Perhaps one of the most visually stunning games on the iPad so far, The Descent [$1.99] takes full advantage of the Unity3D graphics engine in order to build on a wonderfully deep and immersive player experience that takes you through deserts, caves, the afterworlds and more on a quest to find missing daughter Liza.

Historical explorer John couldn’t believe it after discovering that the ancient legends of ‘The Book of the Dead’ were undeniably true. On the trail of his daughters whereabouts after a frantic and abrupt call, he seeks out clues of her whereabouts using her diary and eventually finds himself trapped between the world of the living and the dead.

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A beautifully designed game with elements of FPS and hidden-object style gameplay, The Descent takes you through a wonderful journey as John uncovers the many mysteries behind the ancient legend, all in hot pursuit of his missing daughter.

Using the advice of long-time friend Bill, and a book that unveils some of the clues and many hidden secrets involving the ancient legend, it is left up to the player to decide the outcome of this mysterious story. Split into 11 levels across two episodes, you will discover a series of the most wonderfully immersive environments, from deserts to caves, to the Amazon Jungle and the Akat Afterworld.

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One element I found both quite frustrating but at the same time satisfying was the lack of map guidance throughout the game which meant I would frequently find myself wandering around lost. There are of course areas where the game will simply prevent you from walking in a certain direction but for the most part I found myself meandering aimlessly until I reached a specific destination that was a nod in the right direction.

The game itself is blessed, for the most part, with incredibly fluid joystick style controls to move your character along, while tapping various dedicated buttons on the right to shoot, aim and jump. For those who don’t quite get along with the dynamic joystick control system, it’s also possible to swap for simpler touch pad controls. The controls itself were incredibly smooth, the only problem was that I kept hitting the button to fire the gun rather than jump or look around, which used unnecessary ammo and was a little frustrating at times. That said, it’s not a huge issue, and was probably more due to the way I was holding the iPad more than anything else.

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Though there are no voice-overs, nor much of an audio soundtrack to speak of, I still found the occasional short resonating bursts of sound and realistic sounding audio made me feel as though I was living the game as I advanced through some of the most visually arresting environments I’ve seen in an iOS game to this day.

Driven largely by its on-screen dialogue, it’s up to you as the player to choose and decide how the story will advance by further carrying out specific actions of some sort. Every decision made throughout The Descent affects the overall outcome of the story, which in turn makes it largely enjoyable and boasts a high replay value.

Personally, aside from being blown away by the visuals and the glaring fact that I tend to enjoy games of this genre, The Descent had a whole host of depth that I didn’t expect, and was most definitely a worthwhile purchase. If you’re on the fence about whether you should buy this visually striking adventure game, then the trailer posted above may change your mind. All in all, an exceptional mystery adventure game, and without a doubt one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve played through in some time.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • KoRoV

    Totaly agree with the review :)

    • icepulse

      One question: how does it behave on an iPad 2?

      • KoRoV

        Dont know, but works good on my iPhone 4s :) only it crashes on level 2 on older devices (4s, iPad2), so you have to set graphic lod to low, and later on level 3 and on you can set them on any lod you want, works fine on all setings :)

      • copaeci

        Thanks, I have the same problem crash on level 2 on my iPad 2. Just stop playing because of that and wait for the update, but after read your comment looks like I should try it again.

  • jeffyg3

    Never heard oft his game before. Looks interesting, I think I might check it out. How long is it?

  • tarek

    I've never heard of this before either. Is it similar to indigo lake? I'm terrible at FPS (do t have the reaction speed) so I tend to like 'slower' games. Is this fast paced or action-y?

  • Alexythimia23

    What a great review, described really well and has definitely got me interested, download commense

  • bigjack66

    What have they got against iPods?

  • ormondroydj

    The review seems overwhelmingly positive, only criticising the lack of a map feature, doesn't really explain why the game only got 4 stars

  • insanelyok

    They literally purchased a bunch of assets from the asset store and made a game from it. While that is fine by all means, it doesn't warrant praise for technical or artistic quality since it is a mixmash of other artists work.

    • insanelyok

      Also, Indiana Jones? They are using an Indiana Jones picture. In all seriousness, I tried playing this for about 5 minutes and my iPhone 5 got extremely hot. Be warned.

      • KoRoV

        If person, an explerer is wareing heat that dosent mean he's Indiana Jones -.-

      • insanelyok

        No they literally used an image of Indiana Jones.

      • Endscrypt

        What?? That is such a stupid answer i5 are well known for over-heating. So if your phone over heats it's a bad game, mm great bit of logic that is. Heatgate anyone?

    • KoRoV

      So what? They ware used to made good iOS game. Definitly beter than other flash like, social and fremium games of all types that puping up the appstore.

      • insanelyok

        It's not a good game. It is a game that had a bunch of different assets stapled together to make something barely coherent. The writing is shoddy, the quality outside the actual levels and controls are extremely shoddy and clunky and it is obvious that this is just thrown together. Look at the menu screens, look at how they are using copywritten images, look how the image quality of his daughter and himself are different, look at how clunky the dialogue system is. This screams cash grab. This developer deserves props for putting together a game out of pre-existing assets, sure. But there is nothing amazing about it and it is in the backs of real artists and developers who get no credit or praise.

  • sbirksy666

    Seriously? You thought this game was good?

    It's utter tripe, only playing it to complete it because I bought it

  • sbirksy666

    Nope couldn't even force myself to play longer....deleted

    • Kane

      You're evil

  • Veoren

    Also what's up with the icon picture? Looks rape-y. Gross.

The Descent Reviewed by Lucy Ingram on . Rating: 4