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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Draws you in

Product: Darklings | Developer: MildMania | Publisher: MildMania | Format: iPad | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Darklings iPad, thumbnail 1
It's always nice to find a game that does things a bit differently, and Darklings certainly does that. It's a scribbly action game that sees you doodling a variety of symbols onto the screen to fight back various gloomy figures.

These beasts wear their own defeat front and centre, showing you exactly the symbol to trace to vanquish them.

Kill one and you inhabit it for a little while, before it bursts in a shower of stars. You need to grab these stars to fill up your time and your fever meter.

Dark star

The controls are simple Simon Says swipes. See a monster, trace its mark onto the screen. You need to be pretty precise, but there's enough leeway that you'll only occasionally find your scribbles not registering.

Things get frantic pretty quickly as well, because a single touch from any of your foes will kill you. The stark black and white world looks lovely, and the creature designs are gruesome and cute in all the right ways.

IAPs explained
You can buy more stars if you find your coffers a little low. These come in bundles, although you can get some for nothing by sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

The cheapest bundle is 69p / 99c and nets you 5,000 stars. The most expensive is £6.99 / $9.99 and nets you 10,000.

The price is as you'd expect, and you're never nagged to spend anything if you don't want to.
You can equip various powers and buffs by spending some of the stars you collect, but they don't really affect the shape of the game. Boss battles do, though. You're still scrawling out shapes and symbols, but you need to follow strict patterns and orders or it's back to the start of the level.

It's here that the game both shines and falters. The timing on some of the boss fights is too stern, leaving you helplessly scratching at the screen well after you've died. But when things go right they show an ingenuity and malleability that the core of the levels sometimes lacks.

Dark matter

Darklings is an intriguing game, then, and it's one that deserves some attention. It's not perfect, but its mix of side-scrolling plasmatic brawling and finger-swirling touchscreen manipulation can be pretty addictive.

It's not without niggles, but they're usually quickly overcome, and the feeling of freshness here lasts long after most other quick-fire arcade titles lose their sheen.

Throw in an impressive look and a swathe of challenges that keep you on your toes and you're left with a unique title that's well worth picking up.
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 2 December 2013
A fun and clever action game, Darklings shows how much can be accomplished with a touchscreen control system
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Dec 2013
Post count:
Burkay Ozdemir | 13:05 - 2 December 2013
New Updates fixing few major bugs will be available today, thanks PocketGamer!