Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Avenger [CWA Games] - $1.99

Castlevania influenced games are basically non-existent within the AppStore, so when CWA Games (one of the biggest mobile development teams in China) released their first iOS title, Avenger, fans of the niche genre jumped at the chance to check it out. Judging from the trailer, the gameplay looks solid, but the grammar looked like it might have been translated by Google, which, if you’ve used ‘Google Translate’, you know is pretty horrendous, and for a lot of gamers, bad English translation is enough for them to stay away from a game. 

Demons have built a castle in the human world, and are trying to take it over. You’ll play as Cyprus, a prince who has the abilities to save the world. Throughout the game, you’ll be chasing the Devil Queen and searching for the Castle of Shadows. The grammar throughout the game does take away from the story, as it’s kind of hard to understand exactly what’s going on, and is made worse by how quickly the text appears and disappears during the cut scenes. 

Unlike Castlevania, there is no real exploration or backtracking, which is unfortunate. A game in the same vein as Castlevania feels kind of incomplete when it’s so linear. The combat system is fairly simple, with one button for attacking, and then two icons in between the joystick and attack+jump buttons for special attacks. You are able to execute different attacks depending on where your joystick is placed. For instance, an attack that flings you up into the air is done by holding up on the joystick and pressing the attack button, while holding back on the joystick and pressing attack will make you do a backflip attack. 
As you progress through the game, you will gain experience which upgrades both your character and your current weapon. When your character advances a level, his Hit Points, Magic/Mana Points, Attack and Defense all increase, while with a weapon, the attack power increases and you’re able to assign a special attribute, like extra attack points, more experience earned, and things of this nature, but you have to pay to ‘enchant’ your weapon. This is where most of the gold that you collect from killing demons will go. But once you enchant your weapon 3 times, it will receive a special ability, like increased agility, or increased attack strength for the first couple of hits in a new room, and more.

You will also be picking up other items as you make your way through the game. More powerful swords are awarded each time you beat a boss, HP and MP bottles will fall from treasure chests and enemies, and scrolls which send you back to Twist Space which is where you’ll be able to enter different mirrors which take you to different sections of Avenger’s world. Here, you can go to previously beaten areas, and purchase potions, weapons, and scrolls. 
Avenger’s gameplay is great for those of you looking for a Castlevania themed button masher. But the gameplay doesn’t really overshadow all of the issues. The framerate could be smoother. It’s not as bad as it looks in the trailer, but it’s not smooth by any means. Like Casltevania, you’re only able to save at certain spots throughout the game. This wouldn’t really be a bad thing, except that this is a mobile game, and for some reason, the game quits whenever your device goes into sleep mode, or you get a phone call, which means you could be loosing quite a bit of progress fairly often. 

All of this, coupled with the grammar issues makes Avenger a hard game to recommend. But with so few Castlevania inspired titles in the AppStore, it’s also hard not to recommend. If you can deal with some funky grammar, a low frame rate, and making sure that you save before taking a call or having your device go into sleep mode, Avenger is a game you should definitely check out. The graphics are fantastic, with awesome character and enemy sprites, and vibrant environments. The animations are also great, even with the low frame-rate.
Right now, Avenger is on sale for $0.99 instead of it’s normal price of $1.99. There is no online leader board or achievement support, which does take a little bit away from the game, but the game is fairly large, and side-scrolling RPG hack-n-slash games aren’t really known for their replayablity. If you’re a fan of the genre, or are looking for another title to add to the Castlevania type games on your iOS device, Avenger is a great one to own. Those of you who are very picky with your English grammar and buttery smooth frame rates might want to pass. Hopefully an HD or Universal version will be released in the near future, as playing in 2X mode on the iPad looks pretty pixilated, but considering this is the first iOS release from CWA Games, and how big they are in China with Java and Android titles, I’m putting complete faith that they will come out with an update very soon with some of these issues fixed.


Nice to see it come to ios, I've been playing this for awhile on my android phone!
Solid game!

Nice game! I recently played this and enjoying it so far. However I am currently stuck with the devil speed challenge. Am now level 52 with frost sword +9 and with 3 useful enchants. Loaded with potions including revive pot yet I can't defeat the boss. Once game reached 6min. I'm kicked out back to the portal. Any suggestions?

use the CURSE sword (gold-red-blue) for devil speed.

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