Ever since Kroll was demoed at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, we've been looking forward to Digital Legend's 3D adventure game. The teaser video was quite impressive but the gameplay was a bit of a mystery.

We've since been able to spend some time with the game and while we found it to be one of the most visually appealing games on the iPhone, the actual gameplay is a bit lacking. In many ways, it reminds us of our experience with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Both games offer a high level of polish with impressive visual effects, but gameplay is a bit too simplified and short for our taste.

In Kroll you play the hero in a side-scrolling 3D environment. The objective of the game is to defeat your enemies across 3 stages to "learn the secret behind the legend of Kroll". The gameplay, however, is quite simple. Virtual buttons on to the left and right of the screen allow you to move forward, quick swing and hard swing in either direction. There is no jumping. You are either moving your character forward/backward or swinging at your enemies. There is a special attack that can be invoked at times by shaking your iPhone.

Levels are rather short and there's simply not enough of a feeling that you are actually participating in the game. At the end of each stage, there is a "boss" to fight. Here, the game trades off visual effects for gameplay. The boss fights are essentially long cinematic cut scenes. What decides if you win or lose the fight simply depends on tapping on the skull icon that appears on screen. If you are quick enough to tap on the fleeting icon, the cut scene branches in your favor.

The game does offer 3 levels of difficulty with the most difficult level "locked" initially. The developers estimate a total game time of one to two hours.

With its short game time and simplistic gameplay, we find it hard to recommend this title at its $7.99 asking price. Overall, the game provides an impressive glimpse at the level iPhone gaming could achieve, but the gameplay doesn't quite match up to the visuals.

This gameplay video provided by Pockergamer.co.uk shows the completion of the first level of stage 1 and a good bit of level 2. There are 3 stages total with 3 levels each.

Game Details
Name: Kroll (v1.0.3) Price: $7.99 [Buy]
Developer: Digital Legends Entertainment Size: 82.8 MB
Kroll is perhaps one of the most visually impressive games available for the iPhone. But as a total package, its simplistic gameplay and short play time prevent us from recommending this title at its $7.99 asking price.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Oliver

    The comparison to Star Wars Unleashed is like putting a banner "Don't buy this shit" on this game.

  • Oliver

    The comparison to Star Wars Unleashed is like putting a banner "Don't buy this shit" on this game.

  • yeah

    Big shock.

  • yeah

    Big shock.

  • Oliver

    Currently 11 reviews in the german appstore, 3,5 stars.

  • Oliver

    Currently 11 reviews in the german appstore, 3,5 stars.

  • Marc

    Seems like the more hyped an app is (mobilechat3, star wars, kroll, etc.) the bigger the let down. Guess I won't get my hopes too high for Need For Speed.

  • Marc

    Seems like the more hyped an app is (mobilechat3, star wars, kroll, etc.) the bigger the let down. Guess I won't get my hopes too high for Need For Speed.

  • boardopboy

    Anyone figure out how to PAUSE the game yet?

    Seems like that is an important feature that isn't included... at least not that I could find in my 20 minutes of playing it.

    Anyway, it's a lot like my wife, sure is pretty to look at, but beyond that, worthless!

  • boardopboy

    Anyone figure out how to PAUSE the game yet?

    Seems like that is an important feature that isn't included... at least not that I could find in my 20 minutes of playing it.

    Anyway, it's a lot like my wife, sure is pretty to look at, but beyond that, worthless!

  • Shoesy

    Well I wish I had waited to read this review. Very accurate summary- heed these words well.

  • http://j7i4er Shoesy

    Well I wish I had waited to read this review. Very accurate summary- heed these words well.

  • whooley

    I think it's a pity they didn't use the accelerometer for character movement (it's a bit awkward having to switch between hitting and moving), which would also have freed up another button for another action - perhaps jumping?

    Even a subtle change like that could have improved the gameplay a lot.

  • whooley

    I think it's a pity they didn't use the accelerometer for character movement (it's a bit awkward having to switch between hitting and moving), which would also have freed up another button for another action - perhaps jumping?

    Even a subtle change like that could have improved the gameplay a lot.

  • Finch

    yea i think ill give this one a miss.

    I admit I want to see nice pretty 3d graphics on my iPhone, but maybe ill just wait for a publicly available port of quake3

  • Finch

    yea i think ill give this one a miss.

    I admit I want to see nice pretty 3d graphics on my iPhone, but maybe ill just wait for a publicly available port of quake3

  • Steve

    damn i was looking forward to getting this game today. looks like a pass for me. Maybe i'll get it when it's 0.99

  • Steve

    damn i was looking forward to getting this game today. looks like a pass for me. Maybe i'll get it when it's 0.99

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    Arn and I were noting how the current version is scaled back from the preview video shown at WWDC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiC76GTOMq0

    I don't think this game is ridiculously bad or anything, it's just overpriced. That said, at - say - $0.99 it would be underpriced. It looks far better than, but plays like some of the old 80s 8-bit fighters. But as Arn pointed out, a lot of those 8-bit 80s fighters were superior games to this.

    I'd like it more blocking was a possible player action, it would add to the feel of being involved in the fight.

    The "boss fights" may as well not be there.

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    Arn and I were noting how the current version is scaled back from the preview video shown at WWDC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiC76GTOMq0

    I don't think this game is ridiculously bad or anything, it's just overpriced. That said, at - say - $0.99 it would be underpriced. It looks far better than, but plays like some of the old 80s 8-bit fighters. But as Arn pointed out, a lot of those 8-bit 80s fighters were superior games to this.

    I'd like it more blocking was a possible player action, it would add to the feel of being involved in the fight.

    The "boss fights" may as well not be there.

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  • ArtOfWarfare

    Wait, people were actually expecting this to be good?

    Watching the preview on YouTube I could already tell it was going to basically be a movie where periodically you've got to hit a button to select the next scene. It's as exciting as a choose your own adventure book. (Well... I actually never read one of those... but I imagine they're really dull... and I imagined this would be too.)

    ...

    I haven't actually played though (still waiting for my iPod Touch to be delivered... which means first I need one to show up on eBay in my price range of 32GB (1st) for $240 or less or $310 or less for the 32GB (2nd).)

  • ArtOfWarfare

    Wait, people were actually expecting this to be good?

    Watching the preview on YouTube I could already tell it was going to basically be a movie where periodically you've got to hit a button to select the next scene. It's as exciting as a choose your own adventure book. (Well... I actually never read one of those... but I imagine they're really dull... and I imagined this would be too.)

    ...

    I haven't actually played though (still waiting for my iPod Touch to be delivered... which means first I need one to show up on eBay in my price range of 32GB (1st) for $240 or less or $310 or less for the 32GB (2nd).)

  • Mike

    Pretty darn accurate assessment. I was bored by the time I reached the end of the first section, but persisted until level two. Monotonous in the extreme.

  • Mike

    Pretty darn accurate assessment. I was bored by the time I reached the end of the first section, but persisted until level two. Monotonous in the extreme.

  • http://www.vigilantec.com Kadjisan

    This game is better than most of the crappy apps on the App Store. Let alone this game offers plenty of gameplay elements.

    Sadly I agree about the gameplay holding back. Looking at the mac demonstration, they removed all the features that would of made the game God of War on the Iphone worthy.

    That brings me to the next point. This game is almost like God of War without the freedom to roam. Thats not a problem.

    Lets just say that this is a step in the right direction.

    @ArtofWarfare: No, you couldn't tell it was going ot be like this. The demonstration video (the only video shown before this release), showed a dynamic world with complex player control. It showed quality, not simplicity.

    What we got was simplicity, just like the force unleashed game.

    Again, I can't complain. People pay $60 for crappy short console games, yet you guys can't spare $7 for a reasonably fun experience on the Ipod/Iphone.

  • http://www.vigilantec.com Kadjisan

    This game is better than most of the crappy apps on the App Store. Let alone this game offers plenty of gameplay elements.

    Sadly I agree about the gameplay holding back. Looking at the mac demonstration, they removed all the features that would of made the game God of War on the Iphone worthy.

    That brings me to the next point. This game is almost like God of War without the freedom to roam. Thats not a problem.

    Lets just say that this is a step in the right direction.

    @ArtofWarfare: No, you couldn't tell it was going ot be like this. The demonstration video (the only video shown before this release), showed a dynamic world with complex player control. It showed quality, not simplicity.

    What we got was simplicity, just like the force unleashed game.

    Again, I can't complain. People pay $60 for crappy short console games, yet you guys can't spare $7 for a reasonably fun experience on the Ipod/Iphone.

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  • Jordan

    It's not as bad as the comments here are making out.

    @ boardopboy - Tap the top of the screen to pause. I figured this out when I was trying to tap Kroll to activate his super-power instead of shaking the iPod.

    @ ArtOfWarfare - The game isn't like that at all. It's like a typical side scrolling beat-em-up a la Rastan or Sword of Sodan from the 80s/90s.

    You have three virtual buttons on the right and left hand side of the screen. Tapping these buttons acts just like tapping buttons on a physical controller.

    You can move forwards and backwards (lower right and lower left buttons), you have a fast attack forwards and backwards (medium buttons on both sides), and you have a heavy attack forwards and backwards (upper right and upper left buttons.)

    The only thing that's movie like are the boss-fights that are QTE (Quick Time Events). A flashing hot-spot will light up on the boss, you tap it quickly before it vanishes and Kroll does his thing. Miss and you get squashed.

    My only complaint, after finishing on the easiest level, is that it's too short. But I'll go back and hit the other two difficulty levels as well.

  • Jordan

    It's not as bad as the comments here are making out.

    @ boardopboy - Tap the top of the screen to pause. I figured this out when I was trying to tap Kroll to activate his super-power instead of shaking the iPod.

    @ ArtOfWarfare - The game isn't like that at all. It's like a typical side scrolling beat-em-up a la Rastan or Sword of Sodan from the 80s/90s.

    You have three virtual buttons on the right and left hand side of the screen. Tapping these buttons acts just like tapping buttons on a physical controller.

    You can move forwards and backwards (lower right and lower left buttons), you have a fast attack forwards and backwards (medium buttons on both sides), and you have a heavy attack forwards and backwards (upper right and upper left buttons.)

    The only thing that's movie like are the boss-fights that are QTE (Quick Time Events). A flashing hot-spot will light up on the boss, you tap it quickly before it vanishes and Kroll does his thing. Miss and you get squashed.

    My only complaint, after finishing on the easiest level, is that it's too short. But I'll go back and hit the other two difficulty levels as well.

  • norwegian fingers

    From the video, the game didn't seem to have any progression from the first to the second level. If you just move and hit monsters, and basically nothing else, it's a great engine and pretty graphics gone to waste.

    Good thing is the developers now have a nice engine, on which they can develop better and more interesting future games. :)

  • norwegian fingers

    From the video, the game didn't seem to have any progression from the first to the second level. If you just move and hit monsters, and basically nothing else, it's a great engine and pretty graphics gone to waste.

    Good thing is the developers now have a nice engine, on which they can develop better and more interesting future games. :)