In ORC: Vengeance (Out now, $2.99) you take on the role of Rok, one of the only orcs to survive an attack from the returning evil known as the Dark One. When the game begins, you find yourself in a prison, preparing to bust out. Your task is to gather an army by finding the remaining orcs and vanquish the Dark One once and for all.
The story is an epic adventure built on revenge and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. I love the fact that you play as a character who would typically be cast as one of the bad guys in other games. You can learn about the mythology of the world from the books you find scattered around levels, and it’s great to see that Big Cave Games and Chillingo took the time to build a whole world and create a back-story for ORC: Vengeance, rather than simply focus on what’s going on in the here and now of its story.
Make no mistake about it; this is a dungeon-crawler and a very good one at that. As you progress through the dungeons and kill bats and various other undead creatures, you’ll be picking up a ton of loot. Some enemies will drop weapons and shields after they’re defeated and you can either equip them straightaway, or if they’re weak you can pick them up and sell them later.
There are RPG elements in the game as well. You can upgrade everything in ORC: Vengeance — including your character with points you earn from leveling up. There are a good amount of weapon types like maces and swords for you to try out, but unfortunately there’s only one class of character. The aforementioned weapons, skills and shields can be upgraded or bought from a vendor by using coins that you can find everywhere in each level. And it’s a good thing that you can upgrade because the later levels have some really tough enemies. The first couple of baddies are your standard hack and slash skeletons but later on you encounter some poison vomiting creatures and ghostly wraiths that can deal some serious damage.
There are boss fights that end each chapter and you’re going to have to take some time running and dodging if you want to be successful in them. Games like this usually have me worried when it comes to IAP, but they’re actually not at all necessary here. There is an insanely generous amount of loot to sell and coins everywhere to buy upgrades with so you can save your real coins.
Controls can become a bit of a problem. You tap where you want Rok to go and you can hold the target area if you want him to run there. Combat is as simple as tapping the enemy you want to attack, but it’s the special moves that can cause some confusion. Each slot requires you to perform a motion on your screen to activate it. One of the slots requires you to make a circle motion on the screen and at times it can be very faulty. You may just end up moving to another part of the screen instead of healing and it can lead to your death. I also wish that potions didn’t have to be outfitted to slots and could be used independently.
The game looks absolutely stunning. Environments are crisp and the enemies from the spiders to the walking dead are genuinely nasty and menacing looking. They made sure that Rok looks mean and badass as well, but not as gross as the things he’s pulverizing. The voice over work is well done and the sound is perfect from the Rok’s grunting to the bones being smashed, everything that you hear is superbly done.
iFanzine Verdict: ORC: Vengeance is a truly engrossing game that will easily sink its hooks into you and not let you go. You’ll be playing for hours and not even realize it until your device reminds you that you’re down to 20% battery. You’ll want to keep pushing on if not for the story, then for the exciting gameplay. You want Diablo on your iPhone? This is as close as we’ve got so far.