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Hands On With the iPhone's First Fantasy Action Game

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Remember that stunning God of War-esque iPhone game shown off at the World Wide Developers Conference in January? The one that looked like a pretty amazing action game featuring a hammer-wielding barbarian? Well it's out on the App Store. I noticed Kroll last night while doing my semi-regular App Store check on my iPhone and immediately bought it. In the game you play as a barbarian named Delon off to find Kroll, the Lord of Life, last of the seven mage lords, and use his power to return a loved one back to life. I'm sorta guessing here, because the plot is ultra light, though delivered inside the illustrated pages of a digital book.

I've played through the first two levels so far and it seems like your typical side-scrolling action fare. You play the game holding the iPhone sideways. To move you touch the transparent arrows at the bottom of your screen. To attack you touch one of four transparent hammer icons, two on each side of the screen. The top icon delivers a heavy attack and the bottom a regular attack. Touching the left ones attacks to your left and the right attacks to your right. I found that by tapping between the two types of attacks or repeatedly tapping the same attack you can pull off a couple of mini combos.As you fight you build up life energy which can power up your weapon, making the hammer larger and spikier. The weapon auto upgrades as you battle, but maxes at after two upgrades. Those upgrades disappear if you die, but having them prevents you from starting the level over, instead you lose the upgrade but revive on the spot. You can also pull off a special attack, if you save up power earned through kills, by either tapping Delon or shaking the iPhone. I found that shaking works better, because if you miss with the tap you pause the game. Which can get a little annoying. The levels are broken up into long crawls across the screen battle bad guys and end with a boss fight that involves tapping icons that appear on the screen. The animation for these fights, and the game overall, is some of the best I've seen in an iPhone to date. So far it appears that the game is relatively light on variety, really only giving you the option to slug it out as you move left to right through the world. Of course I'm only two levels in, but I suspect that is what the game is, an old-school button masher, a screen masher, if you will. What I would like to see, and perhaps will find, are more weapons, power-ups, something to reward me for my dungeon crawl. Having said that, I'm still really enjoying Kroll so far. Let's just hope it's longer than the three levels it shows on the current page of the book I'm on.