Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Price: $.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

iDracula is an action game where you play as a vampire hunter and must survive attacks from wave after wave of werewolves, vampires, witches, and eventually the man himself, Dracula. Your hunting grounds consist of a single desolated area and you use the iPhone’s touch screen to control the hunter as he shoots his prey.

The first thing you’ll notice about iDracula is the graphics. They are excellent. The static backgrounds, the monsters, the animation of your character and his weapons, and even the menus and other screens; they are all expertly rendered and look outstanding. If you want to showcase what the iPhone is capable of graphically, this is the game to do it with.

Unfortunately the audio is not in the same league as the graphics, though it is fairly well done. While the music, a simple rock tune that appears to loop endlessly, gets old quickly, the gun fire and monster noises are definitely adequate. You also have a number of weapons you acquire throughout the game as well as several monster types, which all combine to provide some variety in the sound department.

The control scheme gives you two circles, or wheels, as the game calls them, in the lower left and right hand corners of the screen. Though you can swap their functionality, normally the left wheel is used for movement and the right for aiming. These work fairly well except for the fact that for iDracula the developer chose to orient the screen so you hold the iPhone in landscape mode with the top of the screen to your right.

This means the headphone connector, which is located on the bottom right hand corner of the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch, ends up on the left hand side when playing iDracula. If you plug in a pair of headphones, this can end up interfering with the controls. If the game gave you a way to flip the screen around, this wouldn’t be such a problem.

There is one more problem with the control scheme: If your character’s position ends up underneath either of the control wheels, it can be quite difficult to see him and move him out of there. Since your thumbs rest over the screen where those control wheels are placed, you have to be careful to steer the vampire hunter clear of there or you might end up dying sooner than you’d like.

As far as actual game play goes, iDracula is purely about survival. There are two modes: Survival and Rush. In the first mode you start off slowly. You kill monsters by aiming at them, since the guns auto-fire, and you collect the weapons and perks they drop. As you progress the number of monsters increases until you finally are overwhelmed and die.

In Rush mode the pace is much more frenetic. You are immediately overwhelmed with a myriad of monsters, but since you have a gun that fires more rapidly and is quite powerful, you simply plow through them as long as you possibly can. Both modes can be fun but ultimately grow stale as there is only a handful of weapons and perks, and only one area, which is relatively small, to fight in.

In the end iDracula is a survival horror game that places more emphasis on “survival” than “horror.” While the atmosphere is quite creepy, and the graphics and animation are top notch, the game play consists of moving around just one area and killing monsters, collecting weapons and power-ups, and doing this for as long as you can hold out. It’s well done but ultimately monotonous and shallow, but can be fun in short spurts.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,