Back in 2009, James Daniels released Payback for the iPhone, a game that was essentially a knock-off of the original isometric Grand Theft Auto. Now Payback is back, switching focus from solo slaughter to multiplayer mayhem.
The darker, shinier Payback 2 slices up the open-world gameplay of the original game into a series of eight quick-and-dirty events suitable for offline or online play. Five of these modes feature the on-foot carjacking action of the original game; the other three are race modes.
The solo campaign involves progressing through a series of events based on these modes, earning stars to unlock additional levels. With the focus on multiplayer, this single-player mode is essentially AI assisted training for the big show, giving players a chance to roast a few gang members with flame throwers before turning them on real human beings.
In the game, of course. Don't burn people.
For those craving the free-roaming Payback of days past there is a Rampage mode in which players can roam the city earning points for completing missions. It's a rather good time, perfect for folks that don't play proper Grand Theft Auto games because they get too caught up wandering about to progress through the story. As an added bonus, the game uses your iTunes library as a soundtrack, so I got to kill things accompanied by chapter 2 of the Game of Thrones audio book.
There are also a few phrasing issues that need to be worked out.
Not sure why that got three stars, I do that all the time.
Due to the newness of the release I couldn't find anyone to play with online, which is also one of the reasons I'm writing up the game for Gaming App of the Day -- I want to play it online, so the more people playing the better.
If the community grows Payback 2 could become one of the great multiplayer games on the iPhone and iPad. If not, then there's always Payback 3: Back to Back to Back (which does not exist).
Payback 2 HD - $6.49 [iTunes App Store]