I have to be honest -- I didn't like Orc: Vengeance when I first started playing it. The new dungeon crawling game from Chillingo looked great, but I was really annoyed by the constant tapping control scheme. However, the more I played, the more I adapted to its unique control style. And that's when I started to see how great this game actually was.

Orc: Vengeance offers a slight twist on the modern hack-n-slash dungeon crawler. Instead of choosing your class and species, you only play as Rok, an Orc Warchief looking for vengeance against The Dark Lord, who is an even bigger jerk than you are. Run (or slowly walk) around the various dungeons in your quest for Orc revenge.

The graphics are quite impressive. Character models look great, though I got sick of seeing nothing but skeletons and spiders in the first act. Let's spice things up a bit, guys. At least they didn't go with the generic blob creatures. I think those have finally been outlawed as enemies in dungeon crawling games.

I wasn't a fan of Orc's constant tap-tap control scheme. Instead of a joystick, I had to tap where I wanted to go. If I held down on the screen, then Rok would run in that direction. It took some getting used to because I was really annoyed with having to tap all over the stupid screen every second just to move. Tap on an enemy or object to attack or interact with it. Tapping became less annoying when I used it to move around swarms of enemies and bosses, waiting for my health and armor to regenerate before I attacked again. These hit-and-run tactics are the best way to fight bigger and stronger enemies.

Sometimes my Orc would get "stuck" if I tapped near an inanimate object. It was as if the game was trying to figure out how to get around it. I also noticed a drop in frame-rate when too many enemies were on screen.

Gold, weapons, potions and armor can be found in barrels and chests and are usually dropped by slain enemies. Gain experience points as you progress. You earn points that you can use to upgrade your attack, defense, greed and vengeance skills. It's a really easy level-up system. Even equipping skills and weapons is simple drag-and-drop. Hover over a new weapon, and it compares stats with what you have equipped. Drag skills and potions into your various skill slots, which are activated by different swipe controls. It's a slick and easy interface, allowing for no-nonsense upgrading so you can focus on more important things -- like bashing skulls.

Dungeons look great though I'd like to see more variety in each chapter of an act. Maybe it's me but I get bored looking at the same thing level after level. I'd also like to see a lot more enemies. Besides the bosses, which are tough and look cool, you're not going to find a potpourri of bad guys in the game. But that's also not going to stop you from playing more of it just to see who you run into next.

In the end, Orc: Vengeance is a fun pick-up-and-play RPG and manages to maintain depth with its simplified controls and equipment screen overlay. The graphics and sound effects are top-notch. However, the controls may still bother those who love moving with an on-screen joystick. So far I haven't had to bother with any in-app purchases for gold. I've managed just fine with my hit-and-run tactics, which can be viewed as cheesy and cheap by some. Then again, I'm playing as an Orc, a creature not really known for its fair play on the battlefield.


App Store Link: Orc: Vengeance for iPhoneiPad | By Chillingo | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.1 | 482 MB | Rating 9+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating