Satisfy Your Inner Samurai.
Typically, I find, the best brawlers are those that imbue each of their enemies with unique attack patterns, demanding military precision in their individualized desolation. God of Blades is one such brawler. In traditional videogame fashion, you move endlessly from the left side of the screen to the right, slicing up cultists and demons aplenty.
There’s actually a brief, but memorable campaign here – you, The Nameless King, must journey into the heart of the Void – a totally evil giant eyeball that’s spewing demons all over the place. The writing varies between “haunting and moody,” and “dungeon master poetry,” but overall it establishes a nice tone. Aside from the campaign, there’s an Eternal mode, wherein you face a self-explanatorily infinite barrage of bad guys
I beat God of Blades in about three hours, including a break. I was gonna mark it down for replay value but then I caught myself playing for another six hours in Eternal and realized I couldn’t. The combo system is shockingly precise and you’ll find yourself wanting to master it more fluidly. Sliding down on the touch-screen will do a little scoop move. Sliding forward will perform a longer-range but riskier spin. Slide down and you’ll do a downward smash, slide back and you’ll parry. Button mashers take note – you will be parrying.
There are 10 blades to choose from, varying considerably in reach and weight (both of which factor into combat). Each sword has its own special ability, too, ranging from flinging a few flames, to summoning demonic little hell-beasts that gruesomely suck the life from your victims. Each of these powers affects your opposition in a different way, and some are far better suited to bosses than others.
This game is beautiful. Lush, detailed 3D landscapes and spectacular elemental effects give the game a rich palate, and some of the level-specific visual filters in the campaign mode are just breathtaking. Aurally speaking, the moody soundtrack entrances, and the sharp clangs of scraping steel ring clear.
Some users have complained of lag. My phone’s a little more than a year old, and I experienced some lag but it rarely affected gameplay. It usually occurred when there were several enemies or graphical effects on-screen at once and was typically more of a graphical hiccup than an issue with responsiveness. The designers have also put a pretty nice slow-motion effect on bigger kills, which goes a long way in evening out the presentation.
God of Blades is something rather special. Its strangely beautiful cinematics hide one of the deepest hack-and-slashes in a long time. There’s a distinct measure of bliss and fluidity here once you get the hang of it, and Eternal extends the game’s lifespan considerably despite the lack of any leaderboards or achievements. These days I’d call that’s something of an achievement on its own.
PS: The game’s menus refer to something called “Loreseeker.” It’s an app run by Foursquare that asks you to visit a library. In what could only be called an act of unprecedented professionalism, I hunted down one of these “libraries,” took a step inside, and collected a new battle arena for Eternal. Yippee!