I was going to leave this as a quick mention in the Links of the Day, but it really is more important than that. Epic Citadel is an essential download for the iPhone for two reasons: its free and it shows the future of mobile gaming on the platform.
Epic are probably more important as tech wizards with godly mastery of game engines than as straight up developers these days. They seem to have shot ahead of their old rivals id as the most important middleware company, and there software powers games in all genres, not just FPS’s.
To see them begin to focus on mobile platforms like the iPhone is great as it represents the big players taking this market seriously. Steve Jobs has made it clear how important gaming is on the iPhone and the new iPod touch is being pushed as the most successful handheld gaming system on the market. Despite that, the technical quality of iPhone games is all over the place, with releases seemingly belong to at least three different hardware generations all occupying the same virtual shelf space.
Into this arena step Epic, embarassing other developpers with a technical tour-de force. The engine they showcase runs smoothly, looks stunning and even showcases rendering and graphical techniques absent in some current gen console releases. Putting this against other releases on the app store shows how woefully under-utilised the hardware has been so far. Developers like SquareEnix have made meaningful additions to the games library on Apples devices, but Epic have raised teh stakes subtstantially.
Epic Citadel is a demo from Epic that must be seen. It looks stunning, runs well and even showcases some great art assets and a dreamy atmoshperic soundtrack . The Citadel in question exists in a gorgeous fantasy style world thats great to wander around. Theres nothing to do in the demo but explore this world and soak in the atmosphere. Its free and it shows how amazing iPhone games can be in the near future. Get to it!