App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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When I first laid eyes on Avenger on the App Store, I was both very interested and very suspicious. Out of nowhere action games like this tend to have a 50/50 chance of being great or a broken mess. While it’s actually quite good and not a broken mess, there are still a few issues that hold it back.
I’d love to give a general plot synopsis here, but the script for Avenger is so astronomically bad I wouldn’t even know where to start. I think it has something to do with the protagonist trying to save his bipolar/demonically possessed girlfriend by slaying monsters or something. Fortunately it’s more about the action than the story. Players fight their way from room to room as they attempt to do whatever it is they need to in order to finish the story, with a surprisingly manageable combat system. A number of different arms can be acquired, each with their own special magic attacks, and they can all gain experience and be upgraded until they’re nothing short of a very sharp wrecking ball. Each weapon can be enchanted three times as it levels up, and different color combinations of spells will unlock permanent special effects such as 300% damage for the first few strikes after entering a room.
Avenger is a good looking game, which is all the more impressive as it’s not exactly coming from a AAA developer. The designs for characters, enemies, and weapons are all a pleasure to behold. Especially the bosses. I was also surprised by just how many RPG elements have been crammed into the game. The character gains levels and becomes more powerful, the weapons gain levels and can be enchanted, and new enchantments can be unlocked in a manner similar to earning achievements (i.e. reach 300 damage, play for X number of hours, etc).
There is a bit of the (sadly) expected roughness, however. Specifically in the controls and animations. While the visuals in Avenger are pretty much inarguably nifty, they sport a very tiny amount of frames of animation and stutter as though the processor was being overtaxed. The controls are about the same mix of workable and messed up. While it’s certainly possible to pull off impressive combos, knock enemies into the air, dodge impending attacks, and even follow up with a counterattack, it requires a strict adherence to a very stiff set of actions. Getting stuck in an attack while facing the wrong way or ending up in the air accidentally are only a couple of problems that arise from the incredibly rigid commands.
While Avenger is a rough game in virtually every sense of the word, it’s also full of quirky personality and some very clever mechanics. As it is, it’s a fairly competent action game but with a little more responsiveness in the controls it could be downright fantastic.