Developer: Ossian Studios
Price: $7.99 (special price until 12/28)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆ 
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Jumping in to an RPG crafted by Bioware and Relic Entertainment alums comes with certain expectations. Fair or not, that’s just how it is. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t initially work in The Shadow Sun’s favor, but players who stick around should find themselves enjoying the story and combat quite a bit; even despite all the interface issues.

shadowsun06The story of The Shadow Sun begins with a foreign dignitary and his bodyguards arriving in the city of Shar, investigating the disappearance of other dignitaries. It takes all of two minutes for them to realize that something is amiss as the outlying areas of the city are a complete wreck and berserk sick people are crawling all over the place. It seems as though Shar is in the midst of a plague, and to further complicate matters the emperor is behaving strangely and a crazed prophet is brainwashing the weak-willed into blaming everything on the North. Which, incidentally, is where the main character and their companions are from.

The Shadow Sun’s campaign spans the entirety of Shar and several areas beyond as players attempt to find the source of the plague and put a stop to it, murder the crap out of the horrible cult leader, save their own skin, and so on. It’s a rather diverse world with a fair amount of nooks and crannies to explore – some of which are only accessible if the main character has the right skills (replayability ahoy!). There are also a fair few skills and spells to learn, giving players plenty of options for combat tactics. Although it’s important to note that they won’t be able to learn/max out everything.

shadowsun12Unfortunately there’s a chance that not everyone will make it far enough into The Shadow Sun to appreciate it. The controls feel incredibly clunky for one thing: the hitbox for the movement stick is rather small and swipes to move the camera don’t always register, which both make navigation rather irritating. It’s also a bit of a chore to compare equipment stats in the inventory screen. Combat can be awkward at times as well, especially in the beginning, but once players start to learn more skills and spells it really opens up. Whereas before I would get frustrated with a basic attack/block and special attack, now I’m having fun conjuring earthquakes to stun groups of enemies and hacking them up with fancy spin attacks. It’s just actually getting to that point that’s the problem.

I was honestly ready to write-off The Shadow Sun when I first started playing it. Thankfully I didn’t (for many reasons), and I’d urge anyone who tries it to resist the urge as well. It’s certainly rough around the edges, especially the interface, but the game underneath it all is quite enjoyable.

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