At first glance, Slashy Hero's dash-and-slash gameplay seems simple to the point of monotony. But after spending hours running my finger across my phone screen frantically, it turns out that behind the minimalist combat is an engaging, well-designed caper that can keep me entertained for hours.
Developers The Gentlebros have created an isometric dungeon crawler for iOS, Android and Steam. In it, you control a brown, paperbag-headed hero to recapture all the stolen candy from a haunted mansion commanded by Halloween ghouls.
While the game is playable on the computer, using a touchscreen will provide a much more fulfilling experience. This is because the main mode of attacking enemies is to run through them, by drawing a path on the map.
Once you let go, your hero will follow the path, attacking everything in his way. You suffer damage if you encounter an enemy while not moving, or if you run into environmental obstacles.
Dispatching an enemy makes it drop candy, which is used as currency to purchase speed, health and attack upgrades. Players can also search for treasure chests in the game, as they drop items that give a stat boost.
While this sounds easy enough, getting through a level takes more than just a few swipes. Draw a path too short, and you may end up in the middle of an angry mob. Stand in the wrong place, and you may get hit by a cruising projectile. In the heat of battle, I even found myself panicking and running over spiked tiles on the floor, suffering unnecessary damage.
PLATFORM: iOS (free), Android (free; version tested) and PC ($7.50)
GENRE: Isometric dungeon crawler
The levels are designed not just for quick reflexes, but also for strategic thinking.
One of my favourite maps is filled with a chequerboard of ghosts firing projectiles, and I had to devise a safe route through the minefield while taking the enemies out from behind.
If you do not pay $4.18 for ad removal on the mobile version, be prepared to sit through a bucketload of videos. The incentives to do so are too good to miss - for example, earning twice the amount of candy on each run - and the advantages will definitely speed up progress.