When it comes to character action games on iOS, there seems to be a perpetual battle between preserving the fast-paced combo-driven combat of the sub-genre with touch controls that typically aren't conducive to the experience at hand. Unfortunately, Chillingo's The Gods: Rebellion [$0.99] isn't going to resolve that battle anytime soon. While the game looks great, offers a load of content and preserves that fast-paced feeling of character action titles, the controls leave a lot to be desired, keeping that schism of controls vs gameplay alive and well.

The first thing you'll notice when firing up Rebellion are its impressive visuals. Utilizing the Unreal Engine, Rebellion features detailed (and occasionally moving) backdrops, nicely done combat animations and effects and a stable, fast framerate. While character models themselves don't particularly standout, I was impressed with the game as a whole.

From a gameplay standpoint, Rebellion is as close to the character action genre as you're going to get on iOS. You won't find any puzzles or exploration here; Rebellion instead focuses on lots of enemies, lots of combat, and lots of combos. Each of the 7 levels are typically broken up in pieces where you move to an arena, the path forward gets blocked, and you fight a myriad of baddies until the game is satisfied and you move on. At the end of each level is a boss which with moves that require a bit more thought to process and avoid than the standard enemies.

As far as pure action is concerned, Rebellion is does a great job hitting its mark. Enemies are varied and cover all standard types (such as ranged, counter-heavy, light warriors, etc), each with a preferred manner of being dispatched. In addition, a perpetual experience system a la God of War allows players to upgrade basic stats and attacks (which unlock new standard combos) as well as new special moves that require a combination of attacks in order to pull off. These are all good tools because even on the easiest difficulty, I found Rebellion to be a bit on the difficult side, particularly when it comes to the bosses. The game also features a robust IAP system that allows you to buy health items, experience and new characters, each with their own different stat-lines. While Rebellion doesn't feature anything particularly groundbreaking, what it does offer is executed well.

While Rebellion definitely hits the mark as far as possessing graphical flair and a solid combat and upgrade system, the most important question yet to be answered is how well it controls on iOS devices. Unfortunately, Rebellion's exclusive reliance on virtual buttons coupled with an inability to customize the scheme in any way definitely works against it. Players use a joystick on the left side side to control character movement, while the right side contains buttons for basic attacks, special attacks, blocking, and countering.

The biggest issue with the scheme as currently implemented is the fact that all the combat buttons are too clustered around each other, leading to a lot of miscues as you think you're attacking and you block instead (especially since so many combos require use of multiple attack buttons). Even stranger, the counter button is bigger than the others and placed in a location where I imagine an attack command would be better placed. This lead to a lot mistimed counters during my playtime which just ended up being frustrating (especially considering executing a counter takes a few seconds, regardless of whether you actually counter anything). Finally, the lack of any control customization just boggles my mind, as even a system such as Gameloft's (which allows you to move and resize any button on screen) would have gone a long way towards making Rebellion control better.

It's a shame because the current control scheme, combined with the difficulty curve seems to want to push players towards purchasing the IAP health items and experience, when in reality simply fixing the issues would make the game far more playable (and enjoyable, to boot). As it stands, The Gods: Rebellion does a decent job recreating the character action experience on iOS in nearly every aspect save controls. If you have more patience than me (or are simply used to iOS character action titles) by all means check out Rebellion as it offers a lot in its other elements. For folks hoping this is the magical game that successfully merges combo controls with a touch screen, prepare to be disappointed.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • TGMzero

    I loved this game. Bought the panda character and it's even better.

  • http://twitter.com/mrholder mrholder

    The controls can be aggravating, but overall it's a great title. Like having a console quality game in your pocket for a buck. Can't beat that.

  • Jan Jørgensen

    I fully agree with this review. The awkward control system kills the game for me.

  • ratsinheat

    Has anyone heard "character action" as a game genre before reading TA?

    • themostunclean

      The term has been around for a while.

      It's not used as a genre reference, more a description of style (some might say sub-genre). Any game that focuses on the development of a character, specifically in the area of martial combat (beat-em-ups). Aforementioned character is usually audacious in design and dress. DMC, Bayonetta, Lollipop Chainsaw, Ninja Gaiden and God of War are all in the Character Action category.

      It's probably my favorite style of game. I'm a sucker for punishment and they're usually notoriously difficult games. Except God of War.

  • diaskeaus

    Ended up deleting the game because of stuttering issues on my phone and half of my attacks would miss the enemy due to lag. Also beware, the screenshots are not actually representative of the game.

    Unlike God of War, this game plays more like Diablo with the isometric view. Also, large levels == exploration, just lots of locked battles with different variations of the levels three or four types of enemies.

    However, for an action title (and if your piece can handle the graphics) it is a well done hack and slasher with some nice eye candy. IAP isn't needed, as long as you are willing to play the same level several times so as to not die on the difficult bosses.

    • themostunclean

      Endless mode is a much faster way to gain currency.

      Neither of my phones or iPad had a problem with this game (4S and 5, iPad 2) and it looked great on them all. What are you running it on?

      My only gripe is the control spacing. Other than that, one of the best grinding brawlers on iOS. Not a lot of competition though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wyatt.hancock.90 Wyatt Hancock

    How do you kill the blood ghost? ( the dude who hurls red balls of energy and regenerates every time you hit it)

  • blackout845

    The graphics for this game look like crap on my ipad3

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanmcelroy2 Johnny McElroy

    Does anyone know where I can find the combo lists for this game? I'm only able to do Bonesmasher and I've tried so many combos it's ridiculous.

  • Grim Joker

    This update messed up the controllers even more!

  • worldcitizen1919

    Is there a way to grind or level up to improve your fighter without using IAP? I couldn't beat a boss and the game doesn't seem to let you go back and grind so what choice is there other than buy IAP? I deleted it when I couldn't go any farther. Other than that its not a bad game but I git tired of repeating the same fight over again.

  • worldcitizen1919

    Classification : Fair/Ripoff

    Game is not too bad but question marks on controls and graphics as well as too much reliance on IAP. Can't recommend this game in its current form

The Gods: Uprising Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5