- Choices you make don't just affect the story; being a good guy isn't easy.
- Easy to pick up gameplay; either fly around picking up gems or scratch the eyes out of a few bad guys.
- Intriguing fantasy setting.
- Object depth difficult to judge with accuracy
- No checkpoints on longer encounters.
Crow's simple storyline keeps things short and punchy, dragging the player through a wonderful fantasy world filled with strange creatures and challenging rail-shooting segments; fun for all ages.
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Despite what your intuition may tell you, simplicity - nay, 'elegance' - is very hard to pull off when designing a game, especially when you're trying to convey a deeper meaning and experience. Crow by Sunside Games strips back the rail shooter and while its individual parts may seem simplistic, getting the full story will require dedication and skill.
The titular crow is sent from another plane of existence to act as a vessel of vengeance, eventually getting caught up in the struggle between two 'spirits' seeking to use your powers for their gain. The choices you make are starkly black or white, but the reasons for making your decision may be influenced by the story you uncover as you explore each landscape.
There are two main gameplay sections that are repeated over and over with players first gliding around a landscape in search of 'trinkets' that help to unlock skill points. As you progress you'll uncover either 'challenge' maps or 'story' features where the game transforms in to a third-person rail-shooter. Swiping allows you to move the crow around the screen (avoiding projectiles and dangerous environments), while an energy gauge charges up, allowing you to cast one of several spells. The basic shield and attack are all you need to finish the game, but new powers will also unlock (and can be upgraded with skill points) to make life easier.
Unfortunately, despite the beautiful environments, Crow suffers for its third-person perspective, making it extremely difficult to avoid some projectiles thanks to a combination of your finger and the large bird itself getting in the way. At times it's also unclear as to the 'depth' of an object, making it all too easy to run in to a hazard you though you already passed. This would be far more forgivable if some of the longer battle sequences featured checkpoints - in particular, the final boss may make you put down the game depending on the path you've chosen.
Despite these concerns, Crow still manages to provide a compelling experience that's sure to eat up an afternoon - it's all too easy to catch yourself saying 'I'll just clear one more area' and before you know it, the game is over. With any luck, future updates will polish the experience even more, making it a definite must-try for those after something out of the ordinary.