344466_largerFans of bullet-hell shooters simply don’t see enough of the genre these days. Outside of Cave’s wonderful shoot ‘em ups – or annoyingly “Shmups” to some - the selection for these kinds of experiences fall short of what I’d expect; especially with how well they tend to play on touch devices. I was both excited and a bit cynical when I spotted Inheritage: Boundary of Existence [Free / $1.99] on the app store this week. Not only because it was a shoot ‘em up, but because Tinker Games - its developer - doesn’t seem to be another app store hack, pumping out cash-in-games with hopes of striking gold. As for the game: it’s unfortunately not  a Cave quality experience but…it’s also not as bad as I was expecting.

In some instances, Inheritage is just another 2D horizontal-scrolling shooter with touch-controls - a la Blazing Star. In others, it’s attempting to weave compelling narrative in a genre that, primarily, throws story-beats out the window. Thankfully, if you want to skip all the blah-blah-blah and simply want to avoid a screen-full of bullets you can skip 90% of Inheritage’s story. I, on the other hand, believe Tinker Games should be commended for their efforts, of realizing a world – yes, with chunks of optional lore to read - in a shoot ‘em up. Not because their narrative is groundbreaking but because it simply exists where most others tend to stick to tired tradition.

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Fore-warning: Anime! Tinker’s clearly a developer from the “far-east coast”, so expect a few hours of rad Indonesian voice-over, absurd plot-twists, loud elongated growls and all the other Anime-troupes some of us have come to enjoy. Inheritage’s plot grew on me, though, and by its end piqued my interest.

I flew our cat-eared protagonist – and her trusty animal companion - between the tightest of spaces by simply dragging a finger about the touch-screen. Controls work smoothly and never flinch, although on an iPhone the lack of screen tends to make things more difficult than they should be. Truth be told, I only managed to complete the game while running on my iPad; which should be a concerning note to anyone without one. The extra screen real-estate simply makes the action more visible without your finger blocking the view. To my surprise, the up-scaling to iPad doesn’t hurt the visuals with jagged edges noticeably.

mzl.hzeukxgm.640x960-75Still, controls are not what tend to breed skepticism with shooters these days on iOS. The intricate dodge-patterns – yes, I’m totally being a nerd here – of Inheritage were a blast to fly through, even when they make you pull hair out with difficulty. These patterns are not often repeated and knowing what to expect – or figuring out how to navigate through the bullets – takes effort and a bit of practice, as it should.

Shoot ‘em ups are about challenge. It’s a niche genre that scares those away who are unwilling to struggle; unwilling to get better at the tasks the game is expecting of the player. Inheritage obeys those troupes, challenging the-will-to-try again. When your health meter depletes, you face the continue screen and decide to continue. Continuing does not penalize the player by dashing you back to the start of a level, instead dropping you right where you left of. Face the continue screen 5 times, though, and it’s game over; resetting all progress. Too harsh for some, I know, but it’s the kind of challenge fans of “Shmups” respect. The kind of challenge I too respect, mainly because the game feels designed around the principle.

Inheritage: Boundary of Existence has a lot going for it. Its music, unlockables, art, and story all prove Tinker Games makes love when developing their games. And while Tinker’s debut release on the app store is respectable it’s not without problems.

Its narrative, while interesting, is poorly translated. Levels are bite-sized endeavors – which is an understandable point being on a mobile device – and lack any environmental dangers. Load times are a bit long. No Game Center support means leaderboards remain only local and useless. And the lack of rotation-detection means you can’t turn your device over to a preferred holding position. Nit-picks and nothing a few updates can’t fix, sure, but still notable issues – especially the lack of Game Center leaderboards.

Inheritage should be respected. It’s a first-effort, packing impressive amounts of care and detail, and evidence of solidity with Tinker. If you “occasionally play things like this” or find Toon Shooter  to be your favorite on iOS you may want to test run this puppy with the lite version; this is a challenging game and has plans to crush all motivation with every game over. Inheritage is fun, though, and an exciting effort to drive story through a shoot ‘em up. It’s an impressive game that's *just* an update away from being great.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/legacy99 Raka Mahesa

    Just saying, it's Indonesian (the developers are from Indonesia) and not Japanese voice over, though yes, the game has a lot of anime tropes in it XD

    • Qualitybeats

      Forgive me for my lack of knowledge in Eastern languages. As I said in my review, I kind of just stumbled onto this so...

      Ill alert the editors to fix that. :) Thanks for reading.

      • http://twitter.com/legacy99 Raka Mahesa

        No problem, even I do think that the game screams "Japanese" all over the place ;)

      • SumoSplash

        If I didn't know the developers were Indonesian, I never would have thought this was done by anyone outside Japan.

  • Jeffin

    Thank you so much for the review! :)
    Unfortunately now it's only available through South East Asia, Canada and Australia Appstore. But it will be released worldwide SOON with rotation fix, better loading time, and more updates! :D

    • Qualitybeats

      Thanks for that tidbit of info.

      • Jeffin

        Actually that was our plan, but we're all really excited by this review so we decided to release it to the US market NOW, so that our fellow TA reader could try our game!!^^ maybe it'll take a little while before the game shows up on US store, but be sure to check the store!
        Thank you so much! :)

      • SeVok

        There is also Europe, you know the other fellow TA readers. Thanks a lot for not thinking of that region.

      • Jeffin

        Thanks for your enthusiasm! ^^ We're also planning to release it worldwide REALLY SOON! But we have to make sure of several things first, so please wait a little bit more :)

  • marc0313

    Ok, does anyone have news on RollerCoaster Tycoon.?

  • ZarieoZ

    Off topic but TA never posted in Sundays & Saturdays, but this week they did, is that an indication of what to come or did they just have some backlog??

  • ZarieoZ

    Off topic but TA never posts on Sundays & Saturdays but I can't help but notice they did this week

  • ZarieoZ

    Off-topic but TA never posts on Sundays & Saturdays but I couldn't help but notice that they did this week. Is that an indication of things to come or was It just some backlog??

    • xx99

      It could be a new thing, they did just pick up a bunch of new writers.

      • ZarieoZ

        That would be great :-)

        & sorry guys for the double posts, me and the TA app are always fighting for dominance...... It was an error.

  • Royce

    This is not an iPad game and the post should not have the "iPad game" tag. I got excited for a minute and thought maybe they updated it to universal already, then I remembered the dev said in the game thread it isn't likely to happen any time soon or maybe ever.

    • Qualitybeats

      I actually didn't see much a problem with running the iPhone version on iPad, and noted in the review that I thought it visually held up better than most did.

      Ill have the iPad tag fixed, anyway, thanks for the insight and for reading.

  • witedahlia

    Good review. Very detailed. Now I want this game!

  • Alexei Baboulevitch

    Great to see more shmups on iOS, but I wish you guys had covered Danmaku Unlimited 2 when it came out. Still one of the best games on iOS, in my opinion.

  • SumoSplash

    Not taking anything away from this game (I played the Lite version and will pick up the Full version as well) but it saddens me that this title got a review and Danmaku 2 has been glossed over, especially with Danmaku 2 being one of the finest examples of bullet hell available anywhere.

    • Qualitybeats

      I will review Danmaku 2 for the fans, as long as the editors agree its not too late.

      This is my second review here, but Ill gladly take suggestions on games you all think deserve to be in our system.

      Contact me via twitter: @qualitybeats84 , Ill do what I can

      • SumoSplash

        Wow, that would be EXCELLENT. Sunny Tam deserves that review.

  • philodygmn

    This is a proper review, unlike the hack-job disservice given Nameless: The Hackers, a craven exercise in soulless triangulation which savaged it with almost sarcastic praise. Nameless, a game custom made on iOS, was much more humble than this game, but its story effort deserved optimistic treatment like you've given this. Creativity should be championed, cherished, and rewarded. I bought it yesterday off your review after trying the Lite version, and enjoy even the amateurish touches like "hot" recording breaking up a little and being mixed way loud when you activate her special ability :-D It's evident the creators function on artistic inspiration and talent.

    I'm so glad to find anime and action together besides just an RPG. I dare say even Cave could benefit from a little such embellishment—I would never have known Espgaluda's story but for Wikipedia... Thanks for so capably handling this title, monsieur deMelo—would that TA were to consistently exercise such conscientiousness regarding its more creatively adventuresome fare's assignations.

Inheritage: Boundary of Existence Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 3.5