Things start out pretty slow with iRequiem, and at first the iPhone game seems like it might not be very fun. A side-scroller set on a stationary background, you’re basically just hacking away at several different kinds of enemies. But as iRequiem goes on, the enemies become more varied and difficult and you can gather more weapons and abilities, taking what could have been a pretty boring title and making it a strategic and addictive hack-and-slash experience.
You’re battling your way through hell in order to reclaim your soul, but “through” isn’t really the word for it. There are 50 levels in the campaign mode, spread across five locations, but they’re all actually the same place with a slightly different look. Each level contains a church and a shop: the former is a place where you can activate special magic spells, the latter is your safe zone in between levels. Both are always in the same places, and you can move back and forth on the stage.
iRequiem (IPhone [Reviewed])
Developer: Rapid Turtle Games
Publisher: Rapid Turtle Games
Release Date: May 13, 2011
Each level’s goal is survival. You’ll hack through something like 23 total different kinds of enemies, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and combat patterns. A timer runs down during each level, and when it depletes completely, you get to head back to the shop to purchase new weapons and abilities. The money to pay for said items is procured from gold drops and treasure chests that show up as you do your killing.
Once you’re able to start buying new weapons and items, things pick up. You start with a pair of claws as your melee weapon and a slow-firing bow, but you can upgrade to better items for both. The ranged weapons each have several upgrades, as well as different available kinds you can switch to on the fly — a shotgun is one of the first, but you’ll wind up with a fully upgraded rocket launcher in your repertoire by the third or fourth areas. You can also buy spells that use up magic power (replenished by item drops), amulets that give you passive abilities, and health items between stages.
The depth of combat items and customization is what saves iRequiem. The game is pretty thin, though it can be addictive — each level sees new enemies or different combinations of old ones, forcing you to change up your strategies and weapons to deal with them effectively. You’ll also be playing against your ammo counter — 400 shotgun shells won’t last long if you make it your primary weapon, for example, but a heavy reliance on ranged weapons has a trade off of leaving you less vulnerable to attack. Deciding which weapons to use based on ammo, range, effectiveness and enemy type keeps the potentially repetitive combat fresh.
You also get access to different chargeable abilities, which breaks up the action even further. As you kill enemies, their bodies dissolve and leave behind souls that you can collect to fire a big spell from the church. These spells are available to you as soon as you learn how to use them, while other abilities and spells have to be earned or purchased. They all have different effects, like restoring your health and magic or making you invisible to enemies, and last for a limited time. Depending on what you need, the church spells can tip the balance in a level, or give you the boost you need to reach the end of the timer.
Dealing and taking damage also charges your adrenaline meter, which eventually gives you access to an ability called your Dark Power. Like the church spells, these last for a limited time but can seriously help you — while spells cast from soul power tend to be defensive or at least related to your character, Dark Power spells are generally offensive and super-powered. They can even help you best a boss that might otherwise kill you, so saving up adrenaline and accessing Dark Powers at the right time is crucial to success.
There are a few other elements, as well. You have access to limited use magic you can doll out any time, there are often explosive barrels spread around the map at intervals that you can tap to ravage enemies, and every so often you’ll get access to a vehicle that makes you invincible and thrashes enemies for a short amount of time. No one element in iRequiem is anything to scream about, but taken together, they make for an easy to play but still deep and engrossing combat experience.
Graphically, the game isn’t bad, but don’t expect iRequiem to wow you as far as its capabilities. There are some cool-looking enemies mixed in, and the game is generally pretty bloody as you hack through demons, but it’s fairly cartoonish in its style. This isn’t a game whose gore is going to turn your stomach, as some people have made it out to be, but if you’re not a fan of digital monster guts, you might want to look away.
As far as style is concerned, it’s difficult to tell if iRequiem’s little elements like its main character’s one liners are intentionally campy or just totally out of touch. He spouts lines like “born to be wild,” which is…well, goofy. He’s sort of a low-rent, demonic Duke Nukem, but certainly less funny and weirder. The bad translation of some of the text dialogue makes the lines even more questionable.
That’s a minor complaint, though — the awkwardness of the hopefully intentional camp doesn’t really distract from the actual gameplay. And overall, iRequiem is a decent iPhone game: addictive, easy to play and pretty fun. It’s not going to take the App Store by storm or anything, but iRequiem is a worthy download at $1.99.
- Deep combat system that develops through unlocking different items
- Various kinds of magic spells and abilities to break up the melee and ranged combat, plus occasional vehicles
- Fair amount of challenge, especially with bosses and minibosses
- Tons of levels and enemies to play through, but all are small enough for short play periods
- Awkwardly campy and a little annoying
- Gets repetitive — every level is the same area
- Takes a while to unlock enough abilities to get interesting