There have been a few clones of Fruit Ninja that have popped up over the years, but few have really attempted to move the formula forward. That's where KingHunt [$0.99] comes in. With an engine that blows its competitors out of the water and minor RPG elements in tow, KingHunt delivers a fun quest that takes this sub-genre to the next level.
The beauty of slicing games is that they're fairly easy to understand, and don't require a lengthy tutorial to teach you the intracies of each stroke. Having said that, you'll need to grasp the basic concept, as KingHunt kind of just throws you into the fray with nary an explanation. Slicing can be done in any direction in a straight line, and you'll want to basically swing at everything but bombs, which will damage your health. Yep -- there's a health bar, so one errant swipe won't spell an instant game over.
Waves will fling out from the bottom of the screen at steady intervals, presenting different formations and directions of slicing. The best part? There's boss battles, and RPG elements like health potions that help mix things up beyond a mindless swipe affair. The health potions are a minor but welcome addition, as they allow you to get a little more careless when going for big continuous swipe combos rather than play things too close to the chest. Boss battles aren't any old reject characters either, as the hilarious Muffin King and Count Cheese make up a colorful and cute cast. They could stand to be a little more difficult for sure, but they're charming enough to get by.
There's a point to the game too: a dastardly chef has taken over the kingdom, and it's up to you to set things right. It's a silly setup for sure, but it works, and it's charming to boot. KingHunt is billed as a "next generation slicing game" mostly because of its high quality visuals, and I have to say, that's not far off the mark. Every single model and environment is painstakingly detailed, it looks absolutely gorgeous on a high-end device. One of the best parts is how each enemy or item reacts to your swipes, like the flowing of fruit juice or the explosion of bird feathers.
The game is colorful, with pretty much every color you can think of dotting screen, leading to an impressively vibrant game. It's also nice to see a wide variety of environments like deserts and swamps, so you don't get bored looking at the same screen over and over. Developer Mountain Sheep truly has created a unique style in their own right, to the point where I wouldn't mind seeing more games in the same universe.
It helps that there are a ton of stages to work through before you get to the evil chef, and an entire post-game questline with optional objectives to work through. Score attack runs are also an option, and if you're addicted enough, you could spend hours on end playing it. All in all, there's a ton of gameplay to be found in KingHunt.
One of the only problems with the game is how none of the extras are really explained. After finishing a stage random gems are dispersed, and if you touch them, you can collect them for an undefined purpose -- forums and user reviews alike are completely stumped as to what these gems actually do, which is a bit of a problem.
After some digging and a few extended play sessions, I found out that touching random parts of the world map will cause new areas to spring up, and with your gem collection, you can play extra bonus stages. These extra levels are also ill-concieved, as the purpose and the rewards you obtain are unexplained -- as are some of the challenges, which are left you to to decipher.
But in the end, KingHunt knows what it is, and it plays to its strengths quite well. If you're looking for a simple, yet addicting slicing game that actually has a point beyond an "endless mode," this is it. Despite the fact that there are a few questionable design decisions, this is basically one of the most fully featured slicing titles on the market.
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