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Wraithborne Review

By Dave Flodine, on November 16, 2012


Wraithborne
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • A nice use of the unreal engine to create engaging environments.
  • The rune system adds some customisability to this hack and slash.

CONS

  • The combat lacks a visceral feel to it.
  • Story told in text and voiceover between missions is not an ideal presentation.

VERDICT

Wraithborne will satisfy fans looking for a mobile hack and slash, but the lack of anything ground-breaking or satisfying in the combat does little to raise this title above its contemporaries


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There's something about story doled out through voice-over and still images that makes one not want to pay attention. Wraithborne is a 3D beat em up along the lines of God of War, and really, unlike that game, the exposition about your quests and actions presented here does not aid the gameplay, and it certainly does not add any context, drama, or sense of purpose. Walk around, smash monsters, upgrade your spells to use magic to smash monsters; that's the name of the game here.

The basic attacks of your character are accomplished via an on-screen joystick and three main buttons. A light attack, a heavy attack, and a shield. Using combinations of the light and heavy attack will create combos, and the shield button renders you impervious to harm... until your magic power depletes at least. After the first level, every time you gain enough crystals to upgrade in-between levels, you can equip and upgrade up to three runes, that have different effects, and when pressed, a rune symbol will pop up that needs to be traced with your finger to conjure the spell. All the controls work well enough, but it's a lack of impact in the game world that makes everything feel rather shallow.

The combat and spell casting lacks a certain amount of weight to it. In many beat-em-ups, especially those that top the genre, combat has a meaty visceral nature to it. Every attack has impact, and chaining together combos to eradicate a screen's worth of enemies is intensely satisfying. Wraithborne on the other hand seems to lack a connection between your attacks and the destruction of your enemies. It feels more like you're going through the motions of button pressing rather than being engaged in the game's conflict, and it certainly is a mark against the title.

Which is a shame because on the presentation side, the game excels. Alpha Dog have made good use of the Unreal Engine to create some really nice environments for their action to take place in, and the enemy designs have subtle variations based on their difference in attacks that shows a nice attention to detail. It's just a shame this focus on the art of the game wasn't balanced out with fine tuning the mechanics to deliver combat that could excel at engaging the player on a more deep seated level.

For those looking for a new hack and slash on the app store, Wraithborne will certainly fulfill that need. It's just that players might find the whole experience somewhat lacking.

Screenshots

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