Zynga? Yeah, Zynga. Who would’ve expected an Unreal-powered game like this from the master-developers of much simpler time-wasters, Zynga? But don’t forget co-developer and main-brain behind the project that would become Horn, Phosphor Games Studio, who were innovative enough to shell out this tremendous game.
WARNING! before this adventure catches your interest Even Zynga admits this on their download page in the AppStore: “iPad (first generation), iPhone 3GS, iPod touch devices NOT SUPPORTED.” This, of course, is due to the high level of graphical content, which can only be processed by Apple’s more advanced hardware and displayed on some form of Retina technology. And even though only iPhone 4+ and iPad2+ are supported, I did find an extremely small bit of lag on certain frames while playing on my 4S.
You play as Horn, a boy who discovers he was recently freed from a curse that has turned all of society into tainted creatures. From there, the adventure spirals quickly, setting up in the classic hero scenario that pits Horn to be the only person capable of saving the world from itself.
Cutting Straight to the Criticisms: The plotline, although told with a very precise and storybook design, isn’t really anything too far from anything we’ve seen in similar tales involving a doomed mankind and the sole hero who can bring all dystopia to an end. Second, with a game of this magnitude, from the heavy graphics and time involved in tedious tasks such as voice castings and realm designing, Zynga still decides to throw their dog logo into the app icon! WHY!? Finally, the mini movie that plays at the beginning of each start-up cannot be skipped, no matter what you do or how many times you play. Now, the movie isn’t long, so it’s not that big of a deal, but it is still a bit annoying when you’ve seen it over fifty times and you’re ready to just start playing!
Now Some Criticism of the Constructive Sort: Horn is filled with so many graphics, details, and landscapes, it would be more than beneficial to either increase the amount of checkpoints during missions or to simply add a save feature accessible via the pause menu. It would also be nice to have a virtual-joystick-controlled system instead of the one that was chosen, but more on that in the segment below.
Touch-Intuitive Controls: I prefer virtual joysticks over any other type of touchscreen controls; I feel that it gives me better control of the actual game itself. I also don’t particularly enjoy finger-shanking my Retina display. The route Phosphor Games chose to guide the character, Horn, along the beautiful Unreal landscape still deserves some major props, as any gamer may be able to tell that they really thought this through.
From movements, to battle zones, Phosphor elected to immerse the player directly into their game by offering an entire system based on gestures: swipe to look, point to move, and a different array of swipes to maintain balance on cliffsides, climb up ledges, and slay your enemies. These, of course, are gaming innovations that have only been made possible in recent times (last 5-7 years) by the emergence of sensitive touch-screens like the ones we’ve grown accustomed to on our smartphones.
App-Aholic Rating: 5.0; yes, it has its flaws, the lack of iDevices Horn will run on being the major one that irks me. That, however, is not a drawback large enough to permit the decrease of points, as many loyal Apple lovers tend to upgrade their iDevices accordingly; the 3GS users who missed the 4/4S train because of contract agreements and such will soon have the opportunity to upgrade to the iPhone5 starting this September, making said device the latest most worthy candidate to power Horn. This rpg is a winner!
Bottom Line: Did I mention this rpg is a winner? As is, the game is definitely worth it’s pricetag, and with future updates, it can only get better from here. This is truly a masterpiece worthy of console status.
Sound Off: Now, folks, it’s your turn! Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or general comments about Horn and/or its developers, Phosphor Games Studio or Zynga? I personally reply to every comment, and I’d love to hear what you have to say! Just take your cranial debris and throw it down in the box below!