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Cthulhu Saves The World Review: Non-Ecludian Adventure With A Few Port Problems

IA! IA! CTHULHU FTHAGN! If you know what that means, then you’ll want to head out and pick up the game Cthulhu Saves the World, an iOS port from TinkerHouse Games and Zeboyd Games. It’s a funny and sometimes challenging old-school adventure game featuring the Lovecraftian villain that so many love to hate; unfortunately, it’s currently bogged down by some interface and control issues that will hopefully be cleared up in the future.

In Cthulhu Saves the World, you play the Great Old One Cthulhu, who has risen from nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh to destroy the world … only to find yourself stripped of your cosmic powers. The only way to gain them back is for you — squid-faced, bat-winged, pure evil Cthulhu — to become a true hero and save the world.

If you’re already chuckling, then you realize how absurd the concept is. And thankfully, the makers of the game don’t take a lick of it too seriously. Cthulhu doesn’t want to be a hero, of course; this is all a path to regaining his powers so that he can destroy the world. The game is over-the-top, sometimes inappropriate, and always played for laughs.

What follows is a fairly linear plot that takes you through a 16-bit RPG world, fighting all sorts of Lovecraftian horrors. Playing through the adventure is all about getting to the next funny bit; there’s not much in the adventure design itself that makes the game overly difficult. It’s RPG entertainment through and through.

Combat is almost entirely random as you explore the various world boards, and it plays out in a standard old-school combat way. The inclusion of the Unite powers and Combo meters help make play a little different, but for the most part this combat felt just like the kind of combat you used to encounter in games like Phantasy Star III. One welcome addition to combat is an insanity metric for causing increased damage; it’s very appropriate to the characters (anyone remember the old Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG?).

One thing to note about Cthulhu Saves the World is that it is a port of a console-downloadable game. This is worth noting for two reasons. First, if you’ve ever played the game on another system, there’s nothing new for you here in terms of the gameplay. It’s the same game.

Second, there are some issues with this game. Specifically, the controls SUCK. Movement is a swiping gesture that is inaccurate and not always responsive; there’s no d-pad or stick to help center the finger for the next swipe. Secondly, the menu structure appears to be almost unaltered from the console version; navigating up and down requires an awkward swiping gesture, and on the iPhone the menu options are so small that mistaps are unavoidable. These control issues need to be the first thing the devs address in a future update.

For Cthulhu fans willing to suffer through the iffy controls, Cthulhu Saves the World can be a whole lot of fun. Once the control issues are addressed, the game will be even better; but for now, those not drawn to the Cthulhuian subject matter might want to wait for an interface update.

 Our Score: 3.5 out of 5. 


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