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iPhone Game Review: Twin Blades
      #35390 - 12/12/09 08:11 PM

iPhone Game Review: Twin Blades
Reviewed by JadeDragon

If Mark Twain were alive today, he'd dub Twin Blades as "The Zombie Slaughter House Run by a Cute Nun". Twin Blades combines a side-scrolling hack and slash gameplay with a 2D shooter, and for those who want to see blood and gore, Twin Blades spares nothing to provide just that. The game builds on a sense of irony: the manga-style scenes look quiet and the innocent-eyed nun seems harmless, but as soon the game starts, zombies swarm the town and our heroine swings her blade and shoots her gun, heads starts to explode, bodies hacked in half and blood splatters the screen. With two weapons in hands and running and jumping abilities, our heroine starts her journey on a one-woman crusade to eliminate the living dead. The game is rated 9+.



Gameplay

Whether you are a hack n slash or a shooter gamer, Twin Blades aims to satisfy both camps as you take control both types of weapons: an oversized scythe for close combat and a gun as range weapon. Both weapons are fun to use and both have upgrade paths. The hack weapon, the scythe, is essential not only because it provides the thrill of up close and person kills but also because the scythe fuels the magic power (in the blue orb) that the range weapons use. When you are emptying machine gun clips you are actually emptying the magic power. Once the magic power is spent, your range weapon becomes useless. We really like this set up as it balances the power of two weapons and forces gamers to perfect and upgrade both weapons. It?s a good idea to upgrade the scythe weapon first because as days go on the zombies get tougher to kill (it might take two or three swings to kill one), and after day 15 they get even tougher. Range weapon upgrades have more variety including machine gun, flamethrower, holy beam, ice gun and more. Each type of gun has its own upgrade path and can grow stronger with each upgrade level.

The upgrade token comes from the number of zombies you kill in a form of their hearts you collect. The game counts the hearts as soon as you kill the zombies, so you don?t need to worry about actually picking up the hearts that drop on the ground when the zombies die. The only thing in the game you can collect is health bottles dropped by zombies once in a while. Twin Blades doesn?t have a lot of locales, which is the only thing in the game we wish we had more. You go through three scenes to survive a day: a market with fruit stalls, a cemetery linked with a chapel ruins and an outskirt of the city. Zombies come in droves when you enter a new scene but the number tapers off as you move through the stage. They do respawn if you double back, providing you more kill earned for upgrades.



The movement of the nun is super smooth: she can run, jump and swing her blade and even do a combo: press scythe button when she is jumping to crush zombies directly below. Zombies move in a typical zombie way with their arms out trying to grab and bite your heroine. There are two types of zombies: the brown-ish colored zombies are easier to kill and they hit you to do the damage; and the purple-ish zombies are a bit harder to kill and they grab you to inflict damage. You can jump to get away from the brown zombies and find the space to swing your blade or shoot your gun. When the purple zombies take hold of you, you must shake the iDevice to push them off, then kill them with your weapon. The gameplay repeats after each day, and soon you will realize that you are really playing to get the upgrades.

Graphics

Twin Blades is an eye-catching game thanks to its cool graphics. The manga style graphics are pleasing, and both background scenes and character design are polished and stylish. Even the zombies look cute and somehow fit in with the background. The developer puts a lot of energy into the ?gore? effects that produce flying bodies parts, rolling heads and spinning bodies. These animations create an illusion that zombies die in different fashions and response to different weapons and the manner you slay them. That?s a higher level of sophistication we have seen in iPhone and iPod touch game graphics. We do wish there were more scene selections that make the game feel less repetitive.



Sound

Like the graphics, the developer spent some quality creating both memorable background music and cool sound effects. There are 5 sound tracks accompanying you through the zombie slaying journey. The BGM tracks have different styles (one track sounds tragic) with action beats. Sound FX corresponds to the visuals like zombie heads exploding, zombie body parts falling, and zombie growling which is also an audio queue to warn you that more zombies have crawled out from under the ground.

Conclusion

Twin Blades is a top notch game with its meaty gameplay, attractive graphics and polished audio and original sound tracks. If you are in the mood for a traditional 2D side scrolling hack and slash, Twin Blades is the one of the best we?ve seen on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Attractive graphics with lots of death animations.
Sound: - 4.5 - Nice sound tracks and realistic sound FX.
Controls: - 5 - Very smooth controls and super responsive.
Gameplay: - 4.5 - Survival format that features hack and slash as well as ton of range weapons. Long gameplay but only has 3 scenes.



Playing Hints and Tips:

-If you like to use your guns, make sure you keep an eye on the magic power blue orb. When it?s running low, switch to the blade.

-The nun character moves really fast. Practice her movement controls a bit in the beginning.

-She has a jump and crush move: jump and she is in the air hit the blade button. She will crush anything below her.

-Save the blue orb for the beginning of a scene as you will see the most zombie swarms there.

App Facts:
Developer/Publisher: press start studio, Bulkypix
Release Date: Dec 7, 2009
Price: $0.99
Buy App: iTunes App Store


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