This might be a contentious opinion, but I sometimes kind of feel like iOS gaming as a whole has gotten less ambitious, or maybe even devolved, as the years have gone on. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still some truly impressive games hitting the App Store on a regular basis. However, they are often increasingly hard to find amongst the sea of safe and samey free-to-play endless runners and puzzlers that we seem to be drowning in these days. ACY Entertainment’s Legend of AbhiManYu (out now, $4.99) feels like a throwback to that more experimental era, when studios and developers would frequently throw caution to the wind and take risks by releasing big, crazily ambitious, console-style titles on mobile.

Legend of AbhiManYu is an action adventure game that’s based on the Sanskrit epic ‘Mahabharata,’ something I hadn’t read or heard much about before playing it. In case you’re as ill-versed in Hindu history and mythology as I am, the very basic gist of the story is this: A great war is tearing humanity apart, so the gods decide to intervene by incarnating one of their own, AbhiManYu, on Earth as a mighty warrior prince tasked with bringing down the Kauravas army and putting an end to the conflict and violence. As far as premises go it’s an exciting one, and being set right in the midst of a giant battle involving thousands upon thousands of combatants gives Legend of AbhiManYu a sweepingly grand scale and feel.

The game begins with a lengthy tutorial in which you learn the controls and the basics of archery, blade combat and puzzle solving. The action picks up on the 13th day of the Mahabharata War, with AbhiManYu riding into battle atop a chariot and sniping down enemies with a bow. Once you reach the center of the ‘Chakravyuha’ (the Kauravas’ famed circular military formation), you dismount to engage in a series of intense arena-based fights against squads of enemy soldiers.

Legend of AbhiManYu‘s God of War-esque melee combat is fast-paced, brutal and very fun, and the frequent boss battles that see you going toe-to-toe with towering demigods and ferocious monsters are next-level exciting. The game’s onscreen controls work admirably well, except for the fact that they can feel a bit fiddly and cumbersome when you’re in the heat of battle and have to rapidly switch between using your bow and bladed weapons. Also, the game could do with more save points, as being forced to replay large chunks of it whenever you die (and trust me, you WILL die a lot) can sometimes be frustrating, and means Legend of AbhiManYu isn’t all that well-suited to shorter, on-the-go gaming sessions.

So yeah, it’s got a few flaws, but it’s hard not to be swept up and drawn in by Legend of AbhiManYu regardless. Everything else about the game is just so epic and well-realized, from the impressive scope of the story, to the rousing musical score, to the stunning art style and 3D graphics. Speaking of visuals, it’s probably worth mentioning that I played through Legend of AbhiManYu on a pair of iDevices (an iPad mini 2 and an iPhone 5s) that are right at the bottom of the game’s list of supported hardware. But even so, the game ran and looked great, and I imagine it performs even better on more powerful models of iPhone and iPad.

To sum up, if you’re bored of how overly safe and simplistic the vast majority of mobile games have become as of late, you owe it to yourself to give Legend of AbhiManYu a try. This refreshingly ambitious console-style title doesn’t disappoint.

Verdict

Exciting gameplay, stunning visuals, and a breathtaking sense of scope and scale combine to make Legend of AbhiManYu an epic blockbuster-type experience the likes of which we don’t see nearly enough of on the iOS platform these days. Highly recommended.

Positives
Unique and very interesting story
Intense, action-packed gameplay
Hugely impressive production values and visuals
Nails the scope, scale and feel of a big-budget console game
Negatives
Combat can be a tad fiddly
Could do with more save points, as being forced to replay large chunks of the game whenever you die can sometimes be frustrating
4.5
Excellent
Download on the App Store