Lost Planet: Trag Zero. Filling players in on the events preceding those found in its Xbox 360 counterpart, Lost Planet: Trag Zero does a so-so job complementing the quick and satisfying action found in its big brother. It's hardly the worst game in the world, but it does someting that -- at times -- seems almost worse: it's just mediocre. The visuals are simple, the story is forgettable, and the gameplay is sometimes tedious. It winds up being one of those "Go here and shoot whatever's in your way" sort of games, which isn't necessarily a bad aspirarion for an action game, but unlike what's found on the console, it lacks that kinetic energy and sense of urgency that makes the 360 version so much fun. (We are not comparing the mechanics, controls, or visuals of mobile game to the Xbox 360 game by any means. We're strictly discussing the level of engaging or compelling play.)
Though the visuals are simple, the environments manage to do a fair job conveying the bleak world that the game is set in. They're not gorgeous by any means, but they do manage to keep from disappointing the eye, with an icy tundras giving way to dark interiors. On the other hand, the character models are disappointing. Gale resembles an old Commodore sprite, moving slowly across the various backdrops, battling monsters that look either like jellyfish, pillbugs or grasshoppers. Due to their relatively tiny stature, your opponents are not as intimidating as Capcom likely hoped.
The game mechanics consist of running around the map, finding items to help clear your path, while killing any monster in sight. Combat consists of spraying bullets into various creatures simply by holding down a button. An auto-aim picks up a lot of the slack. The biggest problem is the ridiculously slow pacing. Rather than having an agile protagonist, Gale slowly strolls across the various maps, making it hard to keep things interesting. Another issue is that you have to choose between defending yourself while remaining stationary, or move about the screen to evade enemies, doing away with your ability to return fire. After playing a shooter as dynamic as Mafia Wars Yakuza, rolling back to this kind of run-and-gun play is difficult.
Between the sluggish speed and the inability to run while defending yourself, you'll find yourself dying more than once. To its credit, Lost Planet uses a decent health system, where you draw on your energy to replenish lost vitality. The energy that you have stored is gathered when you kill an Akrid, as they drop little pills that can be converted into energy, allowing you to have what is essentially a second life bar that can be recharged with every kill you get.
When you die, you have to start over from the beginning of a given level; No lives, no saves. As some of the levels can take a while to complete (due to Gale's dawdling mosey), you'll find yourself getting more irritated than you should; if the pace was a bit faster, things might have been easier to deal with. With a game like this, one would expect that you might be able to get a handful of lives with continues, in the vein of the Sonics and Mario Bros. of the world, but instead, we have something that is fairly infuriating. Ah well, c'est la vie.