☺ Nice visuals capture the Halo Universe well.
☺ Smooth Controls (Note: I played with an XBox Controller).
☹Missions are too short.
Halo: Spartan Assault is a pretty top down shooter which see's you running virtual missions based on the exploits of two Spartan soldiers, Davis and Palmer, where you will be tasked with defending objectives, destroying Covenant targets and playing the role of escort in a variety of missions.
The combat is entertaining, switching between a primary and secondary weapon or hurling a grenade into a group of grunts, even jumping in the odd vehicle to cause some mayhem. Weapons will be familiar to fans of previous Halo games and translate well, although they lack some of the impact you'd probably expect. There are a fair few enemy types thrown at you, from Grunts to Brutes and I was pleased to be able to stealth kill a few unaware enemies rather than always going in guns blazing.
The missions themselves are extremely short and seem to end just as things start to get interesting, which I found really ruined the flow of the game. That said, I can appreciate it works for shorter play sessions where you literally have a spare five minutes to play.
Before setting off on a mission you can choose to apply 'skulls' that increase the difficulty of the game in a variety of ways (such as removing HUD elements or making shields deplete when firing weapons). Although you can also select your weapons and equipment, it's tied into an unlock system where you spend experience points that you earn for completing missions and secondary challenges (some level specific and some weekly). Unfortunately, these unlocks only apply to the current mission you're attempting (they don't remain unlocked even if you attempt the mission again at a later date) so are all but useless in earlier missions unless you're perhaps chasing a high score. Experience Points don't come rolling in either, so you can really feel like you've wasted what you've just earned.
The levels themselves are rather similar, although are well detailed and some of the earlier missions tend to have things going on in the background to make you feel like you're in a larger conflict. The game has a fair number of not-so-invisible walls that often serve as spawn points for enemies and is a pretty linear experience, this again can be a plus for those high score getters because you'll know exactly what enemies to expect and when.
Halo: Spartan Assault is not a game I'd recommend to friends and seems a bit of a let down given the setting, but if you're after an easy to play top down shooter, what's on offer is pretty fair for three and a half hours of Halo themed shootyness.