Developer: Alpha Dog Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 5, iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Wraithborne is an action-RPG published by Crescent Moon Games, and it comes boasting an impressive visual style thanks to Alpha Dog Games’ work on it in the Unreal Engine. Players control the eponymous wraith-born hero, who seeks to destroy other wraiths because…well, there’s cutscenes that explain this, but like many fantasy tales, the reason is usually irrelevant. Insert a creative reason here! They took the Wraithborne’s lunch money and now they must pay!

While action-RPG may be the most accurate genre descriptor for Wraithborne, it’s far more tilted to the ‘action’ side of the scale. The RPG elements come in through basic currency collection and an upgrade system for the various runes. In reality, considering how standard it is for games to have RPG elements at all, it’s barely an RPG at all!

The runes serve as the defining element of the combat system. Each one calls on the player to draw on the screen, and then to trace the shape of the rune, which either activates an immediate-use ability, like summoning meteors from the sky, or causes the skill activated by holding block and moving the joystick skill to change. These don’t use the MP meter, but activating some attacks will reset the block skill to default. Otherwise, there’s that block button, and light and hard attacks that can be chained together.

One of the advantages of the Unreal Engine versus something like Unity is that UE is built for powerful graphics, and it shows here. The graphics are extremely detailed, and there’s plenty of effects going on, even on A5 devices. iPad Mini owners, this game will look rather nice.

However, the game seems to make it difficult to figure out what’s next to do; an objective marker would help out greatly at times where there’s multiple paths. It’s just way too easy to get lost at times when many of the paths look the same. The runes are kind of challenging to draw, not due to their shape as much as poor touch detection comes into play. Also, the enemies just feel kind of generic, which is disappointing considering how good the game otherwise looks.

And really, the whole experience is technically sound, but something felt lacking. It’s a solid game with a pretty face, but it is missing that special element that makes some games great.

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