In a world where there is magic, someone is bound to go mad with power. It happened in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it happened in Adventure Time, and now it’s happened in Wraithborne. Surprise! You are the chosen one to master the Runes of Power and protect your people. You … are … Wraithborne!
Let’s just cut to the chase: Wraithborne is fun and challenging, but a little clunky. You play as a beefed up, shirtless, handsome warrior (who I took the liberty to mentally name Gronk), going around kicking the asses of all kinds of fantasy creatures like the Mara (orc) raiders, a Beastkin called Fenris, and other wolf-like creatures that get bigger and beastlier as you play through the game. They attack you with throwing knives, claws, and by using suicide bombers. You are the chosen one, after all, and the target of all evil, so better eat your Wheaties before venturing into this game.
Gronk is no helpless princess; he’s got a nicely-sized arsenal for dispatching his foes. If you’re like me, you like to charge into the middle of the enemies arms a swingin’ and hammers a smashin’ and hope for the best … which is hella fun but doesn’t always result in Gronk making it out alive. No matter your style, there are three basic controls on the right that will get the job done: basic attack, a more powerful combo attack, or a shield that will block enemy attacks while also building up a fierce attack for you. Those controls are easy to use and super effective.
What isn’t easy to use is the joystick on the left of the screen that controls your movements. I was playing Wraithborne on an iPhone and it was difficult, not to mention annoying, to try to control Gronk via joystick. There isn’t that much room so I constantly found myself sliding off the side of the phone or up in the middle of the phone blocking my own view. Or during an attack, I would unknowingly twitch my thumb which would change the direction Gronk was facing as soon as I attacked and there he went — attacking the wall behind him instead of the enemy in front. It’s not a big deal in the beginning but as you progress the bosses and minions get tougher, making every move important to Gronk’s survival. I suggest playing it on a tablet, unless you welcome the added challenge of a small screen.
The graphics look terrific and there’s a fair amount of destructible environment in the game, so feel free to let loose your inner Bam-Bam. Another problem I ran into though is that a lot of the terrain looks the same, and you can easily overlook the path you’re suppose to take, causing you to wander in circles because you can’t figure out where to go. The game doesn’t give you any kind of compass or map, which can lead you to dead end after dead end, or missing your path altogether because it blends in and looks like a wall. This, in turn, leads to frustration, which can also lead to the dark side.
In the end, Wraithborne was a lot of fun to play, and it’s no Easy Bake Oven. It’s pretty, it’s gritty, and will test your skills as a warrior while never backing down.