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).