Review: Tales from the Borderlands for Mac and iOS

Published On November 5, 2015 | By Aaron Kraus | iPhone/iPad, Macintosh, Reviews

Ever wish you could combine the irreverent humor of the Borderlands series with choose-your-own-adventure style freedom to decide your own fate? I’ll admit I never did, but now that I’ve played Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands, I can safely tell you it’s a match made in…well, it’d be wrong to call Pandora heaven, but it’s a riotously good time and a fresh twist on an already iconic game.

Set after the events of Borderlands 2, Tales from the Borderlands traces the dual stories of Rhys and Fiona, a Hyperion Corporation middle manager and con woman from Pandora, respectively. The unlikely duo is brought together by the sale of a fake vault key, which leads to the discovery of some long lost tech designed to summon the Vault of the Traveller, along with the guardian monster who protects it (boss fight!). You play as both characters, automatically switching between them as the story progresses.

Tales from the Borderlands

There are some old favorite characters along the way, including psychos and bandits from Pandora, Vault Hunters from previous installments of the Borderlands story, and some supporting characters like Scooter and Handsome Jack (as a resurrected AI). There’s also a host of new characters, including Vasquez (voiced by the incomparable Patrick Warburton) and Vallory, an evil villain who’s a perfect blend of Cruella de Ville and Ursula.

Tales from the Borderlands

Unlike previous installments in the Borderlands series, Tales from the Borderlands is available on both iOS and Mac. As a result, the controls are vastly different; you can’t wander around and explore freely, and interaction is limited to just a few actions in any given scene. You won’t be running around the virtual worlds looking for Vault symbols or loot containers; instead, you’ll mostly be choosing your responses to situations throughout the game. How you act is crucial, because the characters in the game remember your actions: choose to be mean and they might not offer to help you out later, or choose to be nice and you might get taken advantage of. It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books, without all that bothersome page flipping.

Tales from the Borderlands

The gameplay is divided into five episodes. You can buy them for $5 a pop on iOS (the first one is free) or $15 for a multi-pack (which basically gives you one free episode). On the Steam Store, they run $25. The artwork is good enough to justify the price on a larger-screened Mac, but if you need a portable Borderlands fix, the iOS version is just as much fun. The game is the same across both platforms with only minor variations in controls (an on-screen D-pad vs. the standard ASDW key control).

Tales from the Borderlands is easily approachable for new users, but seasoned Borderlands veterans will find plenty of in-universe references making the game a worthwhile play.

Genre: Adventure
Seller: Telltale Games 
Requirements: Mac version: OS X Lion (10.7) or above. iOS version: iOS 7.1 or later (iPhone 4 users are cautioned that the game will be suboptimal on their devices)
Mac Price: $24.99, iOS Price: $14.99 for all episodes
Availability: Now at the iTunes App Store and on Steam
Grade: B

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About The Author

was reared on a Mac Plus, graduated to a Performa 6400/180, detoured briefly into eMate 300 territory (which still runs), and is currently rocking several variants of MacBook. Aaron is a card carrying Borderlands™ minion, steeped in arcane Apple lore, and fluent in Reality Distortion™. He remains a cybersecurity consultant by day and hopeless technophile with aspirations to be a low-grade foodie.