Hero of Sparta Micro Review: God of iPhone?

The iPhone has certainly been coming into its own as a gaming device as of late. And Gameloft has had no small role in that.

Games like Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes show that at least in concept the iPhone can do much more than just puzzle games. Now Gameloft returns with what can only be called their take on God of War. Hero of Sparta is a glossy, very familiar take on one man's fight against Greece's mythological creatures. More importantly, it's a 3D hack-and-slasher packed with a variety of weapons and eight levels. But does the game deliver?

Loved
Packed Presentation - Hero of Sparta may look a bit rough when compared to home console games, but the developers still manage to push the limits in the game's presentation. You're given five weapons to choose from, all upgradeable; eight fairly deep levels that combine brawling with light puzzle solving, and an impressive collection of monsters. My favorite? The ones that turn, when killed, into a flock of crows that disperse and fly from the screen.

Hated
Wonky Controls - In general the game's use of digital thumbstick works. You press against the image of a circle and move your thumb around to move. But if you move your thumb too far the control stops responding. The fact that the button lacks any tactile response means that this may happen a bit during play.

Needs More Sizzle - The presentation is simply packed with options, but the game's look and feel is still far too reminiscent of God of War for my liking. Even worse, the plot isn't just light, it's totally disposable. In fact, I can't even remember, days later, how the game ended. I just don't care. Finally, the special attacks, while neat, don't offer the same wow factor found in some of the better action titles like God of War. I want to be blown away when I'm doing those touch-the-screen special kills or dropping a powered attack into a clutch of enemies, but I wasn't.

Hero of Sparta is a fun little action brawler, one that will keep you enthralled for days, but it could have been much better. A bit more time spent on the polish could have give this game the identity it so sorely needs to set it apart from all of the action titles sure to come to the platform.

Hero of Sparta was developed and published by Gameloft. Released on December 3 for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, retails for $10, available on Apple App Store. Played through the game on the normal setting.

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