Vampires are definitely trendy these days, and in the new game Bloodmasque, you get to play as a Van Helsing style vampire hunter. The game takes playing as a vampire hunter to the next level thanks to an innovative system that lets you use your own face for the main character. Bloodmasque comes from Square Enix, and it uses the deluxe 3D Unreal Engine to provide some ornate graphics, and 3D character modeling. That in part helps blend your photos on to the 3D character model to make your face fit in with the other characters in the game. The graphics engine also provides a deluxe cityscape based on 19th century Paris that is quite a treat to look at in between hunting.
The entire game revolves around combat as you go head to head with a vampire in a set-up similar to Infinity Blade. You simply swipe to dodge attacks, and tap to perform your own attacks against each vampire foe. The set-up is definitely accessible, and every move helps build up your special attack which performs some devastating damage. There’s a storyline to transition from battle to battle, and it revolves around 19th century Paris with a vampire ruled world, and you play as a half-breed with some vampire blood to perform the special attacks. The storyline isn’t noteworthy in any regard, but it does set the stage for about 12 hours of claimed gameplay. There are also plenty of unlockable weapons to outfit your vampire hunter with, and there some slight RPG elements when leveling up.
There’s no doubt that Bloodmasque has a lot of potential content, but a lot of it will probably be untapped by most. That’s because there’s just nothing to entice you to keep playing through all of the battles because they play almost exactly the same. It’s tough to tell any vampire battle apart as each one is comprised of a beginning sequence with the vampires’ human form, and then you battle them until they transition into their vampire form to do the same battle again. The biggest problem is that the interaction is so rudimentary so you’re mostly just tapping the screen repeatedly with no real skill or challenge involved. The vampires don’t react to your attacks, and there’s no form to the battles, so you’re just swiping to move out of the vampires range, and then tapping to blandly attack.
The game’s definite highlight is the ability to integrate your face into the game, but it’s nothing more than a neat gimmick. The gameplay is the most important part of any game, and it’s extremely lacking with no variations at all. You expect more from Square Enix with such a deluxe graphics engine, but it just never comes. The only difference between the intro battle, and the tenth and twentieth battles is more health points for the enemy vampire. The game has a few other problems including subpar controls when moving through areas before the battles, and sometimes the game confuses attack taps for dodge swipes.
Unless you like doing the same thing over and over, there’s no enjoyment, engagement, or entertainment to be drawn from Bloodmasque ($6.99, Universal) making it one to steer clear of.