iOS has its fair share of dungeon-crawler RPGs, each one hoping to conjure Diablo’s click ecstasy in the act of hitting monsters and hoovering up loot on mobile platforms. But Orc Vengeance – released yesterday on the App store – is the first title to truly look and feel the part, offering a trek through isometric caverns that shines brightly despite its murk and gloom.
It’s the work of Ryan Rutherford and Andrew Welch, designers who previously worked at iD Software and Infinity Ward, and their expertise is clearly visible. You play as a hulking Orc, taking on skeletons and zombies as you work your way towards the nefarious Dark Lord (that guy again).
Neither the premise, setting nor systems offer anything fresh or unexpected (and it’s a far simpler game than Diablo 3), but the execution is distinguished, not only in the detailed visuals but also in the rhythms of leveling and upgrading your equipment. As such, you’ll soon be sucked into its delicious play loops.
Max Schaefer, co-founder of Diablo’s creator Condor Games once said of the game: “Our mission was that we wanted the minimum amount of time between when you started the game up and when you were clubbing a skeleton.” It’s a mantra Ruthford and Welch have adopted for Orc Vengeance with pleasing focus.
The game’s playable on iPhone and iPod Touch, but much of the detail is lost here and the game becomes over-fiddly. On iPad everything falls into place, the game using a smart navigation system (tap to send your Orc scurrying off in that direction, hold to make him run) and gesture-based spells (which work better than you might expect).
Hookshot should have an interview with Ruthford and Welch at some point next week, but we’re currently two Acts deep into the game and it’s a already Must Play recommendation.
Buy the game here.