God of Blades (universal) by White Whale Games is one of the first successful Kickstarter campaigns to make its way to iOS, a side-scrolling platformer built in part by former BioWare employees. Steeped in the over the top style and atmosphere of mid-20th century science fiction – where go, God of Blades is a unique little action-packed auto runner.
Unlike the niche 1970s novels the game draws its inspiration from, God of Blades keeps its mystical, convoluted story accessible through its simple gameplay and difficulty progression. Players control The Nameless King, a man whose goals appear to involve striking down just about anything that comes along his way, which is done with swipes up, down, or across the screen, activating his different sword strikes.
Through The Nameless King’s journey, players will encounter a variety of enemies in the game’s four different zones, which consist of five to eight levels a piece. There’s a progression system involved, which opens different swords to use during the journey. Interestingly, some swords can only be opened through the use of Foursquare – for example, one involves the user checking in at a library to gain access.
In each level, the goal is simple: slash from beginning to end, timing swipes to avoid and counter enemy attacks. It can be a little simplistic at times, never expanding on its core gameplay mechanics once they’ve been introduced. It would’ve been nice to see some depth added to the combat – like the presence of elemental weapons and enemies, adding some incentive to develop strategies for approaching each level with.
Even though its gameplay gets repetitive at times – in both the campaign and endless modes – the game’s personality and aesthetics pick up the slack. Each background is beautifully detailed, and the player/enemy animations are smooth, making the occasional slow motion highlight during each level look almost artistic. The well-developed story and mythology is interesting, too – even if it doesn’t add a lot to the game experience emotionally, it’s always entertaining to get lost in a outlandish sci-fi tale once in awhile.
There are a lot of retro-inspired titles in the App Store, and God of Blades is certainly one of the more original nostalgic homages I’ve played before. At times its artistry will outshine its gameplay, but God of Blades is a solid action platformer that just about anyone can pick up any play, thanks to its intuitive touch controls and well-developed atmosphere.