Third Blade is the latest release from Com2us, the Korean publisher known for making a killing in their home country on cell phone games. In the states, the developer has made a name for themselves with iPhone releases like Caligo Chaser and the Inotia series. As it turns out, if you’ve played Caligo Chaser, you’ve basically played Third Blade.
This is a side-scrolling hack-‘n-slasher in the classic 16-bit era mold. You take the role of a young warrior whose female companion has been kidnapped (by toothy worms, no less), thus causing him to engage in an impromptu rescue mission. This, of course, means running back and forth on tiny levels hacking up every monster in sight. Once all the monsters are done away with, he slips through a portal to the next level and does it all again.
A few things give Third Blade some distinction. The first is that you can switch between three weapon types on the fly. Dual knives are quick but weak; a medium-sized sword hits the middle ground; and the giant sword is slow, but doles out the best damage. You’ll likely use the giant sword (and later, other giant weapons) the most though.
It’s gonna be fine dining tonight.
Another nice feature is the use of RPG-style elements to level up your abilities. Killing monsters earns both experience and money, both of which are used to increase your personal stats (such as hit points) and attack potential. As you progress, you’ll earn special attacks, which can be mapped to specific buttons.
Finally, despite the use of special attack hot buttons, Third Blade is essentially a one-button game. All you really do here is attack. There’s no light/medium/strong attack buttons, no other variation beyond mindlessly hacking monsters. The weapon switching button is stuck in the upper left corner, so you can’t even use it to switch weapons mid-attack for interesting multi-weapon combos.
To add to the monotony, the game so overuses its limited variety of monsters that it feels like you’re simply fighting the same monsters endlessly. The monsters do look gorgeous though. The 2D graphics are sharp, detailed, and colorful, with smooth animation. The landscapes look great as well, though are more sparsely detailed. There are also a lot of levels here, and the option to replay previously beaten levels for more XP and gold.
Third Blade isn’t particularly terrible, but it’s also incredibly by-the-numbers. The game offers little to distinguish itself from Com2us’ Caligo Chaser, and the gameplay quickly boils down to mindless repetition. The mix of action and RPG elements is intriguing, but the landscape these game styles are thrown into is ultimately lackluster.