'Bloodstroke' - Bloodiest iOS Game of All Time


Half Dead & Dynamite

Released early in 2014, Bloodstroke marks Face/Off director John Woo’s first venture into the world of mobile gaming. A Flappy Bird clone ultraviolent actioner from developers Chillingo, Tiger Hill Entertainment, Moonshark, and Chimera Entertainment (enough names for you?), this has the potential to be the most stylishly bloody iOS game of the year.
Bloodstroke by Chillingo Ltd.

Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $2.99

So how does it measure up?

The first thing to say about Bloodstroke is that it looks beautiful. No matter what other criticism you can aim at John Woo movies, a lack of style isn’t one of them. Fortunately that translates to Woo’s foray into iOS games. Visually Bloodstroke is a graphic novel come to life — with inky black and white etchings, splashed with spurts of ridiculously red blood.
Think Sin City meets Kill Bill’s Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves — or the climax of Woo’s own A Better Tomorrow 2, where hundreds of black and white suits are irreversibly ruined by bloodsplatter. The animation looks fluid, and the comic panel cutscenes complete the look. (As a nice touch, users can fast-forward through cut-scenes by pressing the screen, which speeds up the rate at which dialogue boxes appear.)

While it may not feel like it, there is a method to the Bloodstroke madness. Or at least a strategy to the way the whole thing goes down. Your character can’t die, and so avoiding gunfire isn’t necessary. Since your mission is to protect your charge (who most definitely can die), it’s up to you to decide how best to deal with enemies in a way. Do you stay out ahead and dispatch your enemies with hand-to-hand melee attacks, or do you cling by the doctor’s side and dispose of would-be assailants with a mixture of gunfire and grenades? The choice is up to you.

If there’s a criticism I have of Bloodstroke, it’s that there’s a lack of depth. Missions are variations on each other, and very little changes between stages from either a mission or aesthetic perspective. It is, of course, possible to counter this criticism by saying that Bloodstroke isn’t intended to have depth — that it’s designed to be played in the short frantic bursts that mobile best lends itself true. There’s certainly something to be said for that argument, but it would still seem to be possible to retain Bloodstroke’s pick-up-and-play quality while also including a bit more variety.

Ultimately, Bloodstroke is every bit the John Woo creation: faultlessly stylish, ultra-violent, intriguingly plotted, but with actual content and depth sometimes lost beneath the flashy surface.

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