The Relic in Review – Not your model hack’n’slash…

It seems the Gauntlet fame just can’t let some developers sleep peacefully at night and occasionally we get a title that screams for attention. Sometimes, though, these screams are more like moans, depending on the time, effort and, most importantly, thought put into development process. The Relic, being one of the latest attempts, tries and succeeds to look good on the screenshots. But how does it feel hands-on?

The Relic is a very action oriented action/slasher with a slight tinge of RPG. The story is a bit on the vague side but you are returning from the dead in a deep dungeon and a spirit calls out to you. As you rise through the levels the occasional ghost drops pieces of information, highlighting the predicament you’re in and finally sending on a quest to retrieve the long lost Relic.

The gameplay mechanic makes an effort to suck you in… by offering small levels with blocky room and lots of monsters to plow through on your way to the exit. The baddies drop out of thin air, randomly re-spawning even in areas already cleared out, which can be quite frustrating. And the developers even try to further peak your interest by adding levels with the goal other than mindless extermination of everything in sight — levels where you have to instead destroy an enemy spawning device and THEN exterminate everything moving while on your way out to the nearest exit.

To help you in your emmm… “epic” struggle you’ll have a battleaxe to decimate the enemies. But wait, there’s more! For killing enemies you’ll get… kills… which you can then spend on upgrading some stats (very limited) or unlocking some skills (also a very limited selection). The skills involve offering various kinds of ranged attacks and try to add some variety to the gameplay. But the speed and feel of the game doesn’t actually allow for it and in most cases you’ll just run around like a neutered bull, hacking at foes.

The graphics, though appearing to have potential on the screenshots, look bleak, blocky and outdated in real life. So while the game boasts support for the Retina display and the iPad as well, the poor design of the game does not allow that to make a difference. The interface offers a virtual joystick for movement control, a melee attack button, a magic trigger and a potion release. Sadly, they’re nowhere near as responsive as they should be for a hack ‘n slash and it’s often quite difficult to make your protagonist do what you want him to even in terms of simple movement. As such, you’re bound to run into things inadvertently and possibly even get stuck in the scenery.

The Relic is a bold attempt at the glory of Gauntlet, giving an excellent impression from the screenshots and the description. However, it fails miserably once you get some hands-on time with it. Even without the mucked up controls and outdated graphics, the horrible game design is as far from the balance and polish of the legendary arcade classic as we are from Alpha Centauri.

With this I declare The Relic officially touched!

Slap It Rating - 2/5

App Summary
Title: The Relic Developer:
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 76.02MB
  • Universal application
  • Tedious and boring
  • Bleak graphics
  • Poor controls


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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