Price: $2.99    Score: 9/10    Category: Games

Samurai II: Vengeance has returned, and this time the gory title that was featured in Apple’s Best games of 2009 is featured in all its glory on the iPad (as well as iPhone).

The fast paced console-like fighting game starts in medias res with a manga style storyline. The peasants have been treated poorly for too long, and it’s time to fight the tyrannical foes once and for all.

In order to do so, you end up walking through various lands. You cross bridges, pull levers to open gates, bash barrels in for karma points, and take on multiple enemies at a time in enclosed, locked in spaces.

When the game gears into fighting mode you have no choice but to beat all the enemies with sword bashing combinations and strategic rolls to get out of the way of opponents’ all out death swings.

At first the enemies pitted against you are fairly simple to conquer. A few good swipes and they’re down, leaving only a puddle of blood behind in their memory. The trouble (or fun) is that the enemies just keep appearing and you can’t proceed until you’ve beaten the entire wave.

When you do emerge victorious though, the locks that closed you in disappear and you can proceed to new lands. While some of the landscape looks mostly familiar once you’ve been playing Samurai awhile, there are some clever adventure elements.

For starters, sometimes you fly on wooden structures. You also cross bridges with moving water (and can’t fall off), evade ninja spiked moving pillars, face bosses in fighting rings, and much more.

Everything in Samurai II is set up to make navigation easy and fighting difficult. You can’t fall off of bridges, for example. When it comes to fighting though, life is a bit more difficult. Sharp shooting archers can shoot you from a distance while swordsman attempt to slice your head off before you cut them in half.

Every level is pretty long, and the game saves automatically at frequent checkpoints so you don’t have to worry about saving before you die. You’re also given multiple lives, which makes the difficulty of beating bosses and such tolerable.

The only complaint I have about this game is the controls, which sometimes prove sticky and difficult. The overall fighting controls are alright, and move delays only occur every now and then. What really hurts is the directional pad though. Sometimes trying to control the direction of your rolls sends you tumbling in exactly in the wrong direction and ultimately to your demise. It’s a small price to pay in a really great game, but a complaint nevertheless.

All said and done, this is a great action game with incredible detail. Sometimes opponents slice literally in half, and when you’re especially victorious blood splatters straight onto your screen.

Bottom Line: Samurai II: Vengeance is an engaging adventure fighting game for iPhone and iPad, with good graphics, fast paced play, and an engaging plot. For $3.99 it’s a steal.