When I spoke with them at Macworld | iWorld earlier this year, Aspyr Media (a company that has brought a lot of games to the Mac platform) promised some interesting "catalog Mac experiences" would be released on iOS, and they've outdone themselves with the first title. Bioware's classic Knights of the Old Republic RPG, based in the Star Wars universe, is available for the iPad right now, at a premium price of $9.99.
Aspyr has done an incredible job with this one, and it probably didn't hurt that Bioware's original was designed so well. The game works very well on a touchscreen, as most of the menus made very good use of buttons and easily accessible screen areas. Combat is essentially turn-based (it's real-time, but you can pause it to change your actions at any time) and works great on the iPad. You can fix any small mistakes you make in giving orders easily and quickly.
Aspyr also wasn't afraid to step in when necessary. The game's dialog options are just too small to be navigated with fingers, so Aspyr added option buttons on the side of the screen that are easy to choose as you chat with the game's many, many characters.
The game's graphics are showing their age, and optimizing them for the iPad probably didn't help the fidelity at all. But that's not a major concern, considering the game was first released in 2003. The real strength of this game is how it puts you smack dab in the middle of a great Star Wars story, and the graphics are good enough that they don't get in the way.
The voice acting enhances the experience, too. Knights of the Old Republic's original voice acting was stellar, and it's back here in all of the great stories and dialog lines that Bioware originally put together. HK-47 is a fan-favorite character from Knights of the Old Republic, and while I haven't reached his part in the story on my iPad yet, I am sure that he's just as hilariously evil as always.
In short, Aspyr has delivered a classic game in an expertly ported form. If you've never played Knights of the Old Republic, you're in for a treat, but realize that you're getting into a major RPG campaign. This title will likely have way more depth and story than your average Jetpack Joyride or Angry Birds games. And if you have played Knights of the Old Republic once or even twice in the past, you'll probably appreciate another playthrough even more on Apple's excellent touchscreen platform.
I had no inkling at all that this was what Aspyr was thinking of when they mentioned earlier this year that they were planning on porting some classic titles to iOS, but I'm glad this is what they started with. I can't wait to see more classic and revered games make their way from the Mac platform over to the iOS App Store with Aspyr in the captain's seat.