Combo Slash is an interesting game for iPhone, one that attempts to combine two distinct genres into one. Both a side scrolling combo based beat ’em up and an RPG with random dungeons, Combo Slash does a fair job of melding the two together.
The game puts you in the role of a protector of sorts. You must protect the princess character as you both make your way through the random levels, hunting the boss of each stage. The princess is also a support character, and you can choose whether you want her to be a cleric, with spells to heal your, or a mage, where she has more offensive magic to help you in battle.
She cannot be controlled directly, but you can tap her to get her to perform magic to help you out, and she will of course attempt to either avoid or fight enemies back where she can. Helping her out may be the least of your problems because, as an out and out warrior, you must take on dozens and dozens of enemies at once, using combos and items to hold the waves back. These items range from knives and simple attacks, to other, more wide ranging spells and kit. You can also attempt to evade an attack and use a special move.
It has many RPG elements, so both characters can be levelled up in different ways, and you can also visit a shop to buy more items in between levels. After you have cleared a stage, it is important to select ‘exit’ or you will have to do the stage over again, which should be made far clearer.
The action is fast and frenetic, and when it all works it is good fun, although there is one major issue that I have with this game.
There is no real punishment for dying. You can just continue where you left off instantly, with no reduction in EXP or any other punishment I can find, and there seems to be no downside to letting the princess just die.
On many stages, I just let her die and plugged away at the enemy hordes, pressing ‘continue’ when I died, even on bosses. You can spam your way through most of the game like this, aside from a few survival levels and others. I think that the developers knew that they had made the game way too frantic, as there is just so much going on on-screen that it is impossible to defend or even know where you are, so they made little adverse effects from dying.
That isn’t to say that this is a bad game. If you play in the right spirit of things, protecting the princess and using the items correctly and using her as a proper support character, then there is a lot to like here. The RPG elements are welcome, and the random stage layouts are a nice feature. there are many levels, with a main map screen that even lets you play special modes after you have beaten a few stages. The graphics are nice, with little to no slowdown, even with screens full of enemies. The temptation to spam may just be too much for many players.
Overall, this is a nice, quirky game. A simple beat ’em up with light RPG overtones that is maybe a little too repetitive and unfocused, it is still a fairly enjoyable romp.