A blood-sucking vampire is on the run from angry villagers in Le Vamp, High Voltage Software's new iPhone and iPad game that plays somewhat differently from the plethora of me-too runners crowding the App Store. Instead of tapping the screen to jump and attack, players interact with the environment in different ways, transforming themselves into the unseen hand that rescues the undead fiend from harm. There's a lot to take in, but once you master the learning curve, you'll no doubt fall in love with this imaginative effort.
With those aforementioned villagers in constant pursuit, Le Vamp runs into a dangerous forest populated by a handful of enemies, from meat monster Le Wurst to a pile of jack-o-lanterns that go by the name of Pumpkin Pile. Naturally, it's your job to keep the young vampire alive as long as possible, except you don't have full control of its movements. Instead, you execute a series of taps and swipes to create the safest path imaginable. This will involve smashing the Pumpkin Pile, yanking enemies from the ground so Le Vamp can slice right through them and chopping down trees to create bridges. Later, you'll even guide sunlight away from the protagonist.
Meanwhile, you must constantly feed Le Vamp blood by flicking critters known as Blood Pigs in its direction, adjusting the trajectory so the weird animals sail into its waiting mouth. What's especially neat is the option to swipe pigs in the foreground and background. As it turns out, Blood Pigs are essential, since taking damage brings the mob dangerously close until they eventually pounce, thereby ending the current run.
Furthermore, High Voltage placed coins throughout the landscape used to upgrade Le Vamp's abilities, whether that means increased health or transforming into a bat to avoid certain bad guys for long stretches of time. Ultimately, you must create some sort of balance between stuffing your pockets and keeping a close eye on the action.
Rounding out the package is the game's slick presentation. The developers did a nice job creating a gothic-style world, complete with a strange cast and Halloween-style imagery. We only wish the intro cut scene was comprised of higher resolution graphics. Everything's a bit jagged.
Of course, that's really the smallest of gripes. When you factor in the stylish visuals, unlocked goodies and the orchestration that ensues with each play, Le Vamp is one of the freshest, most entertaining runners to hit the mobile scene in months. As corny as this is to say, it's a bloody good time.
Review code provided by High Voltage Software.
What's Hot:New take on endless running games, players feel more like orchestrators thanks to enhanced interaction, gothic-style visuals, cool upgrades.
What's Not:More gameplay elements to keep in mind than the average runner.