Grim Reaper Review: An Average Side-Scrolling Fighting Game

The grim reaper has always been a symbol of death and destruction, and a new iPhone and iPod Touch pays homage to this dark figure. You are placed in his shoes in a side-scrolling fighting game, hacking and blasting away the undead, collecting their souls and sending them back where they came from. It’s an interesting and somewhat fun game, but I feel that there’s something lacking because many possible features did not make it into the game, and as a result the gameplay can get stale quickly. Nevertheless, if you’re into killing the undead, Grim Reaper is a game worth considering.

Likes

Atmosphere: The crumbling ruins and deathly graves really help give the game a creepy aura. If you’re wearing headphones while playing the game, you might feel shivers down your back, because the background sounds and the environments are somewhat disturbing. Of course, that’s what the game aims for, and that’s what it achieves – a believable, eerie environment with various undead creatures rushing at you.

Difficulty: This game has three difficulties, and it aims to satisfy both hardcore and casual gamers. It’s more centered towards the casual crowd because in the first two difficulty levels the zombies are somewhat slow and take some time to arrive. On the other hand, the hardest difficulty will also satisfy a few hardcore iDevice gamers, because zombies are faster, come at you from both sides of the screen, and later on they spawn in an almost never ending stream.

Christmas Theme: Recently the developer submitted and released a Christmas themed update to the game. While this doesn’t change anything substantially in the game, it’s still fun to see the grim reaper swinging a candy cane around instead of his usual scythe.

Dislikes

Instructions: There are no instructions in this game, and that’s a problem. The complete lack of any sort of instructions doesn’t say much about the game’s polish. Thankfully, this doesn’t render the game unplayable, as the controls are pretty self-explanatory once you see them. However, I could not really find what the difference between the weapons were, other than just aesthetical appeal. Going through the first few levels, the weapons all seemed to be the same and do the same thing. It was only until I got to the tenth level or so did I realize that some of my earlier weapons now took four hits to kill an enemy, while my more recently purchased ones took the usual three hits to kill one. Also, there’s a one hit kill move that I have not been able to puzzle out. Once in a while, when I’m attacking an enemy the grim reaper while leap into the air and do an acrobatical attack that kills the enemy in one hit. I’ve been trying to replicate this move ever since, but it seems it’s just random. Once again, this could have been explained in the instructions, if there were any.

Attack Animations: The attacks are reptitive and dull. Almost all of the attacks look exactly the same, with the exception of a few weapons that slash left, right, then up, instead of left, right, and down. I really would have liked more attacks that I can execute, because if it isn’t changed soon, the game is going to become boring and repetitive.

Enemy Variety: Enemies are all pretty much the same too. Though they look different, most of them take three hits from a newer weapon to die, and none of them have any special attacks or abilities. I’d love to see different enemies and possibly even some boss battles, because at the moment the game just throws the same, but differently looking, enemies at you.

I hope the developer will be adding on more features and things to do in the future, because at the moment Grim Reaper is just an enjoyable foundation for a concept that can be elaborated on and made much better. People may enjoy the game in its current state, but it has only captured my attention for so long.

Grim Reaper was developed by Apfel Werke, and I played through version 1.1 of the game on my iPod Touch 2G (OS 3.1.2).  The current price point of the game is $1.99.

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