iPad Game Review: Samurai Bloodshow - les vagues blanches, les nuages rouges
Reviewed by ColeDaddy
Sega is widely-known for their all-ages appealing Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The title of their latest addition to the iOS market has a title that definitely grabs you by the throat, "Samurai Bloodshow - the white waves, the red clouds" (English translation of the title). The game combines two disparate genres and seamlessly melds them into an entertaining game unlike most, if not all, games found on the AppStore.
Most players will be familiar with the attack-lane game mechanic popularized by games such as "Plants vs. Zombies". In Samurai Bloodshow, you are a king wielding an army of fighters of varied skills and weaponry either defending your territory or sent on an attack suicide mission rampaging towards enemy territory. What happens to my soldiers when I send them charging down the lane in the opposite direction is a bit nebulous as they disappear off-screen fate unknown. I don't know if my soldiers were able to raze any destruction upon the opposition, wounded them or were killed in battle. However, this is a minor niggle given the overall gameplay which requires some well-executed strategy. There are five levels for each battle with a number of opposing waves coming against the king and his forces. The more your soldiers win, the more you have opportunity to choose more soldiers from the game cards housed in various wooden boxes. However, the number of cards is limited and the arsenal available to you depends on how you choose to man your forces during the build-up phase prior to launching your handpicked army into battle.
The visually stylized graphics are simply amazing. The artwork is reminiscent of the fine art masters, Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Toyokuni. The stilted animation adds age and character to the presentation which cleverly seeks to bring to life the battle scenes captured from historical Japanese fine arts scrolls and paintings. However, given the comparatively simple but elegant line work found in this game, I couldn't help but mute a surprised gasp when my king was beheaded when unsuccessfully staving off the opposition. Unfortunately, this has been my fate a number of times, as the difficulty ramps up rather quickly requiring some learned study, prescient forethought and well-placed strategy.
The controls are intuitive and easy to grasp. However, I request for future updates that a method to somehow better demarcate the lanes to help players properly place their defenses as their attacker approaches. This will improve better placement and identification of attack lanes making for a better fight experience.
The sounds were an unexpected treasure trove of eerily haunting voices and bygone cultural instruments seemingly resonating from battles of ages past. The crisply rendered sounds ramp up the authenticity of this era expertly represented in this game and is worth the price of admission alone.
Don't let the simple, 2D artwork misinform you. As the title suggests, this is a bloody game that seeks to throw its players back into time and into the throes of battles where emperors sought to expand their land and fortunes by bringing conquest through armed combat and warfare. The fights are far from mindless and will demand from you some timely decision-making and thoughtful execution.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - "Utamaro" and "Toyokuni". Enough said.
Sound: - 5 - Eerily haunting and unforgettably authentic.
Controls: - 5 - Simple and intuitive. Jump in and play.
Gameplay: - 4 - Exciting and entertaining. This game will thoroughly massage your brain if wish to succeed.
Overall: - 4.90 - This isn't your Daddy's Sega game.
Playing Hints and Tips:
The IAPs while a luxury placed to make your gameplay easier aren't necessary for advancing to other levels.
Release Date: Sept 1, 2011
Buy App: Samurai Bloodshow
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