Category: Action RPG
Developer: Mail.ru Games
System Requirements: OS X v10.6.6
Review Computer: 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo iMac
Network Feature: No
Processor Compatibility: Intel
Availability: Out now
Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering, apart from having a nonsensical title, is an entirely addictive fighting game that uses a simple interface (adapted from an iOS game) in place of complex “twitch” combos like you’d see in Mortal Kombat or other, more elaborate console games. It looks great, has surprisingly complex play, and is easy to pick up but hard to put down.
The plot, such as it is, will be familiar as a comfortable shoe: demons have overrun the kingdom and it’s your job (as one of five heroes) to battle your way through the demonic hordes, one at a time, collecting treasure to improve your skills, weapons, armor, and magic to fight stronger and stronger foes.
Combat, which is 95% of the game, works like this. Your hero faces a monster, who has three attack zones (right, middle left). A rotating cone shows you where the monster’s defense is strongest: choose that attack zone and you’ll do little to no damage. After you attack, the monster gets his chance to strike, or do a magic attack. You can counter a magic attack one of two ways: match the “steps” (which are presented in a circle as a simple memory game) or quickly click on a cloud of dark mana. Do that, and the magic attack does no damage.
Combat gets spiced up on your end with Rage and Magic. If your character gets hit with a critical attack, a little red spark will fly out of his body and float on the screen for a few seconds. Click on it and you’ll start to build your Rage score, which can be accumulated to buy one-shot special abilities such as making your next hit critical, blocking an attack, or, if you store it until your Rage bar is full, doubling your health.
Magic works somewhat the same; if you perform a critical hit on a monster, it will generate little blue sparks which build up your magic bar. When it’s full, you can cast a spell. Spells are based on different types of energies: lightning, ice, fire, darkness, etc. You start with one type of magic but can learn others, and you’d better because some monsters are immune to one type of magic, and more powerful ones are immune to several. After you defeat a monster you get to open one of five chests to find out what your prize is: gold or equipment.
In each zone you’ll fight several monsters, one at a time, until you kill off the boss and clear the area. Once the area is clear you can search for buried treasure (using Scarabs that you find or buy…yes, everything you can use in the game is also available for in-app purchase). Once you dig up a treasure chest, you have to solve a matching game to unlock it. Get the pair wrong and you use up a “lockpick,” which, as you might imagine, are for sale for real money in the gift shop. In addition, the local population will offer you a tribute as thanks for saving them. However, you have to keep an eye on the map: monsters will reappear in areas you’ve already visited, attacking the inhabitants and (more importantly) harming your cash flow.
Your goal is to clear the area, which will unlock the next area. Performing certain feats will unlock other areas with miniquests like mining for treasure (a connect-the-blocks game) or super-powerful monsters that offer special treasure as incentive.
Juggernaut is a simple but addictive game. The problem comes about halfway through where the villains become tough enough that your skills aren’t going to be enough to defeat them: you’ll need health potions, poisons, better armor, and other equipment to fight your way to the end. And while you can buy all of this using the gold you’ll find in-game, at a certain point the amount you’re earning as a character won’t meet what you need for a boss battle. And this, of course, is where the in-game purchases come in, giving you access to all the fake gold you need for real money.
I enjoyed Juggernaut right up until the point when it stopped becoming a mindless hack ‘n’ slash game and suddenly became a test of my patience. Did I want to wait and harvest gold from the villagers, going back to fight weak monsters I’d already defeated, or did I want to fight the same boss over and over, hoping for a lucky break that would push me to an even harder area that I wasn’t equipped for. I suppose I could have spent a few bucks for better equipment, but I’m of the opinion that DLC should enhance a game, not make it playable.
Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovening is a well-executed port of a touch game with simple, repetitious play. However the fun part stops the minute that the “pay to play” mentality which is becoming increasingly prevalent in games comes to the foreground.