Developer: Kerosene Games
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

What is equal parts steampunk and ‘Wild Wild West,’ with a little satanic insanity mixed in for good measure?  Kerosene Games’ new action title, Bladeslinger. Set in the lawless days of the westward expansion, the game looks to meld shooter and swipe-based sword mechanics, all using a one-handed hybrid control scheme.  Does this ambitious new adventure live up to the hype, or is it another pretty face with far too little substance?

William Glaston has just returned home to Hammer’s Peak, only to find that it has been torn asunder by some sort of an evil and mystic force, hell-bent on planting him six feet under.  Fortunately, he is armed with a custom six shooter that for some unexplained reason has a sword mounted on the end.  This allows him to not only gun down the opposition through simple screen taps, but in the case of close quarters combat, hack and slash his way through hordes of enemies using screen swipes.

Players try to help Glaston in his quest to get to the bottom of what happened, all the while dispatching massive quantities of similarly looking cronies.  Luckily, everything in the world is so vibrant and detailed, the repetitive character models and combat are almost forgivable.  The operative word there being “almost.”

Where it would be easy to say that a game is too beautiful, and dare we say important, a showcase of the iOS hardware to criticize gameplay, this is a case where it is very necessary.  The combat boils down to doing the same handful of actions over and over again, until you’ve uncovered enough shards to improve/change moves. No matter how gorgeous and awe-inspiring the Devil May Cry inspired gunplay/swordplay hybrid may seem, it still ends up playing the same, encounter after encounter, with very little variation.  Compound this with a mediocre camera that responds like it is stuck in gelatin and players may have some issues keeping up with the waves upon waves of opposition being thrown their way.

Would we like to see where William’s quest leads him next?  Absolutely! It just seems that the battle mechanics could use a little tweaking before the next episode graces the App Store.  If you are looking to get in on the ground floor of what could genuinely be something special, give Bladeslinger a download.  Just don’t expect for this to be the episode to actually manages to pull that off.  Think of it as an investment in the future of iOS gaming. Hopefully it will pay dividends down the line.

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