Shadow Blade ($1.99) by Crescent Moon Games is an action platformer that will have you prove your worth as a ninja. If you enjoyed games like Vengeance: Woz With A Coz, then you are going to get a kick out of Shadow Blade.
Whenever Crescent Moon Games releases a new title, I become excited in an instant — they are definitely one of my top game developers on the iOS platform. When we first heard about Shadow Blade, I knew this was a game I had to get my hands on from the get-go, because hey, how can I say no to ninjas, bloody hack-n-slash action, and platforming? Now that I got a chance to give the game a proper run, I have to say that I’m pretty darn happy about it.
Like any of their other titles, the graphics in Shadow Blade are fantastic. The environments you’ll be dashing through will be lush, with incredible detail. The colors are also rich and full of texture, from the game’s levels to the main screen and menus. And if that wasn’t enough, the game’s animations are some of the best I’ve seen for such a game. In some ways, the movement animation you see when attacking and running remind me a bit of what you would find in Ninja Gaiden games, which is not bad at all. Plus, the game comes with an action packed soundtrack in the background as well as realistic sound effects for the environment as well as your attacks. Just don’t get squeamish when you see all the blood spurting out of your fallen foes.
There are currently three chapters to go through, along with a Hardcore mode for the brave. Each of these chapters will have about 11 levels to go through of increasing difficulty. The Hardcore mode that you unlock will be a new “chapter,” but the stages will be much less forgiving, so only the skilled need apply.
For each level, your goal is to get from Point A to Point B (the big door to advance to the next area) as fast as you can, while of course, surviving the deadly traps, hazards, and enemy ninjas that stand in your way of becoming the ninja master. Sometimes you will just have to defeat all of the enemies in waves to proceed.
The game’s controls are incredibly simple and quite intuitive, making the game very responsive to your touch for optimal gameplay. There are two control schemes that you can use: Gesture and Joystick. Gesture is made for the touch screen, but as I prefer traditional controls for these types of games, I opted for the joystick. With this, you will have directional movement buttons in the bottom left corner, while the B button allows you to jump, and the A button is for attacking. If you combine various movements with the attack button, you can perform dashing attacks, diving blows, back stabbing, and you can even grapple enemies to pull them towards you if they aren’t looking. So far, I have had no issues with the joystick controls, and I recommend this setting if you’re more of a purist when it comes to action platformer games.
As you make your way through each level, you will want to collect the glowing, golden orbs along the way, as well as the large, fiery characters that you will see. If you get them all, and manage to finish in a reasonable time, you will earn up to three shurikens (serving as stars) on the level. Getting a perfect on all levels will prove to be quite challenging, as Crescent Moon Games has made it to be quite a task of skill. Even though there are only about 40 levels, the replay value remains very high.
And the best thing about this game is the fact that there are no power-ups, upgrades, or in-app purchases. What you pay for is what you get, and the game is a pure test of your platforming and slashing skill. I do wish that it integrated with Game Center though, because it would be fun to compare who can complete a level faster, and achievements would have been nice.
Still, I’m thoroughly enjoying this game, and it’s definitely a must-have for the week. If you’re a fan of action platformer games, or just like ninjas in general, then I highly recommend picking this one up. It’s quite addictive with the fast-paced action and ridiculous ninja violence.