Developer: WSITech
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a long time fan of the Monster Hunter series I’m predestined to find similar games interesting. Wanderer: War Song evokes a similar feeling to Capcom’s polarizing series, which I naturally find appealing, but its controls are so poorly structured they make it almost impossible to enjoy.

Wanderer: War Song tells a kind of mish-mash story of Greek and Norse mythology. It’s a bit of a jumbled mess and there’s very little exposition found within the game itself, but it’s a decent enough backdrop for some giant monster slaying. Each level is essentially a one-on-one arena battle that pits the player against one rather large and intimidating beast or another. Virtual sticks are out in force, allowing players to move with the left and rotate the camera with the right, while swiping on the screen attacks and double-tapping blocks. Once an enemy has been taken down players will earn a special ability card (i.e. power attacks or healing spells) and some experience for their trouble then it’s on to the next challenge.

As I’ve mentioned I’m somewhat of a fan of games like Wanderer. I enjoy battling massive creatures through a series of carefully timed attacks, blocks, and dodges. I also enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes with finally besting my seemingly invincible target. On top of all that it’s also a great looking game with some very detailed environments and character models. I also thought it was fantastic how replaying an encounter on a higher difficulty actually changed up the enemy’s attack patterns as well as making them hit harder and soak up more damage. I just didn’t have much fun playing it.

A bad control scheme can totally break a game, and sadly it totally breaks Wanderer. The camera rotation stick sits inside of a semi-ring of special ability buttons, which isn’t an ideal location to begin with. It’s also hyper sensitive and makes keeping eyes on the enemy incredibly difficult. Similarly the swipe attacks don’t always register, and when they do they only connect like half the time. Seriously, I’ve watched my blade pass harmlessly through a rock giant’s leg several times now. I’ve also been injured because I touched the back of that same giant’s leg as he was walking away from me. So there’s also shoddy hit detection to deal with. A camera lock-on or even the ability to adjust the sensitivity would help immensely.

Wanderer: War Song is the kind of game I want to like, but it goes to great lengths to keep me from doing so. The controls are a mess, the hitboxes need adjusting, and getting booted back to the main menu after each level is a pain. I’d say wait for an update or two before investing any money here.

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