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Prince of Persia Retro

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Step back

Product: Prince of Persia Retro / Classic | Developer: Ubisoft | Publisher: Ubisoft | Format: Android | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | File size: 55.3MB | Reviewed on: K810i other handsets | Version: US
Prince of Persia Retro / Classic Android, thumbnail 1
Retro has evolved into a term of endearment in gaming. Pixel graphics and bit tunes are so vogue that new games actively seek to replicate the charms of old titles.

Yet retro also means a step back, a devolution. Returning to an earlier state isn't always a bad thing, but the implication is often negative.

Prince of Persia Retro
is both: a triumphant return to the original game that started a phenomenal franchise and a regressive port with backward controls that single-handedly ruin a classic.

Appreciating the game that was Prince of Persia is very different from experiencing the unplayable port that is Prince of Persia Retro.

Sands of time

Given 60 minutes to decide whether to marry the evil vizier or succumb to his fatal magic, the sultan's daughter pleads for a saviour. That's you. With nothing more than a turban around your head, a red sleeveless shirt, and a pair of pantaloons, you're off to navigate 13 levels filled with spikes, crumbling floors, and armed guards in order to save the princess.

It's not a lengthy game, since the 60 minute time limit is real. Finish in time and you save the girl, but take too long and you receive a different ending.

However, the amazingly deficient controls will keep you from playing much longer than six minutes, let alone 60.

Lateral movement is handled via a set of left and right arrow keys at the left, whereas up and down arrows can be used for jumping and other manoeuvres.

On iPhone, the inability to adjust the opacity of the virtual buttons creates problems with seeing obstacles at the edges of the screen. This is less of an issue on iPad where the larger screen accommodates a better view.


What sounds reasonable is quite the contrary. The control scheme is ill-equipped for the precision platforming at hand. Tapping left or right to move the prince always results in him running. This is hugely problematic since it prevents you from walking up to the edge of a pathway: the prince will just run off the edge. In a game where falling equals death, this is unacceptable.

Jumping is equally as unintuitive. To leap over a gap, you have to press 'up' and then the direction you wish to move.

The only control mechanism that works is the 'attack' button, which is tied to a tap anywhere on the screen. Once you find a weapon, you pick it up with a tap and can attack enemies accordingly.

With such flawed controls, you'd be hard-pressed to glean any pleasure from Prince of Persia Retro. It's a shame given its still relevant, still challenging gameplay. The game is definitely good, but the port stinks.
Prince of Persia Retro
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 1 June 2010
Prince of Persia Retro renders a classic unplayable by virtue of horrendous controls
Have Your Say
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Anonymous | 02:53 - 14 June 2010
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Anonymous | 06:49 - 2 June 2010
This port is round 10 stars!
My only problem is there is no 60 minutes limit! But I can check for an hour by myself.
Anonymous | 01:55 - 2 June 2010
Hey people, I found the game to be very well done on iPhone.
My only problem is that I have no sound/music... Any idea?
Anonymous | 14:18 - 1 June 2010
I agree with the two comments above, there is single step forward by pressing the "action" button at the same time than the movement button.

The help in the game is very poorly explained, one just needs to try a bit harder to find the "single step" command.

If this port did not have "single step" the score should be a resounding 0, let alone a 5.
Anonymous | 12:40 - 1 June 2010
You can take a single step forward by pressing and holding anywhere on the screen (the "action button") and pressing a direction. Does that help you enjoy this amazing game more?

Yes, the controls are flawed, but not nearly as badly as you say. I would recommend playing longer than six minutes before writing a review.