hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Preview: Horn could be an admirable game

2:00 PM on 06.30.2012 // Steven Hansen

So, there certainly was a reaction to the newly announced Horn when Jim posted a little clip a few days ago in which the game was shown off and Phosphor Games’ Chip Sineni made some innocent claims about the mobile and tablet spheres becoming the main way people play games.

And he isn’t necessarily wrong. Obviously a lot of gaming enthusiasts would not deign to merely play games on these growing platforms, let alone replace consoles with them, but these sectors are huge. I mean, Infinity Blade is Epic’s most profitable game.

All that silliness and scoffing aside, I was able to play Horn at Zynga Unleashed, as well as talk to the aforementioned Chip Sineni of Phosphor Games, and it’s a pretty neat thing.

Horn (iPad [previewed], iPhone)
Developer: Phosphor Games Studio
Publisher: Zynga
Release: TBA 2012

Horn’s set up isn’t too dissimilar from a host of games that have been released. You wake up as an amnesiac, some bad stuff has gone down, and it’s up to you to fix it. In this instance, you wake up in your village after a thousand of years have passed and things are cursed, which has led to everything being turned into monsters. Of course, this won’t do, so you (Horn) set out to get things back to normal.

Along with you on the journey is the decapitated head of a rock monster who is your reluctant guide that stays strapped to your waist, peppering you with a healthy mix of insults and aid. He could be a pretty cool guy and give the game a nice bit of charm and levity. In addition to this grumbling associate, the general art direction is what stood out to me most about Horn. The run down aesthetic looks less traditional medieval, which I find a bit dull as a setting, and more fantastical. I sort of sensed a dash of ICO and Enslaved, both of which are wonderful games to draw cues from.

Speaking of Enslaved, the most direct parallel I saw to it was the enemy design. The enemies I fought appeared to be golems of sort, yet they were adorned with rusty metal armor, almost making them look like cutesy versions of Enslaved's robots. Their weak, azure, glowing magic underbellies sort of reminded me of electricity, as well. Unnecessary comparisons aside, the game looks pretty cool and is well served by some impressive technical work that make everything really pop on the iPad’s lovely screen.

The bit of the game I played was brief, consisting of a couple of fights and some mild exploration. You move Horn around by touching bits on the floor you want him to move towards and by more contextual movements like swiping left or right to have him jump a gap or up to pull himself up onto a ledge.

Battles will take place against one enemy at a time, with a sort of auto z-lock. When you encounter an enemy, your movement is restricted to a circular path around that enemy. Tapping left or right on the bottom corners of the screen causes Horn to dodge roll left or right in order to either evade enemy attacks (there is also a block button) or reposition himself in front of an enemies weak spot. The sword mechanics are still being tweaked so they were a little less one to one in my hands-on time, but you swipe the screen to slash your enemies appropriately. The first enemy I fought had a weak point hidden in his chest under some armor while the second had a weak point dangling dangerously from his tail, exposed, but required some deft dodge rolling to get into position to hit it.

There are also going to be some giant boss fights -- the end of my demo was teased with the enormous golem from the above trailer waking up like me, most days (begrudgingly). The team doesn’t seem to be limiting itself in scope, though it remains to be seen how far they’ll push the platform. At the very least, they’re promising a “console length” single-player component (citing the more and more commonplace 8-10 hour average).

While I’ve not played Infinity Blade (I barely own a competent computer, let alone a smart phone), the obvious comparison wasn’t lost on me, and so I asked Sineni about what sets their game apart. With Horn, Sineni is promising more puzzles and exploration, allowing you to play the game at your own pace, as opposed to Infinity Blade’s more linear, combat-focused structure. Accordingly, they’re still trying to strike a balance between glowing icons informing you of how to progress and letting the game be somewhat old school and let players wander about.

If you think of Horn as a sort of “baby’s first action/adventure game,” I particularly dig it. As people who have grown up or with or are otherwise familiar with games, we forget that the barrier to entry to some of our favorite titles is sometimes high. Trying to do the whole gaming thing can be daunting for outsiders. Sure, we were largely thrown to the wolves, started without training wheels, or pushed into the deep end and told to sink or swim, but I’m not opposed to letting others get their feet wet in the shallow end a bit, splashing about and enjoying themselves. The game seems pretty sincere.

That being said, if Horn lives up to its billing and promises -- the exploration, puzzle solving, potentially cool little narrative, etc. -- it could also prove a nice, surprisingly deep adventure for even the biggest anti-mobile gaming curmudgeon. Here’s hoping. We don’t have to wait too much longer to find out, as it’ll be releasing “soon.”

Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Shinta avatarShinta
Shinta avatarShinta
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
It's 2am and I'm watching this emulator whiz play Xenia (360 emilator) on PC albeit glitchy This video is hilarious
Shinta avatarShinta
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The Undertale review section on its Steam page is hilarious! [img][/img]
n0signal avatarn0signal
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
A Nintendo rep gave this to me today because she likes talking to me. I do have lots of the Old AC eReader cards I guess I could put in it... [img][/img]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it, but for the most part I like what I've seen of the new blog editor. My first blog post using it should go up tomorrow.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
The demon threat is real.[img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Daily VGM #20 (Bonus) - Valak Mountain Night (Xenoblade Chronicles) [youtube][/youtube] This theme perfectly captures the essence of Valak Mountain. It feel serene and calm, as well as mountain-esque (lol).
Lawman avatarLawman
What does one do when MGS V has lost its luster and Persona 4: DAN is growing stale? Listen to Queens of the Stone Age, of course. And wonder; is Steins;Gate worth the asking price? I want it, but not sure if I $30 - $40 want it...
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Been trying to get Tales Of Phantasia finished before Zestiria comes out... How i'm going to get through that game I have no clue... especially when Exist Archive comes out in December and I have to play that too... also i've still yet to finish Grandia 2
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Been in a bit of a rut this week and as such haven't really been satisfied with any of my games. Therefore, I'm going to start Destiny again on my new PS+ account. Any tips given the amount of updates it's had?
Bardley avatarBardley
Bought a used knockoff game console called the Power Kracker 2013, which claimed to have 76,000 games. The AC adapter was missing and someone had crammed an off-brand GameCube controller inside the box. I don't know what I expected.
Firuzi Gafrindashvili avatarFiruzi Gafrindashvili
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I actually love the quests in Novigrad where you write a play. It's a fun and lighthearted break from the tragedy of Baron and horror of Velen and the Crones.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I preordered Tales of Zestria and Disgaea 5 because they were £10 cheaper that way, WHO WANTS TO FIGHT ME HUH?
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Man, plague of shadows is gooood. It really fleshes out plague knight and the world by extension, and it has some fun story stuff. Plus plague knight plays differently enough to shovel knight to make whats old feel new again. Deep customization too.
nanashi avatarnanashi
You will be missed. 2001 - 2015 ATHF RIP. ... oh and uh, GET OUT OF MY FREAKING POOL!!
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

  Dec 11

A free version of Horn is now up on the App Store

Have an Unreal Engine 3 appetizer on the house

  Sep 09

Review: Horn

This horn has no point

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -