Application Review: Horn Zynga | 2.0 GB | $ 6.99 The Infinity Blade series has always been the epitome of fighting games on iOS. It has always lead with its foot first with the natural feeling controls and stunning graphics. Horn, published by Zynga, tries to take these features of a successful RPG game, add a true story, and include free roam. These are big steps they are taking to perfect what Infinity Blade was criticized for. Gameplay You begin the game in a state of confusion, not knowing what happened and where you are. You soon find out what happened, you were somehow freed of a curse that turned all people and animals into metallic, machined, monsters. You run in and attack another monster to find out its your aunt. You journey outward to free the rest of the population and free your town of this curse. You will fight many monsters in this game; some are human-like machines, while others look like dogs. Horn, the protagonist you play as in the game, can forge weapons using different forms of in-game currency called pyrite and pygite. Both of these can be obtained in game through various ways. Each weapon has it’s own special abilities and can be upgraded through the forging process. You can also forge cloths and items as well. While you know how to make a great deal of weapons at the beginning (you are a blacksmith afterall), there are others that are unknown to you. Collecting blueprints allows you to forge them. Weapons must be forged, built. Lucky for you, you’re an apprentice blacksmith. The gameplay as a whole is very deep and engaging. In and out of battle, there is just so much to do in Horn. Each level really acts more of a puzzle with battles in between each step. You must figure out how to open doors, access different places, and find the seed in each level. The seeds are then used to unlock a door into another part of the map. Seeds are the main goal of the game allowing you to access new maps. Navigating around each level is fairly simple. For the majority of your actions, you’ll simply tap where you want to go. This allows you to jump up to higher ledges as well as drop down. Short gaps can also be cleared with a single tap. Larger gaps require a secondary tap to grab on to the ledge. At times swipes are required to pull yourself up or walk across thin planks without falling. Then there is grappling done through your little trusty gun. Blowing your horn might also be helpful in blowing over obstacles. Grappling allows you to access higher places and zip across the map. The battle system is very close to the Infinity Blade system. Actually, if you remove the blocks and parry, you get the Horn battle system. Dodging left and right can be done by pressing the lower corners of the screen causing your character to roll left and right. The camera then rotates appropriately. Slashing the screen then initiates an attack on your enemy. Special attacks can be done when a red button appears in the center of the screen. Press it then swipe in the appropriate direction to stun your enemy. At times, I found that the dodge buttons weren’t as large as I’d like them. The battle system is very quick to pick up. Gameplay: ★★★★½ Graphics I have to say that the graphics are absolutely stunning in Horn. The details, the clarity, the lighting effects, everything comes together in true harmony to create truly jaw-dropping visuals that are sure to impress most players. Frame rates run high the majority of the time on my 5th generation Touch as well, so it’s smooth for the most part. Every little detail was really thought up, from the textures all the way down to the actual animated person who isn’t as rag-doll like. Horn immerses its players with beautiful visuals. Graphics: ★★★★★ Audio Like the graphics, the developers don’t skimp in the audio department. High quality audio recordings detail every single action that is taken. Swords slapping against the metal, the enemies pounding on the ground, the wind whistling through the leaves; it all can be heard. Voice overs are also very well done as they can really create a personality for each character in the game. Audio: ★★★★★ Replay One thing that I almost never see in RPGs is true replay after you’ve completed the game. In the most recent update, Horn included a new endless quest mode. In this mode, you keep fighting an endless set of monsters to become stronger and forge new weapons. You gain levels as you complete these little odd-jobs. Quests are a way to really expand the replay of the game. Additionally, the main game has some little quirks in it as well. For example, finding the blueprints for each weapon becomes a treasure hunt of its own. Additionally, little cute critters lie all around as well. They appear to be a new strain of “monster” that don’t attack you, rather they give you money. These little critters are scattered all around and can be found if you wish to find them. These critters are scattered all around. You get cash for finding them, and Horn seems to like them. Treasure can also be found in many places of the game. This is one of the few games where exploration seems to actually be fun. Things are hidden, worlds are vast, large, but not filled with white-space; dense would be the word to describe it. Cut through the weeds that block the path and explore. Who knows, you might find treasure (gold, maybe a potion ). Treasure really isn’t a reason to replay, but the exploration aspect of the game is fun. Replay: ★★★★★ Value This is a 7-dollar, densely packed game that has so much to offer. It doesn’t support the 4” screen of the newer generation iDevices yet though. As stated, the battle mechanics can also be spruced up a little (not sure if it's the lack of support for the 4" screen; we'll find out in a future update) The game offers excellent gameplay, graphics, and audio. There is just so much to do, so much to find. The developers of Horn really tried to pack as much stuff into this game as possible to keep their players busy. It seems to have worked. Value: ★★★★½ Final Thoughts Horn is probably the first true game that I feel breaks the realm of a portable game, and walks into something closer to a full-sized game we’ve all been waiting for. The gameplay is fantastic and feels extremely natural to the iOS device. It is definitely a must-have for any Infinity Blade fan who seeks for free-roam, and any RPG fanatic in general. Overall ScoreHorn† All prices are in US currency.This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.