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Julius Styles: The International

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, PSP, iPad

Licence to ill

Product: Julius Styles: The International | Developer: Lapland Studio | Publisher: Lapland Studio | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.1
Julius Styles: The International iPhone, thumbnail 1
From James Bond to James Pond, international men of mystery have driven some of the best and worst moments in video game history.

Wesley Snipes is behind Julius Styles: The International, but even the Hollywood actor can’t smooth out the bumps here. To put it bluntly, the game isn’t fun.

Spies Like Us

A hitman for hire, Julius Styles works with powerful and shady people to get information, protect assets, and carry out other dirty work. In this first episode, we catch him reuniting with a few colleagues after a mission goes terribly wrong.

The gameplay is straight adventure, with Styles walking around the isometric 3D screen looking for objects, opening doors, and talking with people.

Tapping an area will move Styles to that square, while tapping a person or object will interact with it. The graphics are fairly detailed, but it definitely has that old skool feel.

Lack of follow-through

Old skool is awesome, but Styles manages to mangle what made the classics great while not contributing anything new.

The first problem is the storyline, which we couldn’t make heads nor tail of. The game begins with Styles talking nebulously about a mission and his associated regrets, before abruptly introducing some characters of uncertain relevance.

The narrative tries to establish tension between the characters without properly explaining who they are or why we should care about them.

The bigger problem is the controls. The game isn’t as responsive as it should be – it’s easy to have Styles move to the wrong position because the screen didn't update in time. In fact, in a handful of areas, you can actually see the game loading as he moves across a threshold. The already slow-paced game feels worse with a sluggish game engine.

There's a lot of tapping and sliding, too, because it isn’t always clear where to go.

In the very first area, you are supposed to follow your loose team into the basement of a museum. The rub is that the closed doors, open doors, basic walls, and full-length paintings all have the same generic look.

We literally were pushing Styles against walls until he finally announced that he's found the stairs. The visuals aren’t ugly, but nor are they well-defined, and wallpaper-like graphics mean that you’ll be doing a lot of blind searching.


The control issue also affects one of the redeeming qualities of Julius Styles: the puzzles. There are lots of little mini-games, from cracking a safe to rewiring electricity. These are nice and challenging, but the controls make some of them more difficult than they have to be.

In one example, you can either do an optional puzzle or quit out of it if you find it too hard. However, the 'quit' button doesn’t actually respond immediately. We found ourselves tapping it for seconds before it let us go. It’s okay for puzzles to be frustrating, but not in that way.

And what’s really sad is that the detailed cut-scenes, international locales, and celebrity backing all get lost because of shoddy gameplay and bad storytelling. We won’t be waiting for the next episode.
Julius Styles: The International
Reviewer photo
Damon Brown | 28 August 2011
This Wesley Snipes-driven adventure manages to be both boring and frustrating
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