Far too often action RPG’s on the iOS fail to deliver an experience worth delving into. I suspect part of the reason may be the limited amount of time developers have to work on the game. Overall, it appears many of these games are rushed out and incomplete. When I play an iPhone games, I am looking for a polished product with a ton of replay value and well it should be fun too. Does Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance deliver such an experience? Or, should it remain an unwelcome app like so many other IOS games.
Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance is definitely one of the more original games I have played in recent memory. Its control scheme and the overall gameplay are very unique. Developers should be given kudos for trying something a little outside of the box. Unfortunately, this originality doesn’t translate into an enjoyable game.
Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance plays as a side scrolling action platformer. You control Zorro through a series of swipes and button taps. You swipe horizontally to move Zorro from left to right, swipe up to make him jump, and tap to make him swing his sword. Fighting consists of a simple tap on the screen outside the “vertical zone” of your character and blocking is a simple tap and hold. The control scheme is original but I never felt like I was in complete control of my character and most of the time I felt lost.
The game’s story is told in the form of random sketches, and paragraphs which detail your next mission. You are “Zorro” fighting against gangs and the corrupted government of California. Your task is to rid California of its scum and take on the main Gang leader which just so happens to occur in the last mission. Overall, the story is decent but the flaws in the game take away from any redeeming qualities the story may have.
Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance is quite a confusing game as it simply lacks direction. I didn’t have a sense of where I was going, or who I was fighting. There was no sense of accomplishment or no visual cue when I completed a significant portion of the game. I never felt as if I was about to finish a mission as only periodic arrows would point me the way to go.
The combat in the game is not much of challenge and frankly left me with no sense of satisfaction. I wish I could tell you there is a feeling of gratification after defeating your enemies, but I would be lying. Additionally, there is not much in the way of variety with the enemies as you only encounter swordsmen, clusters of bats and a scorpion. Defeating your enemies is accomplished with ease. Taking down enemies is like tipping dominoes. After defeating a boss, you are rewarded with a glitched black screen and a pop up asking you to post your results to Facebook. A black screen and Facebook pop up is hardly worth the time and effort you will spend taking down one of these foes.
Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance consists of five different stages in the game and each stage has 2 to 3 acts you travel through. If you managed to make it through one of the acts without quitting, you may be rewarded with a decent cut scene, or a boss fight. I wish I could discuss more positives of the game but unfortunately there are not many. I encountered many frustrating moments throughout and I seriously contemplated launching my phone against the wall. Much of the frustration lies with the gameplay mechanic’s which are poorly constructed to say the least. Staggering up a significant building to reach your next checkpoint can take about the same amount of time it does to beat an entire level.
Visually, Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance is nothing incredibly original or stunning. The games environment is both bland, and difficult to navigate through. A number platforms and buildings are somewhat meshed together, and the colours are very indistinguishable. I also noticed that my screen slightly flickers when I moved my character. It is not a major issue but certainly a small annoyance and had me questioning how the developers could have possibly not noticed the flickering. Some of the games objects are also difficult to differentiate as well. At one point in the game, I wasn’t sure if I was falling into a body of water or some cloudy foam substance formed in chemistry class.
In terms of the games audio, not much is worth mentioning as your senses are hardly in for a treat. The music average at best and the sound effects demonstrate little in the way variety or ear candy.
You can complete the game in about 90-minutes but it is 90-minutes you will never get back. It is not that Zorro: Shadow of Vengeance is a complete failure, it is just that is not enjoyable, suffers from some poor gameplay design and mechanics. Despite the relatively cheap price of $2.99, I still cannot recommend this game to mobile gamers.