Elemental Rage HD
Battle an evil sorcerer and his minions, Metroidvania style.
If you enjoy games like Castlevania and Metroid, be sure to play Elemental Rage HD. Currently available on the iPad (with an iPhone release soon to follow), this expansive 2D adventure features hours of monster bashing fun, enjoyable platform hopping and surprisingly tight controls, making it a guilty pleasure and homage to those aforementioned franchises.
The App's story, however trivial, casts you as Huna, a hero charged with freeing the Elemental Spirits and destroying a dark sorcerer named Devan. To get the job done, you'll explore a huge castle in search of keys and other items, upgrading your weapon and learning new skills (like the valuable double jump) along the way.
Standing between you and victory, of course, is an army of evil creatures that bounce around the environments and unleash projectiles. Thankfully, you're able to give these enemies a good spanking with a wooden staff that grows in power the longer you play.
For the most part, Elemental Rage holds up well. The game's fairly huge, with a series of maps to help you navigate through the different areas. We're also fans of the on-screen d-pad and buttons, which are both wonderfully effective and customizable (you can change their position on the screen).
That said, the game lacks an edge, a key plot point that made the Metroids and Castlevanias so memorable. The narrative failed to keep us entertained, with characters that drone on a bit too much. If anything, we wanted to skip the dialogue and jump into the action.
Adventuring, though, comes with a price. You can expect a lot of backtracking with reappearing enemies, as well as slight issues with performance at odd moments, like jumping around with no creatures in sight.
We also dislike the weapon upgrade system that nixes the current ability whenever Huna takes damage. Not sure why the developers chose to go with such a disappointing feature. If anything, it's more of a hindrance that kills the desire to push forward.
These issues aside, Elemental Rage HD still provides several hours of fun, and it's great to see this type of game on the App Store. We think $6.99 is a bit much, but if you're into this type of adventure, it's a solid pickup.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
What's Hot: Castlevania inspired adventuring, slick cartoon graphics, dramatic score, satisfying combat and platform hopping.
What's Not: Back tracking, losing weapon upgrades, slight performance issues, lackluster story.