Make them taste cold, hard steel.
BackStab is the Pirates of the Caribbean game we never had. Gameloft's third person adventure plunges users into a beautiful 18th century world full of intrigue, action and cool special effects, making it a must play for iPhone and iPad owners in need of some swashbuckling.
The App casts players as Henry Blake, a once proud officer in the English Navy, betrayed by a close associate named Edmund Kane, the last name chosen to drive home the point of just how evil this guy is.
Thirsty for revenge, the kind that comes at the end of a razor sharp sword, Blake sets off through a huge island comprised of a jungle, volcano, beach and city, with only one goal: kill Kane, and skewer whoever gets in his way.
Gamers travel to different locations completing missions, killing enemies, grabbing all the gold they can carry and interacting with different characters. They'll hop aboard huge ships, explore ancient ruins and get into lots of sword fights that always result in someone getting punctured or in some cases, decapitated. Blake also has a pistol that proves useful in blowing up crates of TNT and slaughtering bad guys. Finally, Gameloft peppered the adventure with cannons, used to destroy and subsequently sink the Spanish fleet.
That said, button mashing rules the day. Rapidly pressing the sword icon instructs Blake to unleash a barrage of swipes and slashes. The only precision comes from the aforementioned gun and cannon segments.
It's a great experience for the most part, especially when it comes to scaling rooftops and make daring escapes, though the computer is weak enough that staying to fight is the preferred option.
What's more, BackStab is without question one of the prettiest iPhone and iPad games we've seen, full of gorgeous set pieces, impressive water and fire effects and detailed characters. It might as well be Pirates of the Caribbean, minus Captain Jack Sparrow.
Unfortunately, the game has its share of faults. Characters tend to clip through each other (especially when Blake has someone in a choke), there are awkward pauses between lines of dialogue and enemies appear from dead ends, while the voice acting and story are both lackluster. It's a shame that, for all its technical wizardry, Gameloft failed to invest an equal amount of time in the narrative.
Ultimately, those issues prevented BackStab from achieving a perfect score, but none of these things crippled the experience. While rough around the edges, it's a sword slashing, pistol-whipping good time.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
What's Hot: Sweet graphics, enjoyable sword fighting, huge island to explore full of missions and secrets, universal download.
What's Not: Characters clip through each other, average voice acting, cliched story, you can't save anywhere.