Playing the ever so demanding role of If-No-One-Else-Will-Do-It, We-Will-Copy-It character, Gameloft has formulated yet another iDevice title that looks and plays like a familiar face. And like all good copycats, it does it without an ounce of shame. Blades of Fury, or Soulcalibur on the iPhone, is the latest Triple-A title churned out by the mobile giants. If you're part of that crowd who's only getting your gaming feet wet due to an iPhone, you may never have played Soulcalibur – good for you. For the rest of us, Blades of Fury is almost a play-by-play mimic of Namco's fighter. While not the most creative of cookies, there's no denying the technical brilliance Gameloft has ushered to the App Store.
The visuals in Blades are standard for a title developed by these boys, but outstanding relative to the indie onlookers hoping to make a quick buck with iFart 9000. It looks and plays like Soulcalibur on the original PlayStation, as fluid character animations become evident when the wacky warriors start doing their dances of death. Trails of fire, bright purple explosions and other crazy shenanigans look incredible, especially as you unleash (shallow) combos on your opponent. Characters such as Danling (obviously Kilik from Soulcalibur) and Elwyn (again, Ivy) have a stackload of easy-to-pull-off moves, again raising the bar in the App Store of a genre that was limited to dumb 2D button-tapping affairs only months ago. It's this impressive leap in technology that has carried Blades of Fury from a plain console fighter copy to a must-have iPhone title.
Despite a host of awesomeness, it does feel like a burger spoiled by an excessive amount of cheese. First of all, Gameloft games have a tendency to be rather B-grade. From Real Tennis 09, which could've been Virtua Tennis, to their rendition of God of War in Hero of Sparta, the games generally play like what they are: a rip off. The “attack list” that shoots up from the pause menu possesses moves that are almost identical to Soulcalibur's. The background music? Soulcalibur-like. The story mode? Soulcalibur-like. You get the blueprint-framed picture. Character designs are bland and uninspired, while everything else is basically taken from Namco's side of the fence. The problem is not so much this mimicry, but the religious attempt to make it look like the aforementioned game.
An analogous situation may help to wrap up the whole shebang with a little more clarity. As typical run of the mill gamers, we may never date a Megan Fox. But, given the circumstances, we would gladly take a friend of ours who dressed and acted like her. It's not our fault Megan Fox will never show up in our lives, but hey, at least we're going out with that look-a-like, right? Applying the same logic, Soulcalibur may never see the light of day for the iPhone, but a strangely familiar figure is indeed alive and kicking in the App Store. While Blades of Fury is not the real deal, it's as close as we can get to at the moment, and that is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all. Now, when's a Megan Fox going to show up in my App Store?