Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Dark Avenger Review (iPhone 5)

Gamevil's Dark Avenger is a free to play dungeon crawler that marks the App Store's 100000th attempt* at making a good Diablo style game. The game's set up is simple, you play as a Templar (melee character) or a Ranger* (range based character) and move through several stages, killing everything in your path. You acquire gold and loot and between stages can use this gold to purchase new equipment and potions or purchase things via the game's in app purchases, which are cool but not essential to the overall experience. The game doesn't really feature a story but the solid gameplay means its pretty hard to care. 

The game's stages revolve largely around simply killing everything within the area. You move your character with a virtual thumb stick, one which is pretty easy to use, and you control combat via a main attack button which has several smaller buttons for your character's abilities coming off of it. As you level up you unlock new abilities for your character, with three appearing around the main attack button at a time. These are usually fairly generic, like a Charge ability for the Templar, but they freshen up combat nicely and help against harder foes. These abilities each feature a cool down time and, as you'd expect, the better the ability, the longer the cool down. Also as you level up you can progress through the skill tree increasing things like attack speed and how much gold enemies drop. 

As you engage in combat you build up rage and when the meter is full you can do more damage. Again this is a generic mechanic but its one that you want/expect in this type of game so its inclusion is welcome. Scattered throughout the level are health wells if you run out of potions and chests that are full of lovely lovely loot. 

The stage's themselves are, like most of the game, what you would expect. I don't want to give the impression that this generic style is bad, ultimately it's what you'd want from a dungeon crawler, but it does mean you will play this game having seen all of it before. The medieval architecture, the standard fantasy foes etc. etc. The good thing is though, if a normal play through is too bland for you, there is a time attack option which really intensifies things. This is a very welcome addition and really livens the game up. The other good thing about the stages is simply that there are a lot of them, with potential for more in future updates, combine this with the two class options and you have a lot play with here. 

On top of this there are other modes. You can take part in death matches with other players, play through an Infinity Tower (fight through a tower full of enemies for as long as you can stay alive) or do a Boss Raid, which has you simply fight the game's bosses. This is a free app and yet has more content than you'll find in many paid apps. This is quite possibly the game's best selling point. There is a tonne to do and if you don't find dungeon crawlers dull then you'll love this. 

Also the game's production values are pretty damn good. You can set the graphics to low, normal, high and ultra depending on what generation phone you have but in ultra it looks great and runs very smoothly on an iPhone 5. The only thing I would say, and this is recommended in game, is that it can get a bit juddery if you have a lot of apps open and are in a big fight. So bear that in mind. As well as the good graphics the game has a decent soundtrack. The music is orchestral and adds a good epic feeling to the fights. There isn't much diversity here but it is all good nonetheless. 

Dark Avenger is an easy game to recommend. It's generic and some may find it bland but ultimately by playing it safe and adding lots of content Gamevil have made a solid game that should please any fan of dungeon crawlers. Sure some innovation might have been nice but its hard to complain when it's free and when it's this enjoyable. If you like dungeon crawlers, check this out, if not, why are you still reading this?

*not actual figure.

*as of writing the Ranger is not playable but is coming soon. 

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