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Sacred Odyssey:Rise of Ayden Review
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Sacred Odyssey:Rise of Ayden, Gameloft’s take on the Zelda series, is now available from the app store. Despite the fact that we finally have a great Zelda-esque adventure on an iOS device, the most talked about aspect of this game is Gameloft’s use of IAP to unlock the full experience.

Sacred Odyssey:Rise of Ayden Pros:

  • Beautiful graphics and highly-detailed world and characters
  • Terrific soundtrack
  • Clever puzzles and fun, hack-and-slash combat
  • Fun RPG elements
  • Achievements to earn

Sacred Odyssey:Rise of Ayden Cons:

  • Some stuttering, and loading breaks take you out of the game
  • Only playable on newer hardware

Gameloft has taken a major stride against piracy with its adoption of the freemium model for this release. Gamers can download the game at no cost, which allows them to play through the first two quests before being cut off and encouraged to pony up $6.99 (Gameloft’s typical release price) to unlock the rest of the game. The free portion is enough to meet the main character, Ayden, who awakens from a recurring dream about a blonde woman. His uncle, Brennan, sends him out to check on Chumly, a nervous fellow who fears confronting the Kobolds that are causing trouble in the sheep’s pen. Ayden comes to the rescue, and with sword and shield in hand, engages in a little combat with the creepy creepers. After dealing with the minor disturbance, Ayden checks in on his horses, Miya and Moto. The slight nod to the creator of Zelda out of his system, Ayden hops on Miya and rides off, only to encounter some gruff-looking Orcs messing with the blonde from his dreams. Ayden takes them on polo-style, slicing and dicing from atop his horse. The young maiden faints and is brought to a safe location, where Ayden discovers that she is a princess. And that’s when the IAP kicks in and kicks you out…

It’s a nice introduction to the game, giving you the opportunity to try out the controls and get hands-on with the interface. Movements are controlled with a virtual pad on the lower left and context-specific buttons on the right allow you to speak with villagers, attack, defend, and interact with objects, as well as summon your horse out of thin air. Your horse is just as quickly dismissed, too. Swiping around the right half of the screen allows you to change your viewpoint. Your current weapon is displayed in the upper right corner, just above a minimap that orients you to your surroundings, as well as points you to waypoint relevant to your current quest. A blue arrow at your feet also directs you to where you need to go, as is the usual fare for Gameloft. A health bar sits in the upper left corner next to a portrait of you. Tapping the portrait gives you access to your inventory, your collections, a full map, and your Quest log, broken into main and side quests.

The graphics exhibit terrific detail and crispness, giving your environments a lot of depth and character. You’ll travel through quaint countrysides and mystical dungeons. Animations are good for the most part, but we definitely experienced some stuttering from time to time, even though we’re using the latest gen device. Combat is swift and exciting, though it amounts to a button-mashing experience with just the single attack button. Repeated taps create combos that can be devastating to your enemies. As you progress, you will obtain new weapons to use, such as a boomerang and grappling hook. The soundtrack helps give the story an epic feel, with sparse voiceovers giving the game a little life, as well. Support for playing music from your own music library is also built-in.

Your ultimate goal is to obtain the pieces of the god Uryah’s Grail in order to defeat Amonbane and restore peace and tranquility to your beloved homeland. There are a good number of clever puzzles to solve along the way, ranging from simple to head-scratching. A variety of enemies are also dispatched to try to disrupt your noble quest. To survive the repeated attacks, you’ll need to replenish your health and upgrade your equipment and abilities. Blue and green orbs can be obtained from smashing pottery, opening treasure chests, and killing enemies. The green orbs can restore HP, while the blue act as an in-game currency to make purchases of items that will help you in your quest. Overall, the game offers worthwhile combat, challenging puzzles, a lengthy journey through beautiful locations, and an overall enjoyable experience that does a pretty good job of replicating the Zelda formula.

Replay value is pretty good, as there are likely to be side quests that get skipped on the first playthrough and secret treasure chests that may not be discovered quite so easily. There are 15 achievements to earn along the way, and Gameloft Live! integration allows you to earn G-points, too. It should be noted that Sacred Odyssey will not run on older devices. You’ll need at least an iPhone 3GS or 3rd Gen iPod Touch. Giving Sacred Odyssey a whirl is as easy as hitting the download button, with no real risk involved. Enjoy the gameplay and a simple IAP unlock will have you on your way. The $6.99 tag is in-line with all of Gameloft’s releases, so there are no surprises there, either. Sacred Odyssey is a 4.5-Dimple title that aims to please and hits it mark.

Sacred Odyssey:Rise of Ayden Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-02-07T21:57:10+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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