APP OF THE DAY: Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD review (iPad)

We love a bit of role playing at Pocket-lint Towers. Mrs Pocket-lint particularly likes the fireman's uniform, although we got mistaken for the real deal the other day and we had to rescue a family of four stuck in a lift.

Of course, there's another form of role playing game, and we're partial to a spot of that too. It's often you'll see us waving our weapons around, shouting "have at you".

Actually, hang on, they're quite similar after all...

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD

Format
iPad (also available on iPhone, iPod touch)
Price
free (for the first 15 minutes or so of gameplay, £3.99 to unlock complete game)
Where
iTunes

Gameloft has not only welcomed comparisons between its mobile titles and the great and good in the history of videogaming, its revelled in them. The developer/publisher has a mighty array of games available on iOS devices (and other formats) and plenty of them have been inspired by classic titles. And why not?

It's rare that you'll see a version of Halo or Uncharted appear on iPad, so check out N.O.V.A. or Shadow Guardian. Certainly, both titles are superb for the format. As is Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD - the company's homage to the Zelda franchise (after it went 3D on the N64).

There are many similarities - smash pots to collect health or experience, puzzles to solve, and a basic but effective combat system - but it should be remembered that this is being played out on a portable tablet device, not a console, and that it's only £3.99.

In fact, the download is initially free.

Gameloft is trialling a new system. Rather than offer a SO:RoA Lite version, which, like all the others, would clog up the company's corner of the App Store, everybody downloads the same version of the game. Then, after about 15 minutes of gameplay, the full version can be bought in-app. For the one-off payment, players can continue with the game beyond the point that it asked for readies.

It's an ingenious idea that will stop multiple copies of, essentially, the same game also lying dormant on your PC or Mac, and in iTunes. It will also, Gameloft hopes, encourage players to buy the extension, as there's no quitting the game and having to re-enter the App Store to contend with.

Time will tell as to whether it works and will be universally adopted in future, but we can't see why not.

Back to the game.

There's no doubt that Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is a massive adventure, iPad or no. It plays out similarly to many examples from the genre, although we've not seen many on iOS devices before, and is easy to pick up and play from the off.

While you start in the open, with a slightly cheesy story (but aren't they all), most of the time you'll be dungeon trawling - fighting monsters, figuring out level-wide puzzles, collecting more powerful weaponry and armour, and taking on bosses (think Zelda, remember) - but that's no bad thing.

The graphics are suitably colourful, but not as cartoony as, perhaps, its biggest inspiration, and there's plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. And its simplicity in control is a blessing for a touchscreen device.

Pocket-lint certainly recommends a download. It may suddenly pause at the in-app payment screen, but we doubt you will.

Played Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden yet and bought the full version? Or what do you think of try-before-you-buy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...



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