to be released. All five episodes are available for the PC for $24.99. I hope when the rest of the episodes are available for iPad they will offer a similar deal. Really you’re only saving like $5.00, but the great thing is you would be able to play the game from beginning to end.

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: iPad (first generation)
Approximate Time to Completion: 3 hours tops
Price Bought at: N/A – review copy furnished by Telltale
Current Price: 6.99
Recommend Purchase Price: 6.99…. but only if you really love Back to the Future.

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