The “Quick-Time Event” (QTE) refers to a gameplay element where your character’s actions are determined by pressing a series of buttons within a certain amount of time when prompted by an on-screen cue.
Games have used the QTE ranging back from the classic arcade hits Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, all the way up to modern hits like Shenmue (where the term was coined) and God of War. These days, games generally only use the QTE in short bursts, like when taking down a large boss, or performing some sort of special function.
Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel by Drakkar DEV makes use of the QTE almost exclusively. It uses the traditional method (buttons appear on screen and the player use press those buttons quickly to perform an action), but the majority of the game uses it more subtly. The main character of the game constantly runs across the screen (on rails) and the player must use a variety of screen swipes and taps in order to dodge obstacles, grab items, and defeat enemies.
It’s a design choice that suits the iPhone platform quite well, but doesn’t exactly provide a lot of depth. As a result, Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel, while containing some fantastic production values, feels a little flat in terms of gameplay.
At the outset of the game, players take control of Loreena, a young woman who has been held captive and has just been freed as her prison walls are destroyed by the battle raging outside. She begins running (from left-to-right) and the action begins.
Players will first be asked to help Loreena jump over fallen boulders and crates by swiping up, or slide under hanging light fixtures and through holes by swiping down. Soon, as Loreena equips a sword, swiping from left-to-right will help her dispatch enemies. Eventually, ranged weapons and magic are obtained, both of which are used by tapping on their corresponding on-screen buttons.
Because Loreena moves automatically, only one finger is needed to control the rest of her actions. Again, it’s a smart choice in terms of the way it utilizes the iPhone platform, but results in the game feeling as though success relies upon little more than gamers’ reaction time. To be fair, certain boss battles require a certain amount of strategy, and knowing when Loreena should block or parry can greatly improve your chances of survival. However, these moments are few and far between.
Where Guardians excels is in its presentation, and many players may find themselves overlooking the shallow gameplay simply to see where the adventure leads. Loreena is a compelling and strong female protagonist, and the locales – once you progress past the run-of-the-mill castle setting – are interesting and bear similarities to console hits like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Demon’s Souls.
Bottom Line: Though it falls flat in the gameplay department, Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel is a nicely produced game that suits the iOS platform well.
Guardians: The Last Day of the Citadel is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.