The Year is 2552. Murder aliens for the good of the human species in Halo: Spartan Strike, where you don’t play as Master Chief but you will be fellow a Spartan soldier uncovering the details of events in the Halo story-line previously shrouded in some degree of mystery. Thirty missions are faced as back-story is given to the Halo franchise and that same beloved twin-stick shooter gameplay from Halo: Spartan Assault is brought to an even higher quality level. Tom Salta who did the soundtrack for Halo 2: Anniversary is back again to provide a moving score that feels great while gaming, and graphically the title has been taken to a new level as well. While you can get the game from Windows Store on your Windows 8 Phone, Windows 8 PC, or the Apple Appstore on iPhone / iPad, many people enjoy playing through Steam on Windows 7 still and Microsoft chose not to leave us behind thankfully. The game is fully available on its own for just $5.99 or with the original game it sequels for $9.99 as a two-game bundle.

In addition to Achievements there are also Assault Ops to accomplish which are goals that correspond with the statistics of your actions in battle. This can be very fun and rewarding and speed-running or just trying your best in missions does enhance the feel of the game. The classic pistol damage has been cranked up a bit. One shot kills on most enemies can now be possible with the pistol allowing players to get crazy kill-streaks that have that old halo feel to them, but you need to be skilled enough to pull this off. That isn’t as hard as you might expect because of a bit of Aim Assist being added into the picture.

Yes, a tiny amount of aim assist being thrown in to the game and although it requires players to be aiming almost in the exact right spot to begin with it can be annoying at times when a kill is completed then your aim gets thrown off because the aim assist was correcting the angle of fire and you didn’t know it at the time. This cannot be turned off which is a bit of a downer overall, but luckily it’s not too heavy of an Aim Assist to make me want to stop playing. There are a lot of improvements to the game including subtle touches to the user interface which make it more useful and better looking, but also bigger changes such as the way the story flows with missions, the graphical quality and gameplay design being at a higher level, and the surplus of weapon choices adding to tactical decisions mid-battle really make this game worth the extra investment of money and time over just playing the original and stopping there.

One way that replay value is extended is by rating your performance from each match. You can spend money on using different gear to go into battle with versus the original layout designated for that particular mission, but this can add to the challenge rather than help you out at times. There’s also a skull system to add difficulty to the game for higher experience payouts at the end. It would have been nice if some sort of endless survival mode could be designed since I really feel that these spin-offs have a huge potential for that, and then the replay value would be even higher. However, the game as it is has a lot to offer and I think it’s great how many full-size Halo features were crunched into this smaller experience. It’s great being able to pick up and play in short bursts something that feels so fun and true to the Halo franchise.

A couple issues that I did find slightly annoying but not game-breaking were that alt-tabbing forced the game into a Windowed mode with the wrong resolution for me. This might not be a problem for all users and could entirely be a symptom of my exact software configuration, but it still merits mentioning nonetheless. The game also seems to not recognize my Xbox ONE controller unless I plug it in before booting up the game. As long as your Xbox ONE controller is being recognized though, you can switch between the two inputs at the main menu’s settings screen. At the end of the day these issues are not really a big deal though and the game itself is very addictive and fun with an excellent flow.

Users on the iOS or Windows Phone are reporting that some of the mobile-specific issues with the original title have been very much improved such as touchscreen controls being much more responsive. Players are able to use all-new weapons, such as the Incineration Cannon, Scatter Shot, Binary Rifle, and more. There are also brand new armor abilities including an Airstrike, Proximity Mine, Shock Chain, and more.

Final Verdict:

With so many improvements over the original title, Halo: Spartan Strike takes an already fun formula and makes it even better. The game looks better, feels better with enhanced hit detection and more engaging, longer missions, and gives a lot of new content such as weaponry and enemies to be battled. Even after the title has been beaten the addictive nature of it makes you crave more. While waiting for a third entry to this side-series of Halo players can rack up Assault Ops accomplishments, Steam Achievements, and level up their game through achieving better results, playing against tougher scenarios through skull difficulty modifiers, and afford going out into combat with their favorite weapons for each mission which may actually make the game harder in some cases. Halo: Spartan Strike manages to come off feeling like a full production and could have easily been believable as a $15 game but instead comes in at a nice low cost of $5.99 and surely will satisfy players on Desktop PC (especially if they have a controller) despite the design for Mobile which has also been improved. Halo: Spartan Strike earns a 9.3 out of 10 from RealGamerNewz making it an RGN Gold Rated Game of 2015 and is easily one of our favorite twin-stick shooters of all time.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9.3 / 10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer: Vanguard Games / 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Available On: PC | Windows Phone | iOS

Played On: Windows PC (via Steam)

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150419 and was last modified on 20150419 .