Back Stab

Back Stab

Gameloft brings big screen action to the small screen

You have to hand it to Gameloft. While other companies play to the strengths and weaknesses of iOS, the French publisher doggedly pursues its quest of creating big home-console experiences on Apple’s handhelds.

It succeeds more often than not, and while many of its games are very similar to popular home console titles, they always manage to convey an epic feel that betray both their handheld roots and paltry price tags.

Back Stab is Gameloft’s latest offering, and it’s a fun little romp that combines elements of GTA and Assassin’s Creed to great effect. Taking on the role of Henry Blake, your mission is to exact revenge on those who left you to rot in prison.

Despite being a former officer in the Royal Navy, Blake proves to be a far more successful rogue. Running along rooftops, scaling walls and leaping up cliff faces are all in a day’s work for Blake, and this enjoyable free running is highly satisfying, even if the controls sometimes let Blake down.

In addition to being very athletic, Blake is also an able combatant, effortlessly dispatching opponents with a number of sword swipes and vicious stabs. He can also sneak up on enemies to deliver fatal strikes, use a variety of devastating high-powered attacks, fire guns and throw makeshift grenades.

All this swordplay and free running is set in four large cities, which really push the iPad graphically. The huge Caribbean island that Back Stab is set on looks gorgeous, while the large number of quests to complete and NPCs to interact with will instantly recall the aforementioned GTA and Assassin’s Creed. A few bugs occasionally annoy, but there’s no denying the scope, scale and fun that Gameloft’s game offers.

Rated 4 out of 5

Gameloft proves you don’t need an established IP to create a rollicking good game.