God of Blades Review
- Pitch-perfect fantasy presentation; evocative landscapes and nightmarish creatures combine in a magnificent splash of colors.
- Other-worldly audio; haunting soundtracks and audio clips punctuate and enrich the atmosphere.
- Easy to pick up combat; smooth flowing battle that separates it from the usual 'auto-runners'.
- Cleverly woven 'lore'; each sword has its own story to tell, hinting at the true scope of The Nameless King's world.
- Limited and repetitious combat; also easy to skillessly 'spam' your way through the content with the starting sword.
- Unlockable 'loreseeker' weapons feel a tad imbalanced; diminishes the effort spent earning 'experience' based weapons.
- Lacking iCloud support; forces you to complete the game twice as well as unlock all the swords twice if you own separate devices.
Like a fevered nightmare trip through the covers of 70s prog-rock bands and classic pulp-fiction, God of Blades is a beautifully presented and other-worldly experience, but is likewise just as short-lived as you expend its limited content and variety of combat.
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Fans of classic sci-fi fantasy or 70s synth/prog-rock may need to brace themselves for the likes of White Whale Games' God of Blades. With writing that invokes shades of HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, and artwork that feels like a nightmare trip through Frank Frazetta's mind, there's not an inch of this game that isn't dripping with a strangely appealing other-worldly sheen.
These connections are strengthened even further thanks to each of the game's four chapters having its own 'pulp fiction novel' book-cover astride a paragraph of text describing the further exploits of The Nameless King as he attempts to tear down the Sable King's army.
In each chapter you'll face down various enemies, side-scrolling automatically and only stopping briefly as you swipe to strike out at these foes. Swipe back and you'll parry incoming strikes; swipe forward and you'll spin and strike in a dangerously slow offensive parry. Downward swipes are likewise just as slow, but cause brutal amounts of damage in a long arc, while upward swipes provide short-range, but fast moving blows that can knock enemies in to your next opponent.
At first it's awkward to time these blows, especially as each enemy has its own distinct behavior that you must learn to counter, but in no short time you'll master the flow of combat no matter the size and speed of the weapon you wield. As such the combat eventually becomes mundane, with the bulk of the campaign held up by the breathtaking locations they're set in and the story that unfolds during and between these scenes.
New 'blades' are quickly unlocked thanks to experience earned from combat (either in the Campaign or 'endless' Eternal mode), providing access to larger or smaller weapons, each with their own distinct look, history and special attack. In a curious twist, there are three unlockable swords that require you to physically visit libraries with a 12 hour cool-down between each unlock - given the strong links to fantasy fiction in the presentation of the game, it's no surprise the developers would want to encourage players to seek out these classics for themselves.
Ultimately God of Blades feels like the gaming equivalent of an hors d'oeuvre - it's packed to the brim with tasty components and its presentation is near flawless, but you're left craving more and even with its 'procedurally generated' boss fights in the Eternal mode, it comes of feeling all too same-ish. With any luck future updates will continue the story of The Nameless King or perhaps The Whispering Lady and we'll finally get our fill.