A Beautiful Wreck
At first glance, The Toolshed’s The Guardians of Peace appears to be a gorgeous new entry in mobile adventure games. Screenshots show off some of the vibrant landscapes the player will encounter as they travel across a colony of floating islands. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the game’s visuals are its strongest element, boasting futuristic villages, decrepit temples and more. Once you get past its art, though, you’ll find that The Guardians of Peace is riddled with issues that make it all but unplayable.
You play as Diego, an aspiring Peace Corps paladin. Paladins train in special fighting tactics that make use of different characteristics such as strength or passion. In fact, each island you go to specializes in one of seven different combat characteristics, granting you new moves to aid in your fight against the Darklings. These Darklings are shadowy abominations that embody negative human characteristics, like sloth and fear. In theory, this is a perfect premise for an adventure game. However, The Guardians of Peace lacks proficiency in even the most basic of story elements.
Take dialogue, for example. Characters are cheesy and unnatural, almost as if they were aliens who watched a few movies on being human but forgot to take notes. On many occasions, their dialogue doesn’t match up with the subtitles, either. These would be admissible issues, if only the story writing were interesting. It’s not.
At best, the story is repetitive but somewhat linear. At each island, you’ll meet a mentor, learn three combat moves from them, then run off to fight a slew of small monsters. As you do so, you’ll realize that the maps have no real complexity. Unlike other mobile adventure games such as Star Wars: KOTOR or Journey, there are no secret areas, shortcuts or alternate routes to take. No matter what area of the game you’re in, you’ll always be stuck on a circular path that leads you out of a village to a boss battle, then directly back. Of course, with each area you complete, you’re making slow progress towards the end goal of stopping the invasion of Commander Selfish. You’re unlikely to make it that far, though, either from lack of story engagement or one of the many game-breaking technical issues.
A Bump in Code
Indeed, the real kicker with The Guardians of Peace isn’t its underdeveloped story, but rather its technical infrastructure. No matter where you go, you’ll not only find yourself fighting through shadow monsters, but also a mess of unoptimized gameplay elements and glitches. Take the combat system, for example. Most adventure games that use combat skills have light attacks, and skill attacks. Light attacks generally have no cooldown, or waiting period, before you can use them again. This helps when your skill attacks are on cooldown, as you can still do some damage while you’re waiting. However, The Guardians of Peace uses cooldowns for every attack. Because of this, combat feels clunky and unfulfilling, as most of the time you’ll be stuck watching enemies beat on your character while your attacks recharge. Additionally, player movement is shoddy, making it that much tougher to land an attack in the first place.
What’s worse are the issues with infrastructure, or how the game runs. The Guardians of Peace’s graphics are passable at a distance, but extremely fuzzy up close. The game has no settings, so there’s no way of increasing the quality of in game images. You might think the reduced graphics quality would lead to a smooth gameplay experience, but even then, you’d be wrong. I can’t speak for all devices, but running this game made my phone uncomfortably hot to the touch. Beyond that, the game is riddled with glitches. It’s fairly easy to phase through walls or floors, potentially trapping yourself forever. The Guardians of Peace is great in theory, but terrible in execution.
Is It Hardcore?
The Guardians of Peace lacks any sort of engaging elements and is so close to unplayable that you might as well not take the risk.