Spartan Assault bridges the gap between console and mobile

HALO took its first small step on to Windows 8 mobile platforms in the form of Spartan Assault, and in 2014 it has made a giant leap back on to consoles via the Xbox Live Arcade.

The living-room version is a direct port of its bus-ready counterpart, with some extended co-op play, campaign scenarios and weapon options.

Spartan Assault bridges the gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4, after humankind's war with the Covenant and during the Master Chief's deep space siesta. It pits you, most often in control of Halo 4's Spartan Palmer, against the Covenant's surviving religious nutcases - still holding on to the dream.

There is no first-person view for you here. The top-down view isn't that drastic a visual departure if you can remember 2009's Halo Wars, but recent fans might find the unfamiliar perspective jarring. A greater number of Halo-heads might feel the same about the gameplay itself, for as well as Spartan Assault performs in looking and sounding like its forebears, it falls agonisingly short of behaving like them.

Halo: Spartan Assault can check off most of its promises. It earns its place in the Halo family for its crisp visuals, deep soundscape, and for expanding the series fiction - but it's just not strong and agile enough to hang with its console-bred pack mates.