You know what? There just aren't enough games about lesbian nuns killing zombies with enormous scythes these days, and luckily, Press Start Studio rushed to fill the quota with Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard. It's a sexy, exploitative premise alright... but could it possibly result in a half decent title?
Now that Microsoft has decided to re-release it on Windows 7 handsets after the ESRB kicked up a massive fuss, it's high time we settled the issue.
Twin Blades is a simple sidescroller with a simple objective. You're a stocking-wearing nun on a mission to exterminate the undead from your town, which you'll accomplish using a selection of powerful firearms and a massive scythe. Waves of zombies stagger towards Angelika in middling groups, and two convenient onscreen icons let you cut or blast your way through them with relative ease. As well as a fairly lengthy campaign that differs depending on whether you attempt it by day or night, there's also a grind-tastic survival mode that's good for stress relief and achievement hunting.
Press Start Studios have absolutely understood the two main hooks that mobile games should offer: persistent upgrades and attractive visuals. Killing zombies will reward you with hearts that can be traded for new weapons, character buffs and abilities - meaning that what could have been a dull grind suddenly turns into an addictive quest for self-improvement. That is, until the dull grind takes hold a few hours into Survival Mode.
And the visuals? Outstanding. Twin Blades is absolutely beautiful (regardless of whether you go for an iOS or WP7 version) and showcases a consistently impressive manga-style presentation. Crisp sprites and luscious backgrounds make for a seriously shiny experience.
Unfortunately Windows 7 is still a fledgeling games platform... and it's galling to see its developers falling prey to the same traps that veteran iOS outfits used to. Which, in this case, is the age-old problem of poor controls. The on-screen D-Pad is hyper-sensitive and frequently causes Angelika to jump without provocation or design. This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, but jumping leaves Angelika defenceless for a second or two... which typically results in cheap unnecessary death.
A jump button would have solved the problem - and a little QA would have worked wonders.
Twin Blades was banned for a while on WP7 because of the liberal, gratuitous gore, which has since been replaced by green blood. In case you don't know, however, it has evolved dramatically since its original release - transforming from a mindless and pointless chore into a rewarding diversion.
- Satisfying gameplay
- Addictive upgrades
- Beautifully crisp graphics
- Repetitive to the extreme
- Poor controls
Summary: Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard is an attractive, addictive and admittedly shallow grind. The visuals and low price point make for a nice combination, but be aware that control issues can hamper the fun.
Developer: Press Start Studio