If you've recently popped over to Dealspwn or keep an eye on the Xbox Live Marketplace, you might have noticed a brave little game called Fusion: Genesis. It's an old-school space sim with accessible twin-stick mechanics, but for Windows 7 consumers, it also features some of the cross-platform interactivity we've been holding out for from Microsoft's mobile OS.
Fusion: Sentients is much more than a tie-in. It's a training ground and trading service for your helpful AI partners, the titular sentients, and is pretty good fun in its own right. Think Pokemon meets Mech Commander and you'll be somewhere near the mark.
On the Xbox 360, your Sentients act as AI wingmen: support drones who provide extra firepower and special abilities as they level up throughout the campaign. However, it turns out that your robotic chums are also more than capable of holding their own in ground combat. Each unit is a powerful mech, and they become the stars of the show as combatants in a solid little real time strategy game.
After deploying your units onto an isometric 3D map, you'll boss them around using simple taps and some competent AI pathfinding. Rules of engagement can be doled out from simple context sensitive menus, allowing you to choose exactly how aggressively you want each Sentient to react to enemy bots. Since each of your team has a dedicated combat role - such as durable slow tanks, fragile healers or fearsome DPS hitters - clever placement and use of choke points will win the day.
Unit-specific special skills and the ability to issue orders while pausing the action are neat little flourishes that wouldn't seem out of place in a bigger and more complex game... but Fusion: Sentients is very basic. Objectives only revolve around killing samey formations of enemy units or capturing areas, with small maps that don't offer a much in the way of tactical depth. It's fun in small doses, but be aware that tedium can quickly set in.
The main unique selling point and addictive draw is provided by persistent experience. Your Sentients become more powerful as they log kills and complete missions - and can then be auctioned off to other players for in-game cash or transferred to your Xbox 360 game. Fans of Fusion: Genesis will find this to be a fantastically useful app, but sadly, it lacks the broad appeal necessary to make it a hit on its own merits.
- Solid RTS gameplay
- Slick suctioning and transferring
- Brilliant for Fusion: Genesis fans
- Niche appeal
Summary: Fusion: Sentients has squirrelled itself away into an incredibly tight niche. Fan of Fusion: Genesis who happen to own a Windows 7 Phone should definitely get involved with all due haste... but otherwise, there's little to like here.
Developer: Starfire Studios
Price: £2.29 - Xbox Live Marketplace