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For many, video games are an opportunity to live out a fantasy. And in the case of Bloodmasque, it's possible to actually watch yourself take on the role of a vampire hunter (via a photo-snapping feature), hacking and slashing your way through a macabre version of 19th-century Paris. But after the initial amusement of seeing your own head atop a game character wears off, Bloodmasque struggles to keep things interesting.
At first glance, Bloodmasque seems almost like a gimmicky iOS face-morphing entertainment app. The game asks you to snap a picture of your face with three different expressions – casual, pleased, and angry – which are then spread over the skull of a half-human, half-vampire protagonist. The results are immediately hilarious, and honestly, you could probably spend hours just uploading goofy faces into the character editor.
But once the game's campaign begins, things take a more somber tone. After running through the streets to locate a mission, you'll face off against a vampire enemy by tapping the screen to attack or swiping to dodge. The combat itself is actually quite solid in approach, but too often Bloodmasque fails to read a swipe, with your enemy hurting your HP bar unfairly. And even more regularly, a fillable "blood" meter – which unlocks a devastating special move – fails to recognize your taps, with your avatar just attacking instead. Misinterpreted controls are a huge deal, as you're consistently forced to replay the same battles over and over again to adequately level up your character. And frankly, despite the attractive visuals and a well-paced story to string together the battles, there's little to no variety in those fights, outside of unbalanced spikes in difficulty.
One interesting feature of Bloodmasque is the ability to select two companions created by other real-world players. When another player uses your character, a vault fills with vampire blood, which you can then transfer into experience points to level up your character. But as an unfortunate consequence, Bloodmasque requires an Internet connection at all times to play. That's a tough trade-off for players who simply want to go it solo and/or play without network access.
The bottom line. The novelty of uploading your face into Bloodmasque is a lot of fun, but the enjoyment wears thin due to unreliable controls and repetitive action.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Seeing your face in the game is amusing. Story is well paced. RPG elements keep you engaged.
Battles grow repetitive and boring. Requires constant Internet connection. Inputs are often missed or misinterpreted.