Tag: Action Game »
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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At first I was disappointed. Dark Avenger looks like a pretty cool dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash RPG, but it’s broken up into these tiny little stages and there’s virtually no story outside of a guy going around killing what looks to be undead. Then I noticed the option to replay levels in a Time Attack mode and it all clicked; this isn’t a conventional hack-and-slash RPG, it’s more like somebody stuffed the genre into an arcade cabinet. And despite a few minor complaints I’d say they did a darned good job of it.
As I’ve mentioned the world of Dark Avenger is riddled with the undead. Or so it would seem, anyway. The rather aggressive protagonist’s motivations aren’t made entirely clear but that’s okay because there’s killin’ to be done! Like most other iOS action RPGs the interface uses a simple virtual stick/giant attack button surrounded by ability icons control scheme. Players slice their way through each relatively brief level in an attempt to open up the next and gather loot and gold along the way. Later levels, in turn, provide better loot and more gold but can be a lot tougher.
The going is a little slow at first but once the player’s character levels up a bit and gains a few more skills Dark Avenger really starts to come into its own. Yes, it’s another Diablo-like on iOS, but the emphasis on smaller levels and replayability is surprisingly clever and works quite well. Especially the Infinity Tower that pits players against increasingly tough waves of enemies for lots of gold and medals (or something like that) that can be used to buy better gear.
The way Dark Avenger is broken up and the rather small levels might be off-putting to some but I still think they fit the mobile platform well. However I’m not too crazy about the rather stiff combat system. Using the same exact three-hit combo over and over again feels repetitive, this same combo ends with a knockback that forces the player to chase after their targets, and skills can’t be triggered during an attack so it’s impossible to cancel out a combo with a special attack. I’ve eaten way too many flaming golem fists simply because I couldn’t trigger my character’s dash move during a combo.
It may not sport the most responsive combat system in the world but Dark Avenger still manages to be fun thanks to its arcade-like nature. There’s lots of loot to earn and possibly upgrade, and plenty of skills to unlock and train. Plus the Infinity Tower is practically a game unto itself.
I freaking love mech games. It’s just a shame that this is a largely ignored genre on the App Store. Or at least it was, until Small Impact Games took it upon themselves to show it some love.
M3CH looks to be the answer to iOS mech combat fans’ prayers. Of course showing a little love yourself on the developer’s Kickstarter page might speed things up a bit. It evokes a similar feeling to other gritty/semi-realistic mech piloting titles and sports some pretty impressive production values. I had to pry myself away to ask M3CH’s animator, James Rowbotham, about Small Impact Games’ baby.
Were there any particularly major influences in the design of M3CH's world? I know it's not exactly the same but I'm getting a pretty strong Steel Battalion vibe from it.
At the time 3D iOS games exploded, we were playing a very mixed bag of games but fortunately they were all with the same genre, Mechs! We just loved the direction the iOS store was heading, it was screaming for a game with user-friendly touch-screen controls but with the in depth details you get in our favourite mech games.
Surprisingly however, Killzone 2 was a big inspiration in terms of AI and cover based action. What some mech games lack is the use of buildings as cover and enemy’s that work together to out flank you, something we saw that had been untapped in the genre (a lot of open spaces/terrain), so we looked at the great AI in Killzone and their behaviour and found a way to work it into our game.
You folks have done a bang-up job with the control scheme. Was it the product of rigorous testing and polishing or did you know right from the start how you wanted to handle it?
The aim with M3CH since the beginning has been to try and create an iOS game that doesn't feel like it’s an iOS game, and more like a console experience. Touchscreen controls are notorious for being hard to use and something that we really wanted to nail. We went through a lot of different iterations to get to where we are now; having both shoot buttons on one side, holding down shoot instead of the auto toggle system, putting the shoot buttons on the thumbsticks and a lot more. We are keeping open minded about it and although we are getting later into development if we have an idea for an even better control set then we will be sure to test it out!
Were there any mech designs you wanted to include that ended up being scrapped?
There are quite a few that didn't make it into the game (we already have 40 different mechs in the game). At the moment we have a mix of legs styles such as reversed legs in the game but [an] animalistic style is something we are keen on in terms of animation and how the mechs behave.
What exactly are your plans for the multiplayer?
We are hitting some technical limitations which means it most likely be 1-on-1 to start with. We would love to get a larger number of players battling at the same time (8v8 is the dream!), especially where the winning players get new weapons unlocked and credits to spend. At the moment its deathmatch style gameplay but we have plans set for objective based multiplayer.
Are you allowed to talk pricing?
It’s still early days but we are hoping for around the £1.99 [$2.99] price range. One thing we are certain of however is that we don't want pushy monetization and in-app purchasing interrupting your gameplay experience, all mechs and weapons are attainable without too much grinding and we reward dedicated hard working players with big payouts.
How about a release date?
As for a released date, a lot of that depends on the kickstarter campaign, if we are successful then we are aiming for an April release this year.
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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I wasn’t entirely sold on Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan right away. Those all-important first minutes were mostly a confusing mixture of important story elements that had zero context and coming to grips with the game’s slightly awkward movement controls. But I stuck with it, and I’m glad that I did. Turns out it’s actually a pretty awesome adventure game.
Ku, engineer’s apprentice, troubled kid, and hero in-the-making, is ripped away from his hammering one day when a bunch of really nasty warning sirens start to blare. A key component to his village’s generator, a power source that the entire settlement was built around, has gone missing. Fast forward a bit and he’s the only one who can venture outside the safety of the village walls and attempt to recover or possibly steal a replacement. All of Ku’s controls are gesture-based, with tapping or tapping and holding on the screen for movement, tapping enemies to attack, double-tapping to roll, tapping and holding specific objects to move them around the screen, and swiping in a general direction to fire off some kind of electric jai-alai stun ball. It’s a lot handier than it sounds.
The models and animations are a teensy bit awkward due to their being constructed of a number of assorted hand-drawn elements, but they still look good. And the environments are pretty fantastic on their own. A lot of attention went into Ku’s visuals and it shows. I also thought it was impressive to be playing an iOS adventure game that actually had me caring about the story. I wouldn’t exactly call it riveting or anything, but there’s an interesting plot at work here that actually had me thinking about what might happen next. On top of that it’s actually a pretty fun adventure game
Of course being fun doesn’t mean it’s flawless. I definitely give bitSmith credit for making the controls fairly forgiving, but sometimes they can still be troublesome. Specifically I’m referring to the roll, which has a tendency to either not work when I want it to during combat or to work at exactly the wrong time in the middle of a fight. Another problem I ran into was the environments. They’re most definitely well illustrated but they also have a tendency to be fairly large and spread out, which becomes an issue when there’s no map or even a zoom out option.
Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan isn’t a perfect iOS adventure game, but it’s definitely a good one. I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who might have enjoyed others in the genre like Horn or even Bastion, so long as they remember that it’s a slightly different beast with a smaller budget (and a massive heart).