Aurora Feint: The Beginning

Written iPhone Game App Review

Price: $1.99    Score: 8/10    By Shaun Campbell Aurora Feint II: The Beginning

Aurora Feint: The Beginning was released to the App Store back in July and has proven to be so successful that there are now three follow-up titles: Aurora Feint II: Tower Puzzles & The Arena. Developed by Danielle Cassley & Jason Citron, the first Aurora Feint in the series; The Beginning, remains one of the most popular downloads for the iPhone and iPod Touch. With compelling game-play and unusually high production values for a free title, Aurora Feint is a must-have game.

The Beginning takes Bejeweled swap-and-pop puzzle play and combines it with the character-building elements of a role playing game. It’s a unique mix, but it works. In true RPG fashion, The Beginning is all about leveling up your character, completing challenges and unlocking rewards. You mine “essences” (earth, wind, fire, water & shadow blocks) in classic puzzle play by arranging them into rows & columns, and then use those accumulated resources to purchase special abilities and tools.

Your abilities or “skills” are split into two categories, and there are different requirements for upgrading each. You can choose to specialize in Tool Mastery or Essence Mastery, or dabble in both. Tool Mastery includes skills like “Time Stopper” or “The Strategist” (a wild-card block) – while Essence Mastery is focused mainly on resource multipliers. In order to level up either skill-tree you have to pass additional challenges and puzzles. Tool Mastery challenges require you to “build” the tool by collecting a certain amount of a particular resource in a race against the clock, while Essence Mastery challenges are unlimited-time puzzles that must be solved in a limited amount of moves. Although there isn’t a whole lot of documentation that comes with The Beginning, it’s not hard to pick it up as you go.

Graphically speaking, Aurora Feint is very slick. The Beginning is played exclusively in 2D, but the visuals are crisp and detailed. The Aurora Feint world draws obvious inspiration from Lord of the Rings, but it’s a fitting mold for a game of this type. The audio is just as polished, with appropriate sound effects and stirring mood music. The control system is intuitive and makes full use of both multi-touch and the tilt functions of the accelerometer.

In short, Aurora Feint is what iPhone gaming should be.


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