Doctor Who: City of the Daleks is free to all in the UK and as a free game there can be few complaints directed at it. However it does fall quiet short of the high standards set by the Television series which would be hard to match without a big budget.
The game starts you off like the TV series setting the scene before the famous Doctor Who intro music kicks in and pulls you into an adventure where you will be hiding from Daleks, collecting thingamebobs, solving the odd puzzle and asking the odd question or two.
On arriving in sixties London we find out humanity has almost been wiped out and the Daleks are on the prowl. From here you control the Doctor as he attempts to discover what’s happen and tries to restore the natural timeline. This takes him back to Kaleen the titular ‘City of the Daleks’ through which the Doctor and his trusty companion Amy must sneak and restore humanity to the universe.
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The game mainly compromises of sneaking around avoiding Daleks. Taking care to avoid the Daleks cone of vision you sneak around Kaalann finding parts to build several gadgets for the Doctor to use against the Daleks. The game play is pretty rudimentary and as a free game of a very popular franchise it has been boiled down to basic to include as many people as possible which means experienced adventure gamers will breeze through this in no time at all.Once you have collected all the required parts or reached the correct terminal you will partake in some small puzzles to fit the parts together (a maze) or hack the terminal (a matching game). None of these are particulalry challenging but they are simple fun and that is what this game boils down to.
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The game is made for the fans of the Doctor more than gamers. It is a simple romp through a Dr Who short story and is fun while it lasts. The graphics are decent enough and the main characters are voiced by their TV stars. There are a few problems with the game like the lack of a key to remove the on screen text pop ups, Amy’s sometimes poor AI that can get you killed easily and the rather pointless addition of Facts to collect which smacks of the BBC not wanting to release a game that did not have any educational value. These facts disappear towards the end of the game and when you do find them after leaving London they become fun snippets of information on the Doctor Who universe which makes better sense in the game.
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All in all, not a bad start. Hopefully in the second episode they can tell a story with a bit more meat to it and I’m sure they will introduce some new gameplay elements that will improve the game further but for the princley sum of zero pounds it’s well worth a quick blast.
READ OUR THOUGHTS ON EPISODE 2 BLOOD OF THE CYBERMEN HERE.