Gore Ball begins with a mock-epic introduction, complete with booming voiceover man, that sets the tone perfectly for one of the most bizarre games I’ve ever played on iPhone/Touch. Here’s the deal: Hale Galeric, on returning from the holy crusudes, finds all hell has broken loose in his homeland, his wife and daughter dead and a village crawling with zombies.
Thus it’s up to you, as him, to avenge your murdered family, vanquish evil and return peace to the land. But anyone expecting a gory hack ‘n’ slashathon or sprawling RPG are in for a surprise, because, despite looking the part and being armed with a massive sword, Hale opts for a rather more unconventional approach to zombie slaughtering. Goreballing.
And what the hell is Goreballing when it’s at home? Good question…
Gear Worx smoosh a great many gaming styles together meaning the end result is all but genre defying. Gore Ball does contain elements of survival horror, sword-play and spell casting; but also throws some fast-paced, Arkanoid-esque action your way. Admittedly it’s a strange brew, but it works, and is also a lot of fun to play.
Essentially a 3d “brick-breaker” at heart, albeit with added zombie attacks, the aim of the game is to smash gravestones by hurling balls of energy at them, while at the same time contending with the undead monstrosities lurching toward you.
Tilt controls move Hale from right to left, tapping launches a ball and touching either side of the screen swings your trusty sword. This a pretty straightforward set-up that allows you to get down to some fast-paced graveyard desecration with minimal fuss.
And once you’ve got to grips with the basics the game is a blast. When thrown, balls ricochet around the creepy environments at a dizzying speed, bouncing off the walls and gravestones and splattering zombies. Using your shield (or yourself) as a paddle/bat you must frantically attempt to keep the ball in play while aiming to destroy all the headstones using the least amount of projectiles possible.
Each gravestone takes a number of hits before it breaks open, usually revealing a crate containing one of the game’s selection of crazy power-ups, e.g. the ability to summon lightening bolts from the sky to fry the advancing undead, cause earthquakes or (my personal favourite) transform your ball into a deadly spinning saw.
Other neat additions include being able to switch the camera at any time from a traditional third-person perspective to an isometric view of the action – the former a superior showcase of Gore ball‘s suitably gory 3d graphics, but the latter actually a better fit for the gameplay – and some stylish effects such as the screen getting sprayed with blood as our hero takes damage.
Okay it’s not all good. Visuals are a bit murky and the game is slightly glitchy at times, but for the best part Gore Ball is great fun; combining pick-up-and-play accessibility with bloody hard to put down again addictiveness. OpenFeint integration with local and global leaderboards round off this highly original and fully featured title, while adding the potential for an eternity of replayability. Well worth a whirl.
iFanzine Verdict:A mental mash-up of gaming styles that somehow gel, Gore Ball shatters convention with its unique approach to battling the undead. An oddball adventure of truly epic proportions.