Bladeslinger: Episode 1, Kerosene Games’ new action-adventure game, is now available from the app store. Featuring crisp graphics and a unique control scheme, Bladeslinger’s potential has been somewhat sullied by its frustratingly unresponsive input recognition.
Bladeslinger (Episode 1) Pros:
- Gorgeous graphics and exciting combat-heavy gameplay
- Soundtrack is brooding and voiceovers are crisp and clear
- Controls are unique, with lots of gesture-based inputs
- New skills and temporary abilities can be unlocked and purchased using a dual-currency system
Bladeslinger (Episode 1) Cons:
- Controls lack responsiveness and consistency
- Action gets repetitive fairly quickly
- No support for most devices, including recent hardware
Playing as William Glaston, a badass cowpoke with a robotic arm, you return to your hometown of Hammer’s Peak to find it overrun by demons and other evil beings. Using your six-shooter and companion blade, you’ll engage in both melee and ranged battles against multiple enemies at once, dispatching the baddies in a quest to save your town and banish the evil for good. You follow a linear path through the town, stopping often as demons materialize out of thin air and threaten you well-being with their coordinated attacks. You can shoot the baddies by tapping on them or swipe the screen to slash them with your blade. Holding two fingers on the screen allows you to block an attack, while swiping two fingers will punch a foe and tapping two fingers will perform a rolling dodge maneuver. Off-screen enemies become the focus of your attack by tapping on an icon. An inventive and fun scheme to be sure, it simply doesn’t work as advertised. Inputs often don’t register (or don’t register fast enough), making William’s penchant for momentary breaks in the middle of battle all the more maddening. When they do register, you don’t always get what you expect, as an expected punch becomes a series of dodges and so on.
When you do manage to cobble together a victory, you earn an amount of gold and fragments of spirit stones, both of which act as currencies to unlock and purchase items for use in the game. You can buy and upgrade skills for William to use, as well as snag potions to replenish health and other things on the fly. There is a card system that gives you temporary abilities for use in battle, too, not to mention a rune-tracing aspect that allows you to unlock new passages or perform cinematic death blows. The outstanding graphics can only mitigate the control issues so much, but Bladeslinger certainly gets points for trying. The level of detail is tremendous, with few games that we’ve played able to match it in the looks department. Its steam-punkish style plays well against the Wild West backdrop, and the enemy models show some good variety. Glowing neon rune markers litter the town, adding some extra flair. The story plays out through clear voiceovers, though the lack of character mouth movements when speaking is a little offputting. Movements are handled by dragging in the desired direction on-screen, and you can adjust your view with a two-finger drag. Overall, the presentation is very good, setting a promising tone for future episodes.
Replay value is pretty good, as the first episode’s six chapters can be played over again at 3 additional difficulty levels. While it’s likely that repeated play will make the controls more palatable, it’s just as likely that we’ll continue to struggle through this and subsequent episodes. It should also be noted that supported devices are few, so make sure you check the requirements closely before taking the plunge. A universal app for $2.99, Bladeslinger is an interesting 3.5-Dimple game.
Bladeslinger (Episode 1) Review,