Crow, a unique adventure title from Sunside Games, is now available from the app store. Playing as the titular creature, you’ll vacillate between top-down exploration and on-rails combat as you interact with the beautiful environments and fight to stay alive.
- Beautiful, detailed environments and realistic character animations
- Ambient soundtrack offers nice complement to gameplay
- Tap and swipe controls are intuitive and responsive
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Hands obscure ou view due to the method of controlling the crow’s flight
- Slow pace and simple battles left us wanting a greater challenge
- Story elements are a bit heady for a mobile game
The storyline follows a tale of good and evil, with the crow caught in the middle. Controlling the crow is a simple and intuitive feat. Since the crow follows the placement of your finger on-screen, you need only to drag your finger around the top of the screen to flap effortlessly through the open skies. As you near the map edges, fog becomes denser and denser, forcing you to turn back into the playing area. Trinkets can be found near areas of interest and a large collection of trinkets will allow you to earn Skill Points that are used to upgrade character traits. You’ll face off against combative birds, scarecrows, and other beings infected by evil. When going one-on-one with an enemy, you’ll collect energy orbs until you fill your meter, at which point you can launch an attack or create a protective shield. These maneuvers can only be carried out when you can see the white’s of an enemy’s eyes, which leaves only a small window during which to make something happen. Dragging around screen will allow you to avoid attacks launched by the opposition, as well. It’s a fairly slow-paced experience infused with plenty of mystical story elements that tie-in to the gameplay but it often left us wondering what the narrator was getting at. Though we appreciate the mood that is set and the experience of being a bird, we found the battle elements to be overly simplistic and somewhat boring.
Graphically, the environments through which you fly are quite detailed and pleasant. It’s clear that quality and style were high on the list of objectives when creating the game. The animations are also very realistic, which is not an easy task when it comes to replicating avian movements. The soundtrack is relaxing, and the controls are intuitive. The dragging works well, while double-taps will cause the bird to stop flying and single-taps will collect gems. When engaged in battle, you swipe across the enemy to attack or trace a circle around your bird to create a shield. The main drawback is that your hands will often obstruct your view, which is a significant annoyance. Replay value is average, though GameCenter integration allows for leaderboards and 18 achievements to earn. With its confusing backstory, restrictive elements, and drawn-out sequences, Crow is something of a niche app with a small target audience. A universal app for $4.99, Crow is a uniquely interesting, 3.5-Dimple offering.