God of Blades is a side-scrolling action title made by Texan developer White Whale Games featuring a nameless king, a dying world, and whole lot of lacerations. Players will traverse through 24 levels fighting a merciless cult of demonic slayers with the power of numerous swords discovered from a nearly lost civilization. With the addition of an endless Eternal mode (Horde), real world unlocks, and gorgeous graphics, it’s hard to fathom how it all fits on a phone.
Every level will automatically run you across the screen leaving you to do your only job for the entire game, swipe. Sounds simple enough, but without total control over your character’s movements, the timing and choice of your attacks must be absolutely precise. Sliding your finger horizontally across your view will initiate a powerful attack, but leave you open to retaliation if you miss. Swiping upward isn’t as deadly, but provides the chance to launch your foe into other unsuspecting enemies to slow their progress. With a few other offensive options and the all-important defensive block, more challenging villains will demand a well-planned variety of all of these to ensure victory.
There are three types of swords to choose from at the beginning of every level: heavy, medium, and light. Heavy is slow but packs a mean punch, light is weak but can slice someone up quick, and medium splits the difference between the two. Rather than cater to personal preference, each type is simply another decision to make or break your win. Some levels throw enemies at you more frequently than others almost requiring a faster blade. More blades can be unlocked as you travel through the campaign, but after having at least one of each weight class, subsequent weapons feel a tad redundant.
The game’s lore explains every new sharp acquisition as “unlocking memories” and every new blade comes with a bite-sized story surrounding the forgotten item. To fuel this feeling of researching old relics, White Whale has implemented a feature called “Loreseeker” allowing players to visit their local library and learn more about the world you’re fighting for. All you have to do is connect to the public wi-fi and new swords and information will be waiting.
It’s an interesting idea to attempt to bridge the gap between reality and fiction but because the swords unlocked through “Loreseeer” don’t offer a whole lot more than what can be achieved through standard gameplay, the only enticing benefit is the prospect of more narrative, which is sparse. It’s understandable that the developers didn’t want to shut out anyone who couldn’t make it down to the library, but if the unlocks were more worthwhile, the feature would have had more luster.
Stabbed in style
While defending your world from diabolical oppression, enemies will come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and exploit any opening you grant them in your swordplay. Unfortunately, the variety of antagonists doesn’t exactly translate into a variety of gameplay. A large chunk of goons can be dispatched with the same swipes throughout the entire level until the final boss. This causes most foes to be cannon fodder void of any real danger. Thankfully, successfully landing attacks on your subjects is so captivating, the repetition won’t destroy the experience as much as merely hinder it.
Due to the stark difficulty contrast between bosses and their henchmen, the game’s pacing takes a toll as players can expect to get halfway through a level without a scratch only to be met with a relentless final obstacle. There is a small amount of grinding that can be done in the game’s Eternal mode allowing you to chop up waves of opponents in exchange for more XP towards new blades. However, as stated before, most of these weapons will offer very little over what you already have to get past a boss that’s way too challenging.
The area where GoB really shines (literally) is the eye candy. The sun pours through the clouds on a destroyed battlefield as you dismember enemies left and right sending them into the unforgiving hazards in the background. Blood will spill out of your victims and bodies will fly head over feet as you deliver your final blow. Very few games can claim this kind of amazing visual prowess on an iOS device presenting a look that is rich and rare on the platform.
Running in real time on a phone
GoB provides hours of satisfying entertainment but is far from a home run. Almost everything in the game can be unlocked through playing the campaign and therefore provides very little replay value after you’ve conquered it. The Eternal mode is fun but won’t keep you busy for very long beyond the age old intention of trying to get as high of a score as possible. The abruptly difficult bosses will frustrate some and the countless flimsy thugs will disappoint others. God of Blades has plenty to enjoy, but it shouldn’t be sitting at the top of anyone’s priority list.
Gorgeous graphics | satisfying combat
Difficulty is all over the place | low replay value
Little David Galanter grew up in Orange County, CA loving videogames and anything else that repelled girls. After getting his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts, David decided to start contributing his soft silky words to the world via online media. He currently owns a website with a weekly podcast (www.drgman.com) and is a reviewer for Default Prime!
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