Developer: Magic Cube
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

GodStrike, from Magic Cube (Infect Them All) is great looking, light on its feet action game… that drives me nuts. The game, a self described mini-game, pits you as a god who needs to strike down the “bastards” who are devilishly trying to get from one side of the screen to the other. Being a Zeus-like god, all that you have at your disposal is lightning bolts.

Now everyone in the world knows that lightning bolts are random, but you would think that you, as a god, would be able to control them in some way. Well, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but much of the outcome of your minigame experience boils down to randomness.

The control scheme of God Strike is simple to understand, but impossible to master. I don’t mean impossible as in hard either… it literally is impossible to control the lightning with 100% accuracy. Every second in the game, you get to drop a lightning bolt of a pre-determined (random) nature. Sometimes you’ll get a straight lightning bolt, while other times you’ll get a bolt that arcs in three places. You can make it a short bolt or a long bolt, and sort of aim the bolt with different swipes of your finger. Sometimes the bolts just go where they want though, and sometimes they hit right where you want but arc around the enemy. While you can usually control the general area that the bolt will strike, you can’t control the game with the precision that I would like.

There is some skill involved though, because I did get better at the game as I played. Timing your lightning strikes, as well as aiming them does get easier with time, no matter how frustrated you may feel. After about an hour, I didn’t feel like I was getting any better, but my high score had progressively gotten higher the longer I played. The key is grasping the abilities of each lightning bolt, and more importantly, getting better at predicting the random behavior. Some lightning bolts just won’t hit certain areas, so you will get better at pumping them out faster as time goes on.

As frustrated as you might be at some of the gameplay elements, you will keep on trudging through because of the games excellent sense of style. Magic Cube really got the graphics down on this one, and created an extremely likable world full of evildoers and lightning bolts. The bastards that come across the screen have all sorts of great personalities, from the Red Barron looking planes flying across to the stereotypical bank robber looking characters trying to sneak by on the bottom.

In all honesty, I would really enjoy this game if it adopted more of a Pocket God stance and kept lives out of the game. While I understand the reasons for having lives, and a way to lose, I became quickly frustrated when I would lose due to something that I felt I couldn’t control. It’s one thing if I lose and know exactly why and what I could do the next time to win, but I constantly had a feeling of helplessness when the game was over. I would really enjoy a mode where I didn’t have to worry about time, a game where I could just try to combo kill the bastards to my liking. Maybe there could be some really animated explosions, or “bastard” planes crashing into “bastard” bank robbers. Or maybe I just want to have some more control over the way the lightning strikes.

Here’s my real idea of how this game would work better. Instead of having random lightning bolts that strike in seemingly random patterns, how about giving the player a number, 1-4, which would correspond to how many fingers that the player could use at once. Each finger would control a lightning bolt, and the bolt would go on to strike exactly where the finger was. Maybe the 1-4 number could correspond with how big of a combo kill the previous bolt created… I think that would work well.

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