Run, jump, climb, shoot, and duck for cover. With Shadow Guardian by Gameloft, the iOS finally gets a vibrant, full, swashbuckling-fun action-adventure game. You play as Jason Call, and the fate of the world rests upon your shoulders. Mercenaries battle you for control of an ancient relic, the Prima Materia in this third person action title. Drawing inspiration from the Uncharted and Tomb Raider series, Shadow Guardian is a moderately successful attempt to bring treasure hunting action to the iOS platform.
The story opens with you held captive as your captor explores your memories via a mind-reading device. The game then shifts back in time as you play out your memories solving puzzles and combating enemies using an assortment of weaponry. On screen controls provide move, look, aim, shoot, and jump commands. A cover button appears as you approach items like barriers — useful in a firefight. Progress is automatically saved via checkpoints as you travel around the world in search of the relic.
The graphical detail of the various settings is impressive. Realistic lighting and shadows help create immersive environments with amazing detail. There is plenty of variety in the locations you’ll explore from underground caverns to city streets. Moving through these settings is a breeze with the well thought out controls and smooth animations.
Don’t expect too much challenge requiring you to replay a level over and over. Puzzles are relatively simple— often requiring only little trial and error to accomplish, and the enemies aren’t too difficult even while playing the tougher of the two difficulty levels. With frequent use of cover and the lock-on auto aiming system, even large numbers of enemies may be dispatched quickly. While you’ll be doing lots of climbing, the directional hints are obvious, and you can never fall.
Shadow Guardian delivers on plenty of eye candy and interesting locations to explore, but the ease at which you roll through the levels makes the journey less rewarding. If you’re a fan of games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but with a lot less challenge, give Shadow Guardian a shot.
Shadow Guardian is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad running iOS 3.1.3 or later.
[James Savage is the host of the RetroMacCast a weekly podcast devoted to older Macintosh computers.]