Developer: Kuroato Media
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fallen World is what would happen if a Diablo-style hack ’n slash met Dungeon Defenders in the middle of a post-apocalyptic landscape with thematic undertones resembling Jet Set Radio. Really. The gameplay involves protecting a robotic girl named Ai who’s shielded in the center of the screen. Robots will try to kill her by draining her shields. Players control Kuro, a swordsman who can slice and dice his way through enemies, but also summon soldiers, turrets, and a powerful knockback attack to protect her for the necessary three waves per level. The controls involve tapping on the screen to move, and running into enemies to automatically attack, with buttons for dropping units. All this is in a post-apocalyptic environment (or at least a dystopic future) that’s cel-shaded, with camera angles and flashy cutaways that resemble the aforementioned Sega classic.

FallenWorld-06It’s a very interesting mix, and one that had me quite compelled for its brief game length. The move and attack mechanic feels like it would work well in a larger title, as it is at least intuitive enough to know where Kuro is running. The speedy pace also alleviates a lot of the dullness that comes over some action and tower defense hybrids when there’s nothing going on, thanks in part to the small arenas. Plus, even the stylish cutaways to enemies getting knocked around have practical purposes: they signify the end of a wave, and serve as a great capper to the struggle against waves of robots.

The controls are great in theory, but Kuro’s running feels more like skating than running (there goes the Jet Set Radio comparison again!) and makes it hard to quickly get to where he needs to be. Also, the buttons for placing down units are aggravating: only a certain area of the button drops the unit, so frequently Kuro would wind up running to the bottom of the screen rather than placing a critical soldier or turret. The iPad doesn’t help; it’s basically a blown-up version of the iPhone game so the extra screen space makes little difference.

FallenWorld-03The game is rather brief, with 9 levels and a hard mode unlocked after beating it, though the 9th level spikes up suddenly in difficulty by introducing three ultra-powerful enemies that can decimate Ai in an instant. It takes a few additional runs through level 8 to beef up some stats (hint: level up the soldier unit) to make it possible to survive. The brevity isn’t necessarily a bad thing: by the time it was over, I had my fill of the game. I’d love to see a sequel or iteration on the core mechanic, though: there’s promise but it just isn’t always realized here.

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