Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard (PSN) Review

Twin Blades is a great visual treat, easily one of the best-looking PSN minis. The 2D zombies and our heroine, Angelica, are great big figures, taking up nearly half the screen, and have plenty of character and detail to them. The levels have neat transparent foreground features and blood happily oozes down the screen after a particulary good splatting. But once you get past the prettiness, you being to wonder, as you swing your axe for the thousandth time, exactly what the point is.

For example, spoiling the view is a giant hand, usually pointing to the right of the screen, encouraging you on. Yet, when you reach the end of the level, there is no end, no boss to beat, no reward. You soon discover you have to pummel the appropriate number of zombies, so you might as well have stayed at the start of the level and splatted them all there. It doesn't make sense and is a major flaw in the game.

Defender had the same mechanic, but let the level wrap around - with Twin Blades, there is no point to the end of level, so why have it? Back to the brawling, Angelica (a nun with a can-do and a can-maim attitude) packs a scythe and a range of weapons. She can take a number of bites from the zombie horde and when she nears death, one usually disgorges a health potion, but there are none hiding in the crates or barrels around the level, discarding the opportunity for some scenic interaction. Once you kill the required number of zombies, you can go to the next level or head back to the church to level up her gun, scythe or other powers.

This has potential but is, again, wasted, there are different weapons including a flame thrower and holy beam gun, but apart from the neat undeath animations, doesn't change the game much as you fight slightly improved zombies. Until you come across the first boss, a giant, cleaver-wielding butcher, who is wildly over-powered. So, unless you're a real gaming ninja - its back down the streets to do more zombie mashing to power up the weapons until you stand a decent chance of beating him.

By this point you could well be bored of the whole thing and give up. If you do persevere, its just more of the same in slightly different locations. To pad it out a little there's a survival mode and a 'hard' option, but your life will have drained away long before you need it.

Available on PSN £2.49
6/10 - Very pretty but pretty pointless

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