Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel is a constant running side scrolling adventure game by Drakkar Dev on the iphone and ipad. The ancient medieval fortress known as ‘The Citadel’ has been overpowered by a massive army of the evil Incubus called the Vash.
You start your adventure playing Loreena Eysgaard, captain of the royal guards. She has been imprisoned for a crime she never committed and is forced to run for her life. The Citadel is under an attack and enemy catapults are hitting the side of the prison’s walls. Around you, corridors are collapsing as you make your escape from the dungeons, trying to avoid all of the obstacles and escaped prisoners along the way.
The aim of the game is to constantly keep Loreena running through a selection of dungeons and corridors. She is continuously running across the screen and must pass many hazards that would prevent her from making a quick escape. Touching the ipad interface, Loreena can jump to avoid low hazards by simply swiping upwards. Timing is essential, otherwise Loreena will stumble and take damage. My initial attempts were met with failure as I adjusted to the responsiveness of the touchscreen. Loreena is faced with a huge number of different objects to avoid such as rubble from the damaged walls and gaping wide holes all of which will need to be jumped over if Loreena is to continue her escape unhindered. Some obstacles may be larger than others and will require a double jump to successfully clear. This is accomplished by simply swiping twice in an upwards motion, allowing Loreena to jump much further.
Then there are a number of spiked gates that need to be avoided or risk being impaled. A quick swipe downwards on the touch screen will allow Loreena to gracefully slide underneath certain obstacles, as long as the timing is right. Mistiming the slide will result in Loreena standing up too early and catching her head on the obstacle, likely ending in concussion and a stumble to the floor. The fun really begins when sliding and jumping needs to be performed in quick succession due to the placement of the obstacles. This will require pinpoint timing and quick fingers to cope with all of the swiping.
Along the way, the player will come across armed guards and enemies who will attempt to stop Loreena in her tracks. Sliding beneath or jumping over these opponents is an option, depending on the way they attack. But the simplest way to take care of these opponents is using a side swipe to swing her sword and knock them to the ground. Tapping the dagger button, you can throw daggers at standing opponents which can cause minor enemies to be killed from a distance. Very handy, if you don’t know what’s coming around the corner. There is also a magic button which Loreena can use to disintegrate her enemies. Then there are the bosses, who have their own health gauge and will require Loreena to stand and fight. Some of these bosses proved to be extremely hard and resulted in my death on more than one occasion.
Loreena gains bravery as she faces dangerous hazards and when her bravery bar is complete she gains a destiny point. These destiny points are like extra lives and allow the player to re-attempt the sequence that brought her journey to a halt. There are many different achievements to be unlocked through the game, giving it a constantly rewarding feeling.
Visually the game looks stunning. Unlike other perpetual movement games which tend to have rather small sprites, all of the characters in Guardians are large and highly detailed. The backgrounds too are impressive and fit in well with the overall theme of the game. The soundtrack, whilst not as impressive as the graphics, does a good job of enhancing the atmosphere.
During the game, I felt that I didn’t really connect with the storyline, but enjoyed the engaging gameplay. Although slightly repetitive at times, the game does offer some amazing graphics and interesting cutscenes to absorb yourself in. I quite liked how the game incorporated the various weapons and magic, but did find the constant running to be a bit tiresome after a while. Whilst Guardians offers much more than your average constant running game, I did find myself hoping that some different gameplay styles would be incorporated to provide a more varied feel.
Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel is a good game that certainly offers more than most perpetual movement games. However, the appeal is still limited by the gameplay. If you have enjoyed any other game of this genre, such as Canabalt, I Must Run or the more recent One Epic Game, then you will no doubt enjoy Guardians.
Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel is available for both iPhone and iPad on the App Store at £2.99