Needs divine intervention.
The Gods: Rebellion is a third-person beat-em-up loosely based on ancient Chinese mythology. Over the course of the single-player campaign, you'll free humanity and fight evil across seven levels designed using Unreal Engine. The concept and assorted features sounded great on the App Store, but in practice, Chillingo's new iPhone and iPad adventure stumbles due to poorly designed virtual buttons and unimpressive visuals.
Ridiculously small buttons make the game more frustrating than it should be. With no option to enlarge and move them around the screen, large-handed players will often lose track of their thumbs and watch angrily as the hero fails to react. This often comes at the expense of hero Fu Xi's health bar, with small bands of enemies eager to score cheap shots.
The graphics, meanwhile, don't necessarily push iOS devices to the limit. There's a drab, almost faded look to the stone fortresses, statues and dank forests that make up the game, and with the camera pulled so far back, it deprives players of admiring the detail on the creatures they encounter.
We're also a bit turned off by the in-app purchasing. It's perfectly fine for Chillingo to sell Soul Points, the game's virtual currency, but something like a Dragon Ball that replenishes health over time shouldn't cost money. If anything, we would have preferred a handful of power-ups stored within breakable crates and pots, or perhaps the chance to gain new abilities from defeating bosses.
Despite all the doom and gloom, The Gods: Rebellion isn't a lost cause. There's no shortage of enemies to slaughter, and delivering a critical strike causes bad guys to literally fall apart. The inclusion of axe attacks (with limited energy) also adds strategy to the combat, as players figure out the best moments to unleash more powerful strikes.
In addition, collecting Soul Points allows users to upgrade Fu Xi's skills in-game, tweaking Defense, his rapid Dragon Fist attack and Counter Attack ability, which ties into the game's parrying system. Of course, you'll need a ton of Skill Points to transform this guy into the ultimate killing machine, and as we expected, said points are at times difficult to come by in bunches.
All of this makes The Gods: Rebellion a sweet and mostly sour experience. Had the developers put work into the controls, this could have been a respectable God of War clone. In its current state, the game fails to thrill, but if you're in search of a bloody beat-em-up, this average title satisfies on the most basic level.
Review code provided by Chillingo.
What's Hot:Upgrading skills on-the-fly, seven levels filled with baddies to pummel, watching monsters fall apart.
What's Not:Small virtual buttons, cheap enemy attacks, paying for power-ups, unimpressive graphics.