App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s
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Inheritage: Boundary of Existence is a shoot-em-up developed by Tinker Games. For the uninitiated, shoot-em-ups or "shmups" aren't just games with shooting in them: These games refer to ones in which the player character scrolls across the screen while dodging enemies and the patterns of projectiles they throw across the screen (think arcade classics like Raiden or 1942). If players are familiar with the genre, they know almost everything they need to know about Inheritage already. As far as shmup genre conventions go, this game may seem like it adheres very strictly to the formula, only straying from the norms in somewhat minor and peripheral ways, but these minor changes can help make this game a more compelling mobile title for some.
To play Inheritage, players simply drag their finger across the screen to move the main character. Conveniently, there is no need to be touching the a specific part of the screen to move, and doubly convenient that the main character fires automatically. This allows players of Inheritage to concentrate on navigating the game's increasingly dense waves of projectiles while collecting tokens to build up a super meter. Once this meter is full, players can use it to slow down time, making it a bit easier to dispatch foes and dodge bullets, and can further swipe their finger across the screen to unleash a powerful attack. If players are hit three times in the course of a stage, they will see a continue screen. Players are allowed to resume playing right from where they left off up to five times before getting a game over.
Perhaps the most interesting and differentiating quality of Inheritage is its structure. Sure, the core of the game sounds like very familiar and well-tread territory, but the inclusion of bite-sized stages and a heavy emphasis on narrative help make Inheritage stand out. As a mobile title, the short stage lengths make the game ideal for protracted play sessions, and the story emphasis adds a layer of richness to what is otherwise a relatively straightforward shmup experience, even if it is kind of bland.
Overall, Inheritage is perfectly fine. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, plus a little extra. If players want a competent shmup, Inheritage delivers. If they want a conventional anime story to drive the action as well, it's there too. The controls work, the levels and bullet patterns are appropriately challenging, and everything else, while nice, is also completely optional. If players are interested in getting a shmup for their phone, Inheritage is a quality-yet-in-no-way-mindblowing option. Players with a passing interest can try the lite version and decide from there whether they want it or not.