Metal Gear Solid: Touch sure looks a lot like the other games in the console series, and you may be excited to peer over Old Snake's shoulder and gun down his adversaries from Metal Gear Solid 4. But MGS Touch is still a bit of a letdown. Despite Konami's best efforts, this game lacks some of the magic of the Metal Gear series and would best be left out of the canon.
Metal Gear Solid: Touch runs through some of the big set piece battles from the first half or so of Metal Gear Solid 4. The console game's fantastically intricate story and stellar cutscenes--two of the MGS4's main selling points for aficionados of the series--are glossed over with quick text summaries before each of the game's missions. And the game doesn't offer any new revelations to fill in gaps in the canon or augment Metal Gear's story arc. It's a rehash, and the plot makes even less sense in this Cliffs Notes-style abridged version than it did with full cutscenes and voice acting.
You'll probably want to skip right through this stuff to get to the shooting, and fortunately, the shooting itself isn't bad. Snake has two main guns--an assault rifle for short-to-midrange shooting and a sniper rifle for long-range targets. You switch between the two by pinching the screen, and this setup works well. However, unlike many other shooting gallery games, you must physically move your crosshairs around with your finger instead of just tapping on your target. This ultimately ends up requiring a little more skillful marksmanship on your part.
On the other hand, there's no need to reload, and taking cover from enemy fire is easy--just take your finger off the screen and Snake will lie low to avoid getting hit while his health gradually refills. Certain baddies can knock down your cover and leave you exposed, so you have to kill them fast. Occasionally, a little yellow rubber ducky appears to grant you a health refill when shot. There's also a green frog that gives you a one-shot rocket launcher and a stealth suit for temporary invincibility.
MGS Touch has about a half-dozen types of enemies, not including the big boss fights, as well as friendly militia that you're supposed to avoid shooting. There are basic soldiers that are easy to dispatch with a headshot, as well as armored mercs, gigantic Gekko units, attack choppers, and more.
Enemies have a circular action meter that fills up as they get ready to shoot at you. The best defense is a good offense, so it's a good idea to cap them early. Timing and cover become much more important later in the game because more enemies appear onscreen at once and become tougher to kill.
Even with about 20 levels total, MGS Touch is a fairly short ride. The game unlocks a survival mode where you don't heal between missions, and you can keep playing to earn points to spend on wallpapers or better your score, but that may not be enough to maintain your interest.
At least Metal Gear Solid: Touch looks good. The war-torn backgrounds are taken right out of the console game, and the graphics are very detailed, if a bit stiff looking. There's not much animation, so at times, the game may seem like less of a sophisticated console game and more like a carnival game with a static cardboard backdrop, like Whack-a-Mole. The sound effects and music are good, too, though you'll really miss the excellent voice acting from the original Metal Gear Solid 4.
Metal Gear Solid: Touch is a high-quality game, and you may enjoy playing it for a short while. However, it lacks replay value and has little to do with Metal Gear as far as gameplay is concerned (there's no stealth gameplay, for instance). It also doesn't offer any new plot material, so Metal Gear fans are unlikely to appreciate the story. In the end, the game could've made more use of the Metal Gear name and story, but it's still a decent shooter for what you get.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.