Hands-On With Microsoft's 'Halo: Spartan Assault' for Windows 8

Microsoft wants to give its Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets some gaming clout, and it hopes to do it with Master Chief in tow. The star of the hit Xbox and Xbox 360 series "Halo" is coming to mobile in the guise of "Halo: Spartan Assault," and we got to go hands-on with it at E3 2013.

"Spartan Assault" is a top-down shooter that sees players take control of either Spartan Davis or Commander Sarah Palmer as you battle through five campaigns with five missions each. You control your character using on-screen touch controls, though there are no faux joysticks here. Instead, we maneuvered by moving our left thumb around the screen and fired our weapons by swiping and holding in the direction we wanted to shoot.

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Picking up equipment was as easy: just walk over it and press the interact button on the right side of the screen. You can also activate suit capabilities such as fast movement and a stun shield, by tapping the suit button. There are also buttons for swapping and throwing grenades and swapping out different rifles, pistols and shotguns. The demo we played had us trying to fend off waves of Covenant as they tried to blast through our base's walls. 

The gameplay was surprisingly crisp for a mobile game, a result of 343 Industries' focus on building "Halo: Spartan Assault" as a mobile title first. Microsoft says the title game will be available for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and Windows 8 PCs for $6.99 in July. You'll also be able to purchase new and more powerful weapons via in-game purchases following the games release.

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.