More action RPG fun.
As mentioned in my review of Dungeon Hunter 2, my iPhone gaming of late has been consumed with what I consider to be two very good action RPGs. The first was the aforementioned Dungeon Hunter 2, which is reviewed here. The second was a slight surprise for a number of reasons and is known as Braveheart, by Gaijin Entertainment.
The first surprise that I had when starting the game was the complete absence of Mel Gibson. In actual fact the game has nothing to do with William Wallace and his fight to free the Scottish people. Instead it revolves around a quest for the Holy Grail. Everything goes badly wrong for the hero of the story, Richard, when an alcohol induced fumbling of the Princess results in him either having to find the fabled relic for the King, or face punishment befitting an unwanted royal fumble. Although the quest will lead Richard into great peril resulting in having to wrestle the artifact from a Dragon, it was the preferable of the two options.
So off he goes on his quest for the Holy Grail. Along the way there will be monsters aplenty to deal with, and treasure to gather. Each stage will revolve around Richard having to fight off waves of enemies before progressing to the next. Controls are simple, with either a swipe or tap moving Richard into the desired position. The second thing to surprise me was the combat. Richard can employ both melee and ranged attacks. The ranged attacks involve using two fingers, one stationary and one showing the direction of fire. This method was slightly haphazard and took a bit of getting used to, especially once the enemies are coming hard and fast. Thankfully, I rarely used this method as I was more than happy with the melee combat.
Basically, the player moves their finger around Richard in a circular motion and gets him spinning like a crazy, armed top. Any enemies that come near will likely get a painful clomp in the head. By keep topping the spinning up with some more gestures, Richard becomes a death-dealing maelstrom. Whilst still spinning he is able to move around the battlefield, collecting treasures that are dropped by his fallen foes.
The moving whilst spinning also serves another purpose. Whilst it is safe to say that most of the enemies are mindless drones that will happily run straight towards their death, there are the occasional enemies that stand to the side and cast magic at Richard and some fast moving enemies that just want to spoil the fun. The best way of dealing with these guys is to move around the battlefield.
Collecting the treasures that are dropped by the enemies has it’s benefits aswell. Beyond gathering cash for the inevitable weapon upgrades or potions, there are also certain power-ups that can be activated that last the duration of the battle. These are littered around the battlefield amongst the belongings of fallen enemies, but Richard also has his own perks that can be activated, such as instant healing or doing damage to any enemy that damages him. All of this adds to the variety of the game.
Variety that is further expanded by a decent range of environments in which to fight, and a good collection of enemies and bosses that will be encountered during the quest. Leveling up will allow players to become more powerful and deal with the more difficult levels to come. But what about if the level the player has reached is just too difficult? Well fortunately Braveheart has it’s very own grinding section known as hunting. The player can hunt within any area that has already been unlocked and when searching for a hunt the player is informed of how difficult it will be and given the choice to search for another. This allows the player to level up inbetween the main story and keep up with the games increasing difficulty.
That’s quite a lot of content already, but Gaijin didn’t finish there. As a little sweetener they even added some challenge modes to enjoy. These are as simple as surviving as long as possible or finishing the waves in a given time. They may not be exactly deep or offer anything different from the main game, but they are a welcome extra that adds something else to the Braveheart pie.
From a visual point of view, the game is nothing special, looking exactly how so many other games in this genre do on the iOS. The sprites are small and lack definition and the environments are not exactly exciting. A bit more colour would have been nice.
But ignoring the looks and not even bothering with ranged combat, being able to spin around like a crazy person and deal death to anyone that comes close makes the game more than worthwhile. The very act of clobbering hundreds of enemies with a flail or sword by spinning around really fast makes any issues that the game has fade into insignificance. The levels are small enough that the quick-hit gamer can get a couple done and then quit, whilst the gameplay is deep enough to please those looking for a longer gaming session.
It may not be perfect, but once you get spinning Braveheart becomes one of the most enjoyable action RPGs that I have played on the iPhone.
Braveheart, from Gaijin Entertainment, is available on the App Store for just 59p at the time of writing.