Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Game Controls Rating:
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We’ve been looking forward to BulkyPix’s new game, Hasta La Muerte, at least since it appeared on Windows phone, if not longer. Regrettably, while the graphics are as appealing as we knew they would be, the gameplay is lacklustre. Worse, the iOS iteration is plagued with technical issues.
Hasta La Muerte is yet another game where players are invested with godly powers, this time those of the grim reaper. As Death it’s their job to steal souls against the clock in a stealth game setting. The goal is to reap souls from their bodies on a strict schedule lest everything fall into chaos.
The graphics are hand drawn and doodlesque. They're dark, full of irony, and have lots of charm - think flipbook animation. But the soundtrack is grating, as if the developers sought out the loudest heavy metal screechers on a day when they all had head colds. As for gameplay, there’s a solid concept, with players traversing a maze with secret openings, and occasionally confronting an evil scientist and his angry machines. The levels, however, while increasingly difficult, tend to have a sameness about them.
Where Hasta La Meurte truly fails is in execution. The virtual joystick is amazingly unresponsive and even on the iPad takes up a tiny part of the screen. The smallest slip of the digit and players find themselves controlling nothing but their muscles. The game also suffers from a crashing disorder. It runs fine when first installed, but left in the background too long, or when closed, it won't reopen, forcing a re-install. This issue has been widely noted and we assume BulkyPix is working on a fix. In the meantime, it’s not only frustrating but it costs players the progress they've made up to that point.
Finally, the app has serious English syntax problems, from descriptions to menus to instructions. At some points it’s just the odd but accurate word, like calling the settings parameters, but in other places it's almost incomprehensible. Try the opening description line: “Act as the death itself in this « art game » where everything was thought to offer players a unique game experience." That's quite the mismatch of syntactics right there.
I don’t point this out to poke fun, but to say that everything here feels rushed. An extra month in development working on stability, controls, marketing materials and in-app documentation might have made Hasta Le Meurta something other than what it is now - a good looking but confounding, deadly bore.