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Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Like sweet ocarina music to the ears

Product: Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden | Developer: Gameloft China | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden iPhone, thumbnail 1
There are some stories that are so entertaining we can't help but want to relive them time and time again.

St Nick's whirlwind gift-giving tour on Christmas, the bloody reign of Count Dracula, Aladdin's magical hijinks with the genie in the lamp - tales told a thousand times over, yet we're captivated by their imaginative twists and turns in spite of their familiarity.

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is a familiar gaming adventure. The quest to save a princess in peril, her kingdom under threat from an otherworldly demon, draws you in not because it's a wildly innovative experience, but because the sheer quality of gameplay makes revisiting this tale worthwhile.


As the eponymous hero Ayden, you're called forth to save the magical land of Lasgalen from the ancient demon Amonbane. Defeating it means collecting a series of powerful artefacts hidden deep within dungeons and temples across the land. Action-adventure in its purest form, Sacred Odyssey delivers a nice blend of open world roaming and hard-hitting combat.

It's a notch above button-mashing - you jam on attack and defend buttons to battle enemies, switching among weapons you acquire along the journey including a legendary sword, gauntlet, and boomerang. Boss battles make use of these and other items, testing your ability to come up with tactics and act quickly.

Since some obstacles can only be overcome with specific weapons, you're pushed into varying your attacks. It's enough variety to keep things interesting, without forcing you to constantly switch weapons. The ability to evade and block also prevents the combat system from being completely shallow.

Target audience

You automatically target the nearest enemy when attacking, which is fine when you're facing a single foe. Take on a handful of orcs, however, and directing your attacks is much harder. Although you can move the analogue stick to change the direction of your attack, it results in a lot of missed attacks. 

As such, it's better to work with automated targeting system, using Ayden's shield to block attacks and evade when surrounded by a group of enemies. Tough enemies that appear deep in the game also stress the need to balance offensive blows with defensive moves, moving it beyond just a dull button-masher.

Challenging combat together with an assortment of tasks and rich exploration - solving puzzles, galloping across the fields and hills of Lasgalen on the back of trusty stead Miya (there's a second horse hilariously named Moto), searching for hidden treasure chests - are enough to keep you playing.

Not until your chores are finished

Not all of these tasks are a pleasure, though. The game's sprawling dungeons are impressive, but some feel like a chore to complete. The chilly, snow-covered Temple of Altemagus, for example, is one giant mirror puzzle. It's not bad, just unexciting. Tweaking mirrors on two floors to line up a beam of light feels more like work than fun.

Tons of side quests and a lengthy story ensure there are plenty of hours of gameplay, though the dungeons often are a grind. You want to enjoy them, but ultimately you work through them to get to the good stuff - the boss battles, story scenes, and combat scenarios in which you're grossly outnumbered.

It helps that Gameloft has taken great care with the voice acting (it's actually good!) and the graphics are eye-catching. There are regular hiccoughs when travelling between areas and noticeable pop-up on the horizon, though it hardly ruins the experience.

Any criticism for drawing inspiration from Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series is less salient than the game's inability to provide more interesting puzzles. Still, Sacred Odyssey is a game of quality, so thoroughly packed with good gameplay that it's hard to not recommend.
Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 4 February 2011
Sacred Odyssey skilfully balances action and exploration for an adventure that's defined by its high quality as much as its variety and scale
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Anonymous | 21:31 - 10 March 2011

This is remarkably generic game, even by Gamelofts standards! They might as well change their name to GenericLoft! Lets keep games that so profoundly lacks persona far from Zelda! Not every cheap adventure that involves swords are Zeldas, even if its developers so insists to raise the value of 6,99 app! Even calling this generic Zelda clone honors this game more than it deserves.
Worst animation, btw, I have ever seen in so highly acclaimed game. So all fans, bend over! You are going to get some more of that service you like. And anyone calling them selves Zelda fans in this page are lying in at least one sentence.

Better games please! iPhonePad totally could do that.
Anonymous | 17:06 - 25 February 2011
i am also stuck in the ice dungeon with the mirrors and ive messed them up a bit. i dont know what i can do so cnan someone help me complete this? thanks
Anonymous | 05:19 - 21 February 2011
I am stuck in the dungeon of mirrors too! Any help would be greatly appreciated! I think I have messed with the mirrors so much that they are all out of whack. If you could point me in the direction of a guide, that would be great!
Jul 2008
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lumothesinner | 14:29 - 4 February 2011

zodttd hasnt done done any updates in a while, so gpsp is still just about good enough for turn based games (pokemon, fire emblem, final fan) but anything real time fails. as andy_mars mentions there is snes adx out there with wiimote controls (and classic controller). otherwise wait for icontrol pad then hope for updates to use it.
Until that day when n64iphone runs zelda ocarina at fullspeed with a decent virtual stick, or classic controller support...Sacred odyssey will have to do, and it does rather well.
Jul 2008
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lumothesinner | 12:01 - 4 February 2011
Ill agree with the combat against multiple foes, and popup...but what an amazing game. definitely a zelda experience on iphone finally (for those not jailbroken)
also lol at the girl in the Ice town who notices a rainbow. "WOW A DOUBLE RAINBOW...WHAT DOES IT MEAN???"