Taking its name from Broderbund’s 1993 sequel to Prince Of Persia, The Shadow And The Flame is an awkward amalgam of the series’ past and present. It takes the form of a side-scrolling platform action game – with plentiful visual reminders of its namesake, from crumbling walkways to deadly spike traps – but attempts to deliver a more complex mixture of switch-hitting, sprinting, leaping and sword-fighting, all wrapped up in the visual design and iconography of the franchise’s post-millennial reinvention.
It may look the part, like a hybrid of Shiny Entertainment’s revered Aladdin and fellow revisionist 2.5D action games like Bionic Commando: Rearmed, but the more dynamic pace of the platforming is hampered by frustrating and laborious combat. Duels feel like a relic from the past with stuttering, rudimentary animations. High and low attacks are delivered with swipes on the right-hand side of the screen, with movement handled by the left side and specific icons corresponding to health items and stealth actions, but there’s no flow between the two core pillars of movement and battle: the second you’re within fencing range of an enemy everything grinds to a halt as you take on your mandatory duelling stance. And it only gets more tiresome as the enemies get stronger.
In-app purchases, however, are handled with more nuance and kept pleasingly out of sight. There’s an option to circumvent them, too, if you’re happy watching the odd video advertisement. It’s a shame the rest of the game, like its protagonist, has the burden of some ancient history on its shoulders.
Prince Of Persia The Shadow And The Flame is out now on the App Store.