Orcs & Elves

Oct 25, 2007

When we heard popular cell phone game Orcs & Elves was on its way to the DS, our first thoughts were not positive. The idea of playing a first-person dungeon crawler built for a phone and then ported over to a handheld was not an exciting prospect. Imagine our surprise when the game turned out to be a rat-splattering good time.

Big time gamers probably know the name John Carmack. He pretty much made Doom what it was, and by extension, what all modern shooters are today. He's a programming master and knows his craft. Well, he had a hand in Orcs & Elves. Needless to say, then, that the 3D mazes, enemies and weapons all look fantastic and run as smooth as can be. The same praise applies to the audio as well - each monstrous grumble, ambient creak and sword swing sounds about as authentic as the DS can make it. In other words, play this one with headphones. We don't normally dive into tech info like this, but when it shines, it shines.

The core concept, on the other hand, is dead simple - run through maze after right-angled maze slashing monsters, casting spells, collecting treasure and bartering with a moody dragon. Imagine a better version of last year'sDeep Labyrinth, or, if you will, a scaled-down Oblivion.

Moving through each maze is extremely easy, thanks to smartly implemented controls. The shoulder buttons strafe, the d-pad moves forward and back as well as turns left and right, and the face buttons use weapons, switch weapons and bring up a handy map. It's easy to breeze through the serpentine paths with such a setup. In fact, you'll only have to stop when you encounter one of the many, many monsters that slither around in the dark reaches of the underworld.