Developer: Duello Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.3.2
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Your finger hovers over the edge of the screen as the ninja stars bounce wildly from wall to wall. You’ve got to be quick, those things all must be corralled and if even one gets away then it’s all over. Even worse, a mistimed cut and you’ll run right into one of those bad boys, which isn’t going to feel good in the morning. You see an opening and with a single swipe cut the room in half. Success! But don’t get too full of yourself, you need to make the space smaller still, and now there’s even less room for error.

Such intensity is the primary draw of iSlash, a nifty puzzle game that combines quick reflexes with careful planning. Players simply slash from one side of the playing area to another to lop off a chunk of the level. The objective is to trap a group of ninja stars in a small space in the fewest number of moves possible. Things start out simple enough but the the amount needed to be trimmed away steadily grows larger (meaning less room to work), and other wrinkles such as metallic edges that can’t be slashed and ghost stars that are nearly impossible to see make life difficult. The game’s challenge ramps up quickly, and if the 70 included levels aren’t enough to satisfy you then fear not, as Duello has already added 20 stages with plans for future updates.

The game’s only real sticking point is that sometimes it isn’t perfectly responsive to your touch, which can be an issue when you need absolute perfect timing. Most times everything works perfectly and the game translates your slashes exactly as it should, but the few misses that do crop up can be particularly frustrating.

The developers do deserve kudos for how precise the slicing is, as players can lop off giant chunks or tiny slivers with each swipe. This is especially welcome as you near the end of a level and need only to shave off a tiny piece from a corner to add the finishing touch. The game’s ability to recognize cuts of any size at any angle is truly impressive, and just one of those little details that shows you how much attention the developers paid to their work.

iSlash is that rare combination which offers both a ton of fun and a great challenge. It manages to rope players in quickly and hold onto them for quite a while. If you’re looking for an app that lasts, this one will do nicely.

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