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Hands on with TNA Impact! for iPhone and iPad

Wrestling is one of those guilty pleasures that everybody denies enjoying, like daytime soap operas or Britain’s Got Talent.

Few openly admit it, but the numbers of enthusiastic fans clearly show that wrestling is adored for its bone-headed action and cheesy out-of-the-ring drama.

It’s exactly the stuff that TNA Impact! delivers, and precisely why it’ll carry an audience hungry for such guilty pleasures on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Fan base

Eager to tap into the franchise’s 3 million-strong following, TNA Impact! brings the league’s brawlers into one Game packing a single-player Career mode, one-off Exhibition, and full multiplayer handled via Game Center. When it comes to features, Namco Bandai Games is thankfully not skimping.

Modes are only one part of the gameplay equation. Controls and the range of possible moves will determine whether TNA Impact! is a blast, and on this front there are clear signs that much work needs to be done. While the basics are intact, the controls need to be tightened up.

A virtual analogue stick controls your wrestler’s movement, while three action buttons – kick, punch, and grab – are tapped to engage your opponent. It’s a simple setup, though one that could use fine-tuning.

Time for improvement

Pulling off signature moves like Ric Flair’s crotch grab was difficult given the clunky controls. While it’s important to recognise that a few minutes isn’t enough time for mastery over the controls, but they felt slow and unresponsive.

By keeping the controls simple, the action feels awkward – it didn’t feel like my wrestler responded quickly enough to my input.

Of course, there’s plenty of time left for Namco to improve the game. The feature set is spot on and the visual style nicely meets expectations when it comes to the franchise. Graphical quality isn’t outstanding, but given the range of devices on which the game is to be released it’s understandable.

Hopefully these improvements are underway and will defy my initial impression when TNA Impact! hits iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad this spring.

Check out the image gallery below…
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