Disappointment is a funny thing. If you knew the bad news coming from a mile away, maybe it would dull the sting. What happens when you have high expectations and hopes, only to discover those dreams don't exist? Ark of Sinners Advance shows you beauty only to snatch it away and give you the head of Medusa. This is a bait and switch on the most elemental of levels, and it really is a sin that this game exists on iOS.
Since I never played Anima: Ark of Sinners on WiiWare, I came to Ark of Sinners Advance with fresh eyes. Being trapped in a mysterious city and trying to find her friend Nemo (yes, that's really his name), Celia is a jumping, sword swinging machine. She kills undead creatures with a series of nifty combo moves and with the type of dexterity suited for a scantily clad, silver haired warrior. Credit goes to Anima Game Studio for creating a platform filled with arresting visuals and an eye catching heroine. With her eternal pout face, green eyes, and a weapon at her beck and call, who wouldn't love her?
Although the game play is far from innovative, it's at least comprehensive. To move left to right, use the the left side of your device. For jumping and sword slashing combos, there are three buttons on the right side that are easy enough to figure out. There is a nice kill move that Celia uses as she descends on her enemies, and I'm sure there are different combos to be had if you progress further in the game. Still, it's the hack-and-slash style we've grown accustomed to, although Celia looks darn sexy even when she's dispatching a purple people killing monster.
Even with uninspired game play, Ark of Sinners Advance would have been a must recommend solely based on the world created by Anima Game Studio. On a purely visceral level, the game knows how to paint a beautiful picture, and if all we did was stare at gorgeous screensavers, then this title would be a perfect fit.
But games are meant to be played, and by making the jump controls so unwieldy and unpredictable, Ark of Sinners Advance lays one big fat egg. Although it's understandable to want a bit of nuance in your controls, jumping in the game is a fool's errand and more often will lead you to your death. Since the game requires a ton of leaping, the controls must be sensitive to one's touch and accurately perform the intended action. For almost an entire afternoon, I tried to master the controls, only to realize any sliver of success was due to pure happenstance. Although the game boasts seven bosses and 10 hours of gameplay, my money is that most gamers will give up by the first hour.
It's absolutely heartbreaking that Ark of Sinners Advance fumbled at the goal line when it came to their jumping mechanics. If they release some kind of update that addresses the issue, It would be worth getting. Until then, it's just a game loaded with pretty pictures that says and does absolutely nothing. Do yourself a favor and hold on to your $2.99 and download some other beautiful iOS title. One that works. [Editor's note - I also downloaded and played it. I lasted 15 minutes before deleting it. Jump controls are awful.]