When In Manila, people are getting into apps in a big way. Angry Birds? Fruit Ninja? Temple Run? Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’d know these games. These are just some of the game apps that have become household names after having reached millions and millions of downloads. Not to mention productivity apps like Evernote, or photo apps like Instagram, in less than a year the app market has exploded! These are all free apps, mind you, and the paid apps are on a whole another level. I’m just assuming as I’ve never bought anything yet.
I’d really like to play Brave though, but it’s $14!
But this post is about one particular free game app. And we’re proud to bring you, for the first time ever at WhenInManila.com, our first app review: Blood & Glory!
Developed by Glu Mobile, Blood & Glory would fall under a first person fighter/beat em up game. That category is a bit dated however, as it is really made not so much for button-mashing as it is for touchpad/screen swiping. Glu Mobile is one of the top mobile game developers for the iOS and Android platforms, and their speciality is first person, high-octane action games. True, their demographic for those types of games is most likely of the male persuasion, but there are a lot of women out there who enjoy fighting and shooter games.
It’s a great way to blow off that pent-up aggression after a hard day at work.
Tornado Slash Combo
And with medieval-themed media making a huge comeback thanks in a large part to HBO’s flagship shows Game of Thrones, Rome, and Spartacus, Blood & Glory is right on the money. It doesn’t hold anything back as far as realism and violence is concerned, and the characters are designed to be truly menacing. Compared to the gladiators of the Roman and Greek Empires, modern day equivalents like boxers, football players, and MMA fighters look like cute furry kittens. They could have gone overboard and severed limbs and such, but good taste prevailed.
There’s not much story to go by, which is a drawback, but like Tekken or Streetfighter, this is about the fighting, not the plot. In it, you are a gladiator fighting his way up the ranks. You earn money and experience points, a few gems (these you’ll really need a lot of later on), with which you can buy weapons, armor and potions to improve your chances in the arena. There are also in-app purchases for gold, gems, etc. The armor, weapons, settings are all historically accurate (or at least well-researched) and the game characters even speak Latin.
Now here’s where we get a bit technical. The game can be played on any smartphone and touch device (you could probably play it with a Wacom tablet, although I’ve never tried) that runs iOS or Android, but I’ve not tried it on any other device other than a Mac. You throw combos and parry by swiping your finger an any of the eight axises, and dodge and block using the A, S, and D keys, and as you progress, your opponents get tougher and TOUGHER.
And that’s why I describe this game as infuriatingly sinister and devious. At first glance it is just a bloody, gory, brainless mess. But if you stay with it and reach the level where your opponents are lethal, and your armor is some cheap plating and your shield seems to be made of tin, then it’s time to take the fighting much more seriously. And that’s what most casual gamers have no patience for. It’s not an enjoyable game to play for any length of time, but the satisfaction you get from getting an “Invictus” will keep you coming back and restarting tournaments.
When you reach the point where your opponents can take you out with one blow, and you have no gems to buy health potions with…that’s when you need to focus and stop trying to fool around with combos, parries, and special attacks. In a tournament match, the camera angle will switch twice, breaking up whatever combo you may be throwing and disorientating you as well. This will make it trickier to predict where the other gladiator’s attacks will be coming from, and it will come down to reading the opponent’s body movement.
Here’s a short trailer for the game. It’s a bit cheezy but I think that’s just to get it past the parent and church groups.
The learning curve is pretty easy for this game, and I give it a 4.5 out 5 stars for price, graphics, sound, playability, and overall entertainment value. The game also warns of extreme violence and gore so this is probably for teen gamers and above.
How about you? What apps do you really like? Leave a comment below!