Oniric Games hits the appstore once more, this time with Elemental Rage, a side scrolling RPG action/adventure. That alone sounds like a lot of genre’s mixed into one game, but from the moment you begin playing you’ll find it all blends together surprisingly well.
You play as Huna a young lad with a hidden power thrown into an adventure of worldly proportions. When the game begins you’re introduced to Talis, the last of the spirit guides. An evil sorcerer named Devan is capturing the Elemental Spirits, causing the world to slowly die and it’s your quest to make sure he doesn’t succeed. The story isn’t exactly something we haven’t heard before a million times in games, but why mess too much with a formula that works.
The game is essentially split into 4 main sections, and in each section you collect a different element starting with air, and there are also Fire, Water, Earth… CAPTAIN PLANET!! oops, no, wrong game, but you can see a traditional formula being used here. As you progress and collect these elements Huna will gain extra abilities, i.e. Air will grant you a double Jump, Fire will all you to throw fire and so on.
Equipped with your trusty fighting staff and hunger to learn new abilities, as well as wanting to save the world, you’re thrown swiftly into your adventure. The speed in which you are enthralled directly into the game is good, the intro is short and rightly so, as I can’t stand iPhone games that have you waiting for far too long before you even get to do anything.
The look and feel of the game reminds me of something taken right out of one of the more recent Cartoon Network productions, simple yet effective character designs. Pretty much the whole game takes place within dungeons so get ready to see a lot of the color grey, and a butt load of rocks! Kinda like travelling through Bowser’s castle repeatedly. There’s some water in there too, but don’t expect to be taken away by captivating landscapes.
The controls are incredibly responsive, although oddly placed midway up the screen, but this can be amended to your preference. I lowered them, giving me a better look at what’s going on in front of me and not the back of my hand wondering if I should trim my nails.
From the screenshots, you may think that is your run of the mill platforming game that you’ll fly through without any trouble. I know I did, and I couldn’t have been anymore wrong. At times Elemental Rage will punish you with its difficulty and demand precise actions from you. You can’t just speed your way around tapping the attack button to defeat your foes, you have to get your timing right otherwise you’ll find yourself dying often. This gets frustrating if you’re like me and it took you a few.. ahem… a lot of attempts to get used to the combat. Trying to perform awkward jumps while a bat waiting to hone in on you as soon as you land was a particularly irritating part, you take a heroic lunge with your weapon towards the winged villain only to find you’ve missed and he’s now not only struck you from your platform but in doing so you’ve had your weapon downgraded and you must traverse across what looks to be a simple platform jumping effort but turns out to be a nightmare obstacle course.
While on the topic of combat as well let’s touch on weapon downgrades. Totally not cool, original idea from my knowledge on the iPad/iPhone, but not cool. You start off with a simple staff, all you can do is short range strikes with it. After killing a few baddies your weapon will be upgraded as a reward, increasing your range and damage, upgrade once more and you’ll be able to shoot a blast of energy at your enemies with each strike. Unfortunately I don’t possess the skills of a speedrun platformer expert, so I get hit often, and every time you take a hit, your current weapon will be downgraded. Timing is essential if you want to maintain your abilities otherwise it’s back to square one which is quite painful. Unfortunately it’s not the only painful ‘feature’ in the game. Elemental Rage works with old school checkpoints, although they are close enough together, it’s once more infuriating when you die as you’ll have to redo half a dungeon again. I suppose we are spoilt with modern games and Elemental Rage does borrow from the past quite well in that respect.
The game does have its fair share of backtracking too, but you get a map in your pause menu which is a great addition because although not every area will be accessible at the beginning of the game once it is, you could easily find yourself wondering where you are, or where to go next.
The recipe for Elemental Rage seems to be a little borrowed from here and there with an added dash of originality. It’s Metroid/Castlevania style gameplay and combat, it’s 4 element dungeons ala Zelda and your run of the mill enemies resembling what can best be described as the Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts series coupled with a fresh presentation sets it apart from other attempts made in this genre on the iOS platform, that may strike a negative chord with some. But all in all, Elemental Rage is a great game with a solid control system and a story strong enough to keep you playing through to the end.