Developer: Drakkar Dev
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

With the launch of iOS 7 MFi gamepads, there comes the typical problem of any launch period: games to play during that launch! Thus, Clash of Puppets announces itself to the world: “I’m a game built for gamepad support!” However, the thing with launch titles is that the early adopters usually have to make a few sacrifices in expectations to get a game that fits the new hardware. Clash of Puppets is a flawed game, and its gamepad support is nowhere near perfect, but it still might be worth checking out for those who want gamepad games.

ClashOfPuppets-4This is a 3D beat ‘em up with some light puzzle elements. Fighting off the hordes of the supernatural across three different worlds, players must beat, shoot, and trap their way through waves of enemies. Thankfully, being able to lay down buzzsaws and use giant electrical cannons to take them out helps. Still, gamers fattened by the easiness of modern games will likely want to tone the difficulty down to easy, as even normal difficulty can prove to be frustrating. I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I went down to easy at one point.

The whole theme of the game is a bit confusing: the ‘puppets’ part of the title is never really made clear; all the characters could just be cutesy versions of their genre archetypes and no one would really be the wiser. Also, the sound effects are misplaced: the shrill “wheee” that I keep hearing whenever vampire enemies get involved feels as misplaced as it is annoying.

ClashOfPuppets-8The gamepad support is solid but with a few chinks in the armor. Moving, jumping, and thwacking the attack button to hit enemies all work well. Shooting with the right joystick is an inspired choice, and one that makes me crave a legitimate dual-stick shooter with gamepad support. Games with support are still hard to find, though. Sadly, despite the gamepad support, it’s not perfect: projectile weapon switching seems to require holding down a shoulder button, rather than being able to tap to switch. Also, the LB button to lay down traps does not work; I had to use the touchscreen for this. Touchscreen-wise, the controls have too much to do – the game works, but it does not feel ideal.

And really, not ideal is the best way to describe Clash of Puppets. I like its multi-faceted combat, but its odd theme, frustrating difficulty, and flawed controls make it only really recommended for those early adopters of the MOGA Ace Power with some patience.


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