Prince of Persia: Warrior Within in Review – Time is of the essence!

iPhone Screenshot 3

Prince of Persia is arguably one of the most renowned games ever. Even more importantly – it’s one of the more successful remakes of any franchises on the PC. And a few months ago the famous franchise started it’s triumphant stroll across the iOS platform with the release of both the classic Prince of Persia® Retro and a full-featured port of the PS2 version of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. So how do the adventures of the Prince translate to the touchscreen?

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is an Action/Platform game done in full 3D and is the re-imagining of the PS2 version on the iDevice. The story follows the adventures of the Prince of (you guessed it) Persia and his quest to save himself from the horrible beast Dahaka. A wise man told him to seek the Island of Time where he will be able to travel to the past and stop the Sands of Time from being created, thus appeasing the beast. After a battle on the sea with forces led by a mysterious woman clad in black, he is washed ashore the Island of Time and is left with no other choice but to enter the Fortress of time and seek his fate.

Warrior Within is probably the first true 3D Action/Platform game on the AppStore. The are two main aspects to the game – the climbing/jumping/running to proceed across the level and  the dispatching of any enemies you encounter along the way. Let’s start with the latter since it is probably more straightforward for most. The combat system in Warrior Within is likely the most full-featured I’ve seen in any iDevice Action title so far. The Prince may wield one or 2 weapons, throw his secondary weapon at foes and can literally do a dance of death, with seemingly simple combination resulting in spectacular combos and fatalities. Timely use is made of any nearby objects as well, be it walls, columns or even other enemies.

The parkour aspect is also more than enough to appease even the most die-hard gamer. To get to you goal you’ll have to climb ledges, jump across chasms, swing on ropes and much much more. In fact, Warrior Within felt a bit too overloaded on this side, especially since a mistake usually results in swift and painful death. Also it’s often not clear what the correct path is to take to proceed further, though the devs helped in some places providing arrows highlighting the way onward. Additionally you can use the Prince’s special skills and rewind time on an unsuccessful leap to try again, though only up to three times. Of course you’ll be able to replenish the Sand points used for that, since they are also used for other skills, such as Slowing down time, speeding up your character or even releasing a sand storm to knock over your opponents.

On the technical side I couldn’t help but marvel at the superb graphics quality, taking full advantage of the iPhone 4’s Retina display and providing sharp and detailed visuals. The audio is up to the challenge as well, though some background music in-game would be nice.

The most controversial point for me are the controls. The developers tried their best to allow for the multitude of combos/moves and fitting them in the least amount of buttons required. They succeeded but to an extent. For one thing trying to remember the combinations and what button should I use both in combat and in parkouring is often a challenge. And the free floating camera may offer some unwelcome surprises as well, shifting view unexpectedly and making the imprecise virtual joystick even more wonky.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is definitely one of the titles that truly shows the power of the iPhone. Wrapping full-scale console Action/Platformer in gorgeous Retina-ready graphics, it’s certainly an ambitious App Store title that requires a significant amount of patience and dedication  to master the dance of death that is the Prince. But if you manage to fully embrace the somewhat clumsy controls and do not object to playing through the same area multiple times in an effort to find the correct path, you’ll get hours upon hours of enjoyment out of this console-quality release.

With this I declare Prince of Persia: Warrior Within officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Prince of Persia: Warrior WithinDeveloper: Gameloft
Reviewed Ver:1.0.8Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$4.99App Size:554.29MB
  • Superb Retina-ready graphics
  • Full-featured console-quality gameplay
  • Spectacular combos and fatalitites
  • Difficult to ascertain the correct path to follow
  • A bit too unforgiving with fixed checkpoints
  • Somewhat awkward controls
  • A bit too focused on the platform component

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