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iPhone  header logo

Dark Raider

For: iPhone

Alone in the dark

Product: Dark Raider | Developer: Rocking Pocket Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
Dark Raider iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you’re a fan of long walks, you’ll probably know what it feels like the moment you realise you’re lost. It’s like an icy tap on the shoulder from an invisible stranger.

You start imagining what people will say at your funeral, once they’ve found your body, torn apart by fox cubs. Dark Raider brings about this same sensation, though with spiders and snakes instead of fox cubs.

You control an Indiana Jones wannabe who's been cast out for pursuing radical experiments and is now pursuing the secret of immortality. Using two virtual analogue sticks to move and shoot, you traipse through top-down levels in the hopes of becoming a god.

The controls are imprecise by nature, making exact movements difficult. Thanks to this, everything from dodging fireballs to pushing rocks feels ham-fisted, which in turn makes the game’s inherent repetition all the more laborious.

There are options for using the accelerometer and a single analogue stick, though the dual set up is preferable for mowing down the run-of-the-mill creatures you come up against.

The game opens to a world selection screen - or a 'map screen', if you prefer. You start wandering about and jump to the first dungeon to find spiders and snakes accompanied by a few standard push-block-A-to-point-B-to-open-door-C puzzles.

Within a few minutes, you find the exit and are transported back to the map screen. It looks the same. You don’t seem to have collected anything from the level either. Confused, you have a fuller trek around the map screen to find eight different worlds, all open to explore.

You start sampling a few, but each time you simply find your way to the exit, without having really accomplished anything, only to be transported back to the same map environment. You then remember the nonsensical brief text blurb you read when you started the game - something about parallel universes and being rewarded for visiting all the worlds.

So you visit all the worlds, and what happens? Nothing. Dark Raider is a game that’s so bad at explaining itself that you can spend an hour with it without really realising how to play it. Unfortunately, the answer is an uninspiring one.

To gain any sense of progress in Dark Raider, you have to play the same level eight times. Sure, the level design iterates each time you play the level, but in spite of some extra enemies and a few extra rooms, you still feel like you’re retreading the same old paths. Treading them in the first place wasn’t all that impressive.

Even though the game dynamics are lacklustre and the visuals bland, you can't hate the game. The idea that it tries to execute - something akin to iDracula with more substance and a fedora - is interesting. It just gets lost on the way.
Dark Raider
Reviewer photo
Andrew Williams | 20 May 2009
Dark Raider’s intentions are in the right place, but with an aimless structure that yields monotonous gameplay
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