If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck
and it quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is exactly
what it sets out to be, a Zelda-like; and to perfectly frank, it doesn’t do a bad job
of it either. Despite walking a line that straddles originality and shameless parody,
Gameloft’s latest title remains engaging despite some questionable flaws. Jumping in to the game is relatively simple,
especially for those familiar with similar 3rd person action titles on the App Store.
A camera lazily chases behind your character while you control the movement with a virtual
stick and switch between weapons, block and attack with buttons and touch menus. Much
like any Zelda-like you’ll collect new items in each major dungeon, granting you access
to new skills that unlock additional areas. You’ll get plenty of practice with your new
item thanks to boss fights based around its specific mechanic, though this often involves
selecting the weapon, tapping targets on screen and activating it for an effect. The game’s simple visuals are tempered by
flashy special effects that don’t go so far as to cover the limited animations in the
game. This kills a lot of the fun of fighting enemies as you slide around the screen and
perform strikes that lack any weight. Furthermore, without the ability to lock on or effectively
block/dodge after performing a combination attack, battles turn in to repetitive brawls
that test your ability to spam the attack button instead of your tactical skill or reactions.
Combat aside, the dungeons do a great job of tying the game together, with multiple
puzzles to solve in each one and incentives to explore side-paths for bonus collectable
items. Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is far from
a masterpiece, but it’s still a hard game to put down once you’ve started on the quest.
If you don’t mind a bumpy ride and you’re after a solid action adventure title, this
is for you.