Hanzo is one angry ninja, as he finds his family kidnapped and village pillaged upon returning from training camp. Most of us would break down and cry, but Hanzo has got the power to cope and the skills to do something about it. Perhaps not the most original story, but considering this is a game called Draw Slasher ($5.99) it will do just fine.
As the name implies this is a slasher game where you draw to execute moves. Or rather you swipe, but Swipe Slasher wouldn’t be that great of a name. Hanzo can slash in all directions, and the only limitation is his stamina. The more stamina he has the longer slashes you can perform. If you swipe on the top half of the screen he jumps, and dashes. Controlling Hanzo is highly responsive, and you can even queue moves by doing multiple swipes. Mind you if a move is blocked by an enemy the queue is reset.
Draw Slasher is an arcade brawler at heart, and most levels are all about eliminating all enemies. This can at times feel a bit repetitive when you face the ordinary monkeypiratezombiegoon. It gets much more interesting when the barrel monkeys turn up, and even more interesting when grotesque armored Frankensteins enter the fray. Timing, and aiming your slices is quite fun, and the game turns into a blood-filled precision slasher. Almost as if Fruit Ninja started pelting you with severed limbs to slice.
From time to time you encounter levels where you have to avoid getting burnt by napalm. These are quite simple, and you just tap to move Hanzo to a safe spot before moving on. To me these levels just feel like filler material, and don’t bring anything exciting to the game.
The controls are great for slashing away at enemies, but when the game forces precision jumping to avoid incoming projectiles it all turns into a hot mess. This leads to a lot of frustration, and yearning for some virtual buttons instead of swipe controls.
There have been different Draw Slasher-games on the App Store since 2009. This version is a port from PS Vita, and it looks and sounds much better than previous iterations. It is always enjoyable to see games transition between platforms, and especially when they return bigger and better to iOS.
With three levels of difficulty, a quite lengthy story mode, challenges, unlockable arcade mode and Game Center achievements there is certainly a lot of content. That being said the gameplay doesn’t evolve that much it just gets more intense. The upgrades for Hanzo are limited to health, stamina and a couple of special moves. More cool upgrades, and customization would have given the game more variety, and reason to keep playing after completing the story mode.
Draw Slasher is the ninja game for the ninja not keen on being stealthy. Hanzo did not go to the same school as the main character in Mark of the Ninja. In that school Hanzo would have been a dropout only completing the initial killing classes. That’s ok though because the action is fun, making this latest iteration of Draw Slasher on iOS a game worth checking out.