Friday, February 3, 2012

'Darkness Rush: Saving Princess' Review

LuckySheep has brought us a 2-D endless runner powered by Unreal that takes upon a fantasy setting. I honestly thought it was going to be an RPG based upon my first impressions, until I began the tutorial. Nonetheless, Darkness Rush is a decent game that delivers a unique approach by adding more to the endless running genre.

In DR:SP, you play as one of three characters (one unlockable by IAP) in running across a 2-D map. There are three buttons: jump, attack, and transform. What makes the game interesting is a result of these three buttons. With the jump button, not only can you jump once, but you also have the ability to double jump as well as float in mid-air to cross gaps and spikes. The attack button allows you to break purple runes that may block your path, which will harm you should you touch them. Both floating and attacking deplete your mana, which can be regenerated over time or by breaking the purple runes. However, the mana regenerates at such an abysmal rate, if you deplete all of it and leave none to attack with, it’s pretty much gone. Finally, by collecting 3 red crystals, you are given the ability to transform. What you transform into and his or her abilities following the transformation will depend on your character; the advantage of transforming allows your character to take a hit without losing a heart or dieing. The runner is also filled with powerups, including speedups, extra heart, extra mana, etc. These add to the flavor of the game.

The diversity of the controls in the game creates a fairly enjoyable experience. In addition, with the added speed when one transforms makes the game quick and puts the player on focus to react to incoming obstacles. However, the game does have a couple of nuisances, such as the instance following de-transformation in the air and floating into the edge or getting caught under a platform. They are small, but notable flaws.

The game presents itself nicely, opening with an easy to follow tutorial. Unfortunately, the game suffers from an absurd amount of loading screens for every section of the game, even to restart a run. In addition, there are coins in the game that allow spending options, such as powerups at the beginning of a run and equipment to increase stats. However, as the game has IAPs, the equipment is expensive while runs do not yield many coins, even with a double coin powerup. The slow progress is a slight turn off. The game also contains achievements to obtain, which is a nice bonus.

As it’s powered by Unreal, DR:SP has clean graphics. However, as a result, the game lags in several places. The introduction scene, the start of the run, and de-transformation all suffer from lag as a result, and it sadly takes away from the game.

With a dramatic song playing in the background on the menu and fitting song during the gameplay run, the music played is well composed and fitting. In contrast, the voice acting (such as grunts from jumping) is a little on the weaker side; it’s decent, but unable to compare with other games.

As an endless runner, the game must be able to hook you to keep you playing (and to buy the IAPs). DR:SP is strong enough to keep somebody playing several times. With the addition of the extremely fun and engaging multiplayer matches, DR:SP will be able to keep you coming for a while. If you’re able to enjoy the gameplay mechanics, then this game will last.

DR:SP contains a strong gameplay mechanics that provide good replay value with both the fun of the game and the addition of multiplayer matches. Some gameplay and technical flaws hold the game back however, hampering the full possible enjoyment of the game. But, if you can overlook those flaws, DR:SP is worth your time.

Gamplay: 4/5
Presentation: 2.5/5
Graphics: 3.5/5
Sound: 4/5
Replay: 4/5

Overall: 3.5/5


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