Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Genre: Action RPG
iTunes Rating: 12+
Release date: Available now
If I was less masculine, Braveheart by Gaijin Entertainment might just make me “squee”. However, I’d like to consider myself too manly for fanboy reactions (after all, I carry a Leatherman AND pocket knife). But I think I can properly convey my enthusiasm for this game by telling you to stop whatever you are doing (in addition to reading this review) and go buy Braveheart! At six bucks it would have been worth the money, but at two bucks, it’s a steal. The gameplay mechanics and the depth of play are fantastic for an iOS game.
Let me get into the story by first saying, no, this game is not about a Scottish rebel trying to recapture the freedom of his people. You are Richard, a knight who has had too much ale, which leads to publicly fondling the King’s daughter and floundering your way into a quest for the Holy Grail. To search for the grail is to face great danger and risk death, but for Richard, refusing the quest and accepting the punishment for groping the princess would lead to a similar fate. The Great Dragon guards the Holy Grail, but of course the lizard is MIA and you must journey through treacherous jungles, swamps and desserts, slaying innumerable foes, before you can face the Great Dragon. Along the way you’ll discover treasures and other junk too!
Braveheart uses the same fixed, top-down camera angle of games like Diablo, and movement is facilitated by either tapping on the ground, or swiping a finger in the direction you’d like to move. Swiping is usually adequate for movement while in combat, but the more accurate tapping is better suited for collecting loot. Combat is achieved in two ways, depending on if you’re using the ranged or melee attacks. Melee attacks are achieved by swirling your finger, which starts your character spinning like a top. Once you’ve become a whirling tornado of pawnage, you just move around the map clobbering anything you can reach. Ranged attacks are made by using two fingers, where one finger serves as an anchor that initiates the attack, and the second finger taps on your enemies, specifying the direction of your shot.
The game controls and plays beautifully. The first time I loaded the app on my phone, I saw the top-down camera angle and thought “crap, the controls are going to suck, I can feel it.” But once the game walked me through the mechanics, I was all smiles. In my experience with iOS RPG games, they usually suffer from the small screen size and the awkward controls that result. With Braveheart, however, Gaijin has found an extremely enjoyable way to attack and move while avoiding problems with players’ hands covering up both the screen and the bad guys. The title’s weapon and skill customization combined with its sliding difficulty scale, keeps things entertaining avoids any repetitiveness of enemies and environments. The bosses and enemies across the 4 levels require varied tactics and combinations of melee and ranged attacks, which keeps the combat fresh and engaging.
If I had one complaint about the game, it’s that the registering of attacks on enemies seems to be inconsistent. There were multiple times when Excalibur clearly sliced through an enemy, but no attack was registered. Attacking with a crossbow takes some getting used to, and I know the developers purposely made it so that not every shot was a direct hit, but the accuracy of registering hits from a crossbow also seemed to have its problems. But, after hours of play, I can assure you that this issue with the combat mechanics is almost unnoticeable, and it never altered the result of my battles.
If you’re a fan of the fantasy RPG genre, this game is a must have for your iOS library. Even if you’re not into Ren Fairs, LARP and you’ve never played Oblivion, I still think this game deserves to be in your library. Look at some of the screenshots; if they look appealing, I can safely say that you will not be disappointed with the game. You just might even end up being surprised, like I was, that games of this quality DO exist for the iPhone.