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God of Blades

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Synths of the father

Product: God of Blades | Developer: In-house | Publisher: White Whale Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
God of Blades iPhone, thumbnail 1
God of Blades has style. It's a reverent wink to the pulpy, overwrought fantasy novels of a bygone age, fused to the squelchy ambience of a portentous prog-synth soundtrack and the deranged dreamscape surrealism of a thousand '70s concept album LP covers.

It's also an auto-run hack-and-slasher. See if you can guess which God of Blades does best.

Summoned by long-dead gods from the endless expanse of the Void, the Nameless King awakens once more - his task inscrutable and his sword skills, it quickly transpires, flawed. Go with it, though, and there's some fun to be had in God of Blades's mechanically wonky but well-meaning action.

Finger of fate

Logical directional screen swipes dole out damage in the form of four distinct attacks, regardless of your choice of upgradable blades: an arching overhead swing, an enemy-tossing uppercut, a slow but far-reaching swirl of your blade, and a spark-flying parry.

That's your entire arsenal - aside from an all-consuming, cool down-style magical attack - and your only means of overcoming each level's relentless charge of ever-more-deadly enemies.

Early on, it's a system that shines through sheer simplicity, delivering a rock-paper-scissor-style combat system that's largely dependent on timing.

As enemies rush in from the right, it's all about identifying their weaknesses and lining up your most effective attacks - success delivering a genuinely satisfying thrill as you effortlessly slice through your demonic assailants. It's here that God of Blades is at its strongest.

But later stages introduce all manner of contrivances that only serve to highlight the combat system's shortcomings. Advanced opponents still fall faster with strategic attack-matching, but the game's previously elegant swordsmanship stumbles in the face of their supercharged aggression.

Crash of the titans

Mostly, it's an issue of fluidity - or rather, lack of it - as animation quirks hamper your ability to deliver a seamless chain of defensive and offensive manoeuvres.

Where a tighter strategic focus is needed, the game devolves into bursts of wild, repetitive swinging. That enemies still rarely pose much of a challenge really exposes the flawed design underpinning the game.

There's a still a visceral thrill to proceedings, as your relentless onslaught continues courtesy of the game's fearsomely committed presentation.

Those shimmering, spectacular dreamscapes pulsate with thrilling detail - from writhing Void beasts to the shattered charge of a thousand allied armies - and, of course, it's all underpinned by the thrumming urgency of that woozy score.

Ultimately, God of Blades is an example of style so closely married to substance that it can carry the game, despite some mechanical problems.

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God of Blades
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 3 October 2012
A relentlessly stylish sensory assault that's so in tune with its underlying mechanics that it works, despite the game's obvious flaws
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