Review: Max Payne Slightly Misses the Mark On iPad/iPhone (iOS)

Rockstar’s revived classic will fill you with angst…but not from the in-game content.

A long time ago, before Rockstar Games got heavily involved with its Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises, there was Max Payne, an Xbox/PC release that really shook things up both emotionally and with its action.  The story, focusing on a cop who loses his family and goes all out to destroy enemies that get in his way, is one of the better ones in the last decade of gaming, really digging deep on the rage boiling inside him – to the point he needs painkillers just to get through each battle.  After a decade, Rockstar has opted to bring the game to the iOS front, for both newer iPad and iPhone devices.  And while it’s quite the technical achievement, clumsy controls will leave you raging in a slightly different way.

With Max, you’ll have a pair of pistols, along with other weapons, over the course of the game.  Each mission requires you to take down all sorts of thugs, and the best way to do it is by activating bullet time.  Here, everything slows down, and you can literally dive into a room, just like those crazy cops in Hot Fuzz, shooting with utmost accuracy (with auto-aim turned on, preferably) and landing without taking a scratch.  Bullet time is Max’s most effective tool, though his guns do a moderately good amount of damage as well.

From a technical standpoint, Rockstar Games is to be commended for the work they did porting this game to the iOS devices.  The frame rate runs pretty smoothly, even for a decade old game, and though there are very slight model issues, it doesn’t get in the way of the bloody, beefed-up action.  Max himself still looks like he’s in good shape, despite his dire situation.  The level designs are pretty stellar too.  Likewise, the audio has its moments, with great dialogue and occasional music interludes that fit with the action.