Developer: Erik Loyer
Price: Free ($1.99 in-app purchases available to unlock new episodes)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s a little too short yet sweet for comfort but Upgrade Soul offers plenty of intrigue and some stunning artwork within its graphic novel shell.

Simply calling it a graphic novel doesn’t do Upgrade Soul justice as it uses the potential of iOS quite well. Using a new technology known as Opertoonity, an off shoot of the highly popular Unity game engine, Upgrade Soul feels more alive and organic than most novels. It does so through a form of trick that suggests that images are 3D in nature. Tilt the iOS device as one reads Upgrade Soul and the image reacts accordingly. It’s subtle but effective.

The story itself, while only brief, offers just enough to encourage readers to instantly purchase the next episode. An ageing couple, keen on scientific breakthroughs, embark upon a risky new therapy that aims to rejuvenate the human body. In the first episode, we’re mostly introduced to them with a glimpse near the end demonstrating how the therapy has affected them.

To keep the story feeling fluid, comic panels don’t just appear in regular ways. Instead, they shoot in from all kinds of angles to continue the momentum of the tale. It’s tough to explain without demonstrating visually, but it works well as another sign of subtle yet classy presentation. Alongside such visual flourishes, a quite foreboding soundtrack plays in the background, adding to the sense of doom that I suspect is about to hit the people within the tale.

It’s interesting stuff and while the free side of Upgrade Soul doesn’t go into great details of what’s to come, it’s enough to keep readers keen to see what happens next. The promise of extra content in future instalments is another boon to a potentially very interesting package.

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