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For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Swing when you're winning

Product: Braveheart | Developer: Gaijin Entertainment | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0, 1.0
Braveheart iPhone, thumbnail 1
I suspect when Roy Wood penned the lyrics to the inimitable "l Wish it Could Be Christmas Every Day," his aim was to serve up something catchy and memorable rather than to express a genuine desire.

Chances are, after just a few weeks of non-stop mince pies, Christmas pudding, and lashings of chocolate, most of the nation's toilets would be blocked and our stomachs would comprise more flab than a whole Jeremy Kyle audience.

The old adage of too much of a good thing carries just as much weight in Braveheart.

Tackling the first few stages of this action role-playing game is a genuine joy. Wait half an hour and your finger is close to falling off, your patience more than likely tried on several occasions, and the reason for playing in the first place called into question.

Greatest swinger in town

Each level carries a simple task: destroy waves of henchmen. You do this by touching the screen to move your bearded hero into attack position, then drawing gestures to hit enemies with either a crossbow or flail.

The number of enemies swarming in your direction makes choosing your weapon straightforward. Using the crossbow is too fiddly in the heat of battle, leaving the flail the weapon of choice.

Swinging the flail is a matter of drawing circles on the screen. It's the only way to kill the leagues of combatants in each level effectviely and there's fun to be had doing so. There's a perverse pleasure in watching each enemy walk into meatgrinder and suffer the bloody consequences.

A stroll on the battlefield

There's little to be gained by simply standing on the spot, though.

As your foes fall to the ground, they leave behind treats – money, health packs, etc. There are also mid-level upgrades that grant temporary bonuses and improve your skills in battle.

It's upgrading your hero between levels that really tugs on the role-playing heartstrings. Credits earned from battle enable you to upgrade your offence, defence, or even the rate at which such experience points are awarded.

It's easy to see, of course, why Braveheart encourages such upgrades. As your own abilities both broaden and strengthen, so the levels themselves also up the ante.

Dance of death

Adding to the big, burly, and frankly stupid enemies that readily march to their death, you also contend with mages that unleash the forces of hell and wild bores who charge and take significant chunks of your health in the process.

The tactic to avoid all such damage is surprisingly simple: you move.

Dashing around at quick pace while spinning your finger around in circles is what Braveheart boils down to. While this spin-dizzy approach initially feels fresh, you find yourself doing the exact same thing hours later.

No number of power-ups, upgrades, or massing armies of shaman's can hide the fact that Braveheart is a promising, pulse-raising adventure that soon outstays its welcome.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 14 December 2010
A fun, but ultimately monotonous one trick pony, Braveheart is best suited to short bursts where its repetitive nature can be sufficiently tolerated
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