Prince of Persia The Shadow and The Flame review

Twenty years after the original release of the second game from the Prince of Persia saga, The Shadow and the Flame, Ubisoft decided that its time to bring back the old memories and (kind of) remake the original game for portable devices with improved HD graphics and touch optimized controls. The game is available for both Android and iOS and promises to deliver epic journey filled with exciting fights and secrets.

The Plot

Prince of Persia The Shadow and the Flame continues where PoP Classic ended. After defeating the evil Jaffar, the prince marries Sultan’s daughter living happily for 10 days. On the 11th day he steps in his castle but finds himself transformed into a beggar that no one recognizes. Suddenly Jaffar disguised as the prince enters and orders the guards to kill him. Seeing no other option, the real prince jumps off a window and tries to escape the city by sea. Unfortunately the ship he boarded crashed and he found himself on a shore of an unknown land from where he starts his journey to stop the evil Jaffar once again.

The World Map

The World Map

What exactly is this game

“Prince of Persia 2 is a collection of 15 levels of pure pain and frustration” – was a popular quote back in the day, and was generally considered to be true. However, times have changed and we now live in a world of short attention span with so many things to do. The developers knew this and decided to tone down the difficulty. Some frustrating parts of the game have been removed, and you can now explore the entire level without worrying about running out of time. So yes, this remake is not a direct reincarnation of the old PoP2, but considering today’s target audience maybe it was the right thing to do. Just imagine if Ubisoft decided to leave all nuisances intact, the game would’ve been buried instantly by todays standards. Few of the old gamers were going to praise it, but majority would discard it instantly as impossible to complete. Ubisoft decided to strip off some parts of the game, but would you really want to re-live the scene where you had to run across the collapsing bridge while jumping on ledges (yeah this part is gone) on your touchscreen? Me neither.

Gameplay

For those that aren’t familiar with the series, Prince of Persia is a platform game. You control the prince trying to avoid various obstacles, jump and swing over deadly gaps, climb walls, kill enemies and collect coins along the way. Precise jumping, running and rolling is the essence of this game. You will have to time your actions perfectly in order to survive some of the traps. Beside holding the exit, each level has couple of hidden features such as hidden health expansion, revive potions and treasure chests. For 100% completion of the given level you will have to find them all and you’ll have to do it in the goal time provided. Each level can be replayed infinite number of times by visiting the world map from the main menu.

The combat system consist of blocking and counter attacks. It is quite simple and doesn’t propose a threat unless your touchscreen decides to give up when you are about to block. You will have couple of combo moves at your disposal that you can perform after blocking the enemies attack at the right moment. The combo moves will gradually upgrade as you progress through the game and you will learn when to use which. For example, if there is a gap on the floor behind your enemy, Tiger Thrust will be the most suitable move since it will push the bad guy behind and make him fall down thus ending the battle instantly.

Graphics and Controls

Graphics are truly remarkable with well designed backgrounds that correlate with your actions and the story. Compared to the first game “Prince of Persia Classic”, everything is at least 2 times prettier. I don’t like using the phrase “Stunning Visuals”, but for a platformer, The Shadow and the Flame looks damn good.

That bird...

The game features touchscreen optimized controls. The left part of the screen moves the prince, while the right one will do all the rest and is gesture based. Personally I liked the combination of touch-gesture controls and I finished the game using only this method, but this is a subject of opinion. The game offers virtual joystick and on-screen buttons as well and they are quite good actually, so if you find the gestures too hard to get a hang of, you can always switch. Unfortunately the game does not recognize external gamepads, a highly desirable feature that hopefully the developer will add in the upcoming updates.

In-app store

Yes its here, and I saw an ad. Twice. Why do the developers decide to include IAPs and ads in paid games? I honestly don’t know, but if I had to guess its because they want more money 🙂 and lower the initial cost of the game. Don’t freak out, here is how it works. The previously mentioned coins that you find while playing can be spent in the shop where you can upgrade weapons, buy potions and upgrade combos. Everything is obtainable by playing (even the combos) and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to spend real money. The shop is there, just in case.

Verdict

Аlthough Prince of Persia: The Shadow and The Flame is not a faithful reincarnation of the old game, it still offers plenty of fun and challenging gameplay. The game supports achievements and leaderboards, but it can become repetitive over time. Graphics and animations are top notch, while the game itself runs fluidly on most dual core devices. It will occupy your attention for a while, and will definitely bring back some good old memories, or create new ones. I did enjoy playing The Shadow and The Flame, and hope you will too.

by Dejan B.

Great graphics and animations IAPs in paid game
The essence of the original game is still here No support for external gamepads

[appbox googleplay “com.ubisoft.princeofpersia.shadowandflame.ggp”]