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The iOS games market generally isn’t defined by the kinds of action titles with pinpoint-precise controls that dominate consoles. That makes it all the more daring when a game on iPhone and iPad attempts to go in such a direction, and even more impressive when one does it well. Quadropus Rampage manages to leap that particular hurdle with relative ease, though the touch screen interface does keep the controls from feeling particularly on point.
Butterscotch Shenanigans' latest game models itself after similar action-RPGs, complete with an isometric view and random weapon drops. Our hero, the cartoonish Quadropus, begins each game anew, and travels into the watery fathoms by defeating all the enemies and then dropping through a doorway to the next depth. The levels are randomly generated, with pitfalls scattered throughout that can drop you to a lower depth at the cost of some health.
The controls aren’t quite as exact as the game requires, sadly, because the virtual stick behaves more like a directional pad than an analog control. Even with the increased screen real estate of the iPad, it seems to go from a dead stop to full speed with no middle ground. Since the combat requires navigating around the various pitfalls, it's often difficult to finesse the right amount of movement to avoid them.
The penalty for falling through a gap is small enough to avoid feeling too punishing, though, and the action mechanics are complemented by often-humorous weapon descriptions and dialogue. Weirdly, though, the button to advance dialogue overlaps with an attack, so pressing it sometimes performs both functions at once – an odd oversight. But while each new session starts you back at the beginning, you’re constantly gathering currency to develop your Quadropus, and earning “Masteries” that let you choose passive bonuses. Those small additions give it plenty of depth, adding up to a more serious action experience to back up its vibrant aesthetic.
The bottom line. Quadropus Rampage would benefit from more exact directional controls, but the action pacing and amusing tone carry themselves well on iOS devices.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 4.3 or later
Action mechanics work well. Humorous dialogue. Plenty of combat depth.
Virtual stick makes avoiding pitfalls difficult.