As the credits rolled I place my iPhone on the table, leaned back in my chair and attempted to work out in my head how to present Sunside Games' Crow. I was having an incredibly difficult time of it, and now I realise why: Crow is much more than my Gaming App of the Day.
It's the most uniquely captivating experience I've had on the iPhone.
Crow tells the story of one of those titular avians, caught up in an ancient battle between good and evil. Through four magical settings it flies, its magical powers growing with every secret discovered. Those powers, granted by opposing light and dark spirits, are used to engage in stunningly cinematic on-rails battles against massive mythical foes. Along the way the crow must make important decisions, unlocking new skills while changing the final outcome of this magical tale.
The gameplay is simple and satisfying, with gesture-based spell casting and fingertip flight. It's not the most complicated game I've played, but it is one of the prettiest. Sunside's proprietary Radiance platform renders fantastical 3D worlds flawlessly, and with graphics optimised for the new iPad's retina display I cannot wait for my unit to arrive from China (any day now).
Crow's most striking feature, however, is the atmosphere it creates. The silent crow gliding through the clouds, a wordless pawn in an ancient battle; the mist-covered fantasy world, dressed in warm autumn colours; the dramatic orchestral score; I completely lost myself in the experience. It was overwhelming. It was wondrous.
So much so that I almost couldn't figure out how to put it into words.
Crow will be available on iTunes on April 12 as a $5.49 universal app.
Crow [Sunside Games]