Slayin, an endless action RPG game from FDG Entertainment, is now available from the app store. Featuring 8-bit graphics, a catchy chiptune soundtrack, and ginormous buttons for easy control, Slayin looks and feels like an old-school arcade game shrunk down to pocket size.
- Great 8-bit aesthetic and challenging gameplay
- Chiptune soundtrack pairs nicely with the visuals
- Huge buttons that can’t be missed
- Quest system and unlockable characters/modes provide initial replay incentive
- GameCenter leaderboards and achievements to earn
- Difficulty spikes after about 20 levels
- Shrunken gaming screen and large buttons create unappealing interface
- Once characters/modes are unlocked, there’s nothing very compelling to earn through Fame Points
You can choose to play as one of three heroes (knight, wizard, or Knave), each with a greater focus on defense, attack, or luck, respectively. Only the knight is unlocked from the start, but it shouldn’t take too long to get the others into the mix. There are also three game modes to play: Normal, Advanced, and Boss Rush. As with your characters, only Normal is available from the start. The gaming area is only a single screen wide, and your character auto runs in the direction that he’s facing. Left/right buttons alter your orientation, allowing you to direct your attacks toward the enemies that rise up from the ground, drop out of the sky, or appear at the screen edges. The knight holds a sword in front of himself, piercing any foes that he contacts when moving forward. The action button allows him to jump and kill airborne enemies or avoid some ground attacks. Conversely, the wizard uses the action button to spin himself into a tornado, killing any enemies he contacts while enjoying momentary invincibility. Slain enemies often drop coins, small health replenishments, treasure chests, and other items. After a certain number of kills, your character levels up, a frequent occurrence throughout the course of the game.
Every 10 levels put you into a boss battle, and the occasional appearance of a shopkeeper allows you to spend coins you’ve collected from killing enemies to purchase health replenishments, armor, better weapons, and the like. You play until your character loses all of his health, and his points and bonuses are converted to Fame Points. Fame Points are used to unlock additional characters, modes, layout skins, and tombstone enhancements. You also earn Fame Points be completing quests, of which there are 3 available at any given time. Upon death, your highest point total and highest level achieved are imprinted upon a tombstone, which can be seen by your GameCenter friends. Games are fast and furious, offering exciting gameplay that compels to fire up another round upon death.
The graphics have a fantastic 8-bit style that pairs nicely with the chiptune soundtrack. The enemies have distinct looks and behaviors, forcing you to react to each and every threat in a unique way. The single-screen limitation can feel constricting at times, but that simply adds to the craziness of the action. Little touches like your character flashing red when he’s hit and the game pausing when you level up are nice flourishes, too. The control button interface takes up considerably more space than necessary, shrinking the gaming area to less than half of the width of our iPod. Despite this decision, there is still plenty of room to see what’s going on. Replay value is pretty good given the high-score chasing nature of the game and the requirement to use Fame Points to unlock additional characters and modes. Once these are unlocked, though, there are only a handful of cosmetic changes to spend your Fame Points on. GameCenter integration provides a half-dozen leaderboards and a couple dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Slayin racks up a solid 4-Dimple score.