Draw Slasher, originally a game designed for smartphones has made its way to the PS Vita. Designed to make use of the machine’s touch screen controls, the game hopes to bridge the gap between handheld console and smartphone style devices.
Originally released in 2009 as Draw Slasher: Dark Ninja vs Pirate Monkey Zombies on iOS the idea is that players use the touchscreen to slice and dice the various enemies on the screen. It is a game that was designed to fit the iPhone due to the lack of button control and did a fine job of keeping the action fast and frantic, but without being cumbersome and awkward. The move to Vita isn’t a risky one as such, but having buttons on the console means many people are wary of touch only control.
It matters not with Draw Slasher, as the game was designed from the ground up with touch control in mind, so using buttons just wouldn’t suit. To be totally honest too, having AAA titles and a barrage of Indies is wonderful, but having these quick pick up and play style games is also very welcome, as there are some excellent iOS and Android titles that the Vita is missing.
Draw Slasher is a very simple game to play, with levels that get increasingly difficult to play, but also continue to feel rewarding. The main mode is Story, that is told in different chapters, using this mechanic to essentially stop the game becoming overly repetitive, which due to the nature of the gameplay, is something that can easily happen. It is handled very well here and as said a welcome change to just trying to beat a highscore on the same level all the time.
Although levels are set in a single screen, they aren’t confined to simply the area of the screen. Players can move left and right to scroll across each level as they fight to decapitate and slice up the enemies. They will come from the background, from the left or right, singularly or in groups. Some will easily be dispatched, others will take a few more slicing motions to kill and bosses will take yet more effort.
There are a few issues with the touch controls though. Moving from left to right is a simple tap on where you want to move, which is fine, but to jump through the air requires a motion that is almost identical to the motion you need to make to attack an enemy. It doesn’t particularly ruin anything, but when the action gets even more frantic you can find yourself almost swiping away in hope rather than tactically.
That said, it is a great way to grab a bit of short term entertainment, especially when you add in the other modes such as challenge, which has some set rules that you have to beat. Beating a combo target to earn one, two or three flames (note the change from stars). These add some nice longevity to the game and to get three flames on every challenge does require a fair amount of repeat play.
Draw Slasher isn’t a system seller, but it doesn’t claim to be. What it is though is the sort of game that the system needs, quick pick up games that made iOS as successful as it is today. At £3.99 it does seem expensive when compared to the 69p types on iOS, but you will easily get more than your money’s worth.