The new rockstar of fantasy is here to smash skulls: Rok.
Some people you don’t want to piss off, period. You don’t want to piss off any orc for that matter. They don’t rely on talks, counselling or flimsy ultimatums to solve their issues. They fight, maim and kill. Someone seriously pissed off Rok, and being an orc he lives up to his pedigree. Now it is up to your fingers to guide his anger.
There is one fundamental flaw to ORC: Vengeance, and that is the fact that the protagonist is an orc. I have learnt to dislike orcs from my youth, and reading the Tolkien classics. They are a nasty bunch for sure, and Rok is none the better. Still this is not the main issue with having an orc in the lead of a game. Rather it is the slow pace of movement that comes with an orc hero. Even when running it feels like Rok would rather stop, and have a quick smoke instead. He lumbers about slowly, and this makes exploration a pain. I just hope that I pick up enough cool loot along the way without making costly detours. By costly I mean in my own personal time. Having played a whole bunch of Diablo, Baldur’s Gate and Dungeon Hunter I understand why none of those games opted for a slow character as hero. If Big Cave Games wanted their anti-hero to stand out from the mages, knights and rogues they could have gone for a nimble goblin, evil dark-elf or cruel wizard. At least having a choice to play as something with more speed to movement, and attacks would have been great.
The controls in ORC: Vengeance is all tap, and gesture based. Tap where you want Rok to go, and if you hold the screen for a bit longer he starts his lumbering run. It takes some time to get used to this control scheme after playing tons of dual stick shooters on iOS. For those using the touch to move controls in Dungeon Hunter this will be a much smoother ride. The first couple of levels I kept using up my magic, or rather vengeance meter when movement taps got interpreted as gestures. A tip is to use something that draws less power for the double tap gesture to avoid running out of power. New gestures can be unlocked, and you are free to place potions, or attacks in the different spots. The circle is perfect for potions, and so is the zigzag as both of these are less likely to be done by mistake.
Attacking an enemy is simply a matter of tapping, and watching Rok hack away. Depending on the enemy, and number of them different powers can be rather effective. There is no dodging, or blocking to be done and when outnumbered all you can do is to hope you have enough health potions to survive. There is very little skill in the combat other than using potions, and the proper attack powers.
The environments look great with cool lighting effects, and shadows cast by open flames. Overall this is a pretty game to walk about in. Not far from other dungeon crawlers, such as Dungeon Hunter. One thing I would like to see more of is objects to interact with other than the odd chest, and barrel. The world feels rather barren, and considering this is an orc warrior he should be able to wreck havoc on the environment. The orc is definitely the unkempt rock-warrior of the fantasy realm.
Bombastic orchestral music creates a great atmosphere suitable to the dungeon crawling genre. Overall this is a game with high production values, and it shows in all departments. From the small grunts of Rok to the horrid sounds of sword cutting through dry bone.
Loot, and weaponry are key parts to any dungeon crawler, and ORC: Vengeance is not convincing in this regard. Rok only uses melee weapons, and the lack of bows, crossbows and magical bolts hurts it. Axes, swords, mallets and hammers can be upgraded to the same level as Rok. This is all customization that can be done. No mixing of materials, gems or powers. Furthermore there are only shields available for defence, and no armour to take into consideration. I criticised Dungeon Hunter for having too much loot not important, but I rather have that than a lack of it.
ORC: Vengeance is extremely linear in nature. The levels follow a straight structure, and once played they follow a simple unlock the door pattern. Compared to other dungeon crawlers where you have to travel between caverns, and you have to find a merchant to buy and sell loot you just tap the next level.
ORC: Vengeance certainly has it’s moments when the gesture controls come together when surrounded by five or six monsters, and Rok rocks his axe. Too much time is spent slowly running around the linear levels looking for a switch to open another gate. If you yearn for a new dungeon crawler to play after the abysmal freemium Dungeon Hunter 3 this might hold your interest for quite a number of hours. It is a lonely game though with no multiplayer to be seen. Do not expect the experience to be close to Diablo 3, or even Dungeon Hunter 2.
ORC: Vengeance $2.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.