One of the things that attracted me to mobile gaming a decade ago was how seemingly out of nowhere some amazing new game would release by some developer nobody has ever heard of. That sort of thing was frequent in the early years of the App Store, but is few and far between in the mobile gaming world of today. Well today is one of those days where some out of the blue new release has just knocked my socks right off. The game is called Wonder Blade ($2.99) and it’s from a two-person development team called Puppet Depot Game Studio. It’s a side-scrolling beat ’em up, but man that term does not do justice to the amount of variety on offer here compared to your typical brawler.
The game starts out as an arena fighter where you’re taking on waves of generic knights to win the favor of the King’s daughter. This serves as a tutorial of sorts as the game’s button commands and combat mechanics are introduced. Once it seems you’ve beaten all the knights and won the Princess over, an evil knight shows up with his huge rock golem and kidnaps her, thus setting off the most cliched video game storyline in history. It’s ok though because Wonder Blade does not take itself seriously one bit and exudes personality at every turn, essentially charming the pants off you within minutes.
Once the arena fight goes to hell, you’ll move forward through the castle fighting the evil knight’s minions as well as a couple of boss characters. The combat is incredibly satisfying as you’re able to jump, dodge, attack, and fire your magic spell and even mix many of those actions together as you see fit. A combo meter keeps track of how many hits you land in a row and there’s certain moments when an enemy is particularly beaten down where you’ll be able to perform a one-hit fatality on them. The game is definitely quite gory but in a very cartoony way, and there’s all sorts of different fatality animations that I’ve seen just in my short time playing so far.
Once you’ve beaten the first level you’ll move on to the next which is a whole new experience. You’ll actually get chased by the giant rock golem and you’ll need to ride a pig to safety in a sequence that’s similar to the infamous Battletoads hoverbike level. If you check out the trailer below, you’ll see that this pig-riding is just one of MANY different types of activities in Wonder Blade that break up the typical “walking right and beating up everything in sight" gameplay. You can also see that the game includes some RPG elements like leveling up your character, distributing stat points, unlocking special abilities and costumes, and collecting a host of different weaponry. There is so much meat to this game it’s kind of blowing my mind.
Where the HECK did this game come from? I can’t hardly believe I’m playing a game that’s so polished, so full of personality and clever ideas, and wrapped up in fantastic visuals and animations. And this was made by two people!? The final kicker is that Wonder Blade is a premium game that will set you back just $2.99 and contains no IAP. Seriously, if you’re the kind who likes a good beat ’em up but feels that they’re always too repetitive, or if you were a fan of Mika Mobile’s older games like Zombieville or OMG Pirates!, then you owe it to yourself to drop a few bucks on this absolute gem.
If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. In the world of shovelware that is today’s App Store, games like Wonder Blade need the support of those who still appreciate well-made games like this and don’t mind paying for them. It’s why sites like ours exist. This game could have easily got lost in the masses never to be seen again. So if my words or the trailer above have piqued your interest, give Wonder Blade a download and check out the forum thread where you can find even more impressions and comments from the developers.