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Orcs & Elves review

Charmingly gory, this action-RPG delivers the medieval treasure

Both screens are used aptly, with the action on the top screen and either your map or your utility belt-style items menu on the bottom. If it weren't for the excellent Castlevania-esque map, navigating each labyrinthine dungeon would be a horribly tedious mess (one dungeon is actually called The Labyrinth).

While the DS graphics aren't exactly photorealistic, they do have a charmingly nostalgic feel (think Doom), and are complemented perfectly by impressive audio effects. Every squishy gore noise and anguished Wraith death wail that emanates from those tiny DS speakers (we actually recommend using headphones) makes the hack and slash action seem realer than it actually is.

What would otherwise be a dull story is kept snappy with a minimalist approach that never breaks up the action too much. Every character bursts with personality, from your opinionated talking wand Ellon, to the regal shopkeeper dragon Gaya, and all the Dwarven ghosts that inhabit the castle (many of which are endearingly drunk... so stereotypical). At one point, Ellonis stolen (or kidnapped, if you will) by a thieving Wererat, and the bond between wand and wielder becomes apparent as you frantically search to retrieve him. Since dialogue is kept to a minimum, none of the characters ever overstay their welcome, and it's actually quite amazing how much characterization is squeezed into such a small amount of text.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionHack and slash your way through a castle of 3D mazes in this charmingly gory adventure-RPG with a nostalgic feel. You don't have to be a LARPer to enjoy this one.
US censor ratingTeen
Release date13 November 2007 (US), (UK)