Games for the weekend: Horn


Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.

HornHorn ($2.99 Universal) is an action adventure game that utilizes the Unreal 3D engine. There is an element of RPG, as you level up your character, and equip him with custom-made weapons to take on some very unique robotic enemies that are strangely familiar to hero of this game.

The game has four basic modes of play: adventure, puzzle, action and story. During the adventure mode, you guide the hero, named Horn, through the ruins of his village from a third-person perspective.  Movement is not as fluid as traditional third-person shooters, it’s more of a guided experience.  You navigate your way through the game by tapping on various locations the screen. If you want Horn to go to the corner of the room, you tap on the floor near the corner of the room. There is no virtual d-pad and you do not need to tilt the screen to move the player around.

This frees up your hands and allows you to control the game’s camera.  With it you can look all around you in a 360-degree panorama. This changes the overall nature of the game from a run-and-fight shooter to a more of a search-and-find adventure.  You find yourself looking for just as many puzzles to solve as you do enemies to fight.  As you play the game, this adventure mode transitions to one of the other playing modes of the game.


It is the storytelling mode of the game that really draws you in and makes you feel like you are part of the adventure. As Horn speaks with various characters, you learn about his village and its former inhabitants. The dialogue is both spoken and presented in captions. Slowly you begin to realize that Horn has awaken from a very long sleep, and something terrible has happened to his village.  Horn is, of course, the only person in a position to save everyone.


The action mode of the game is played like a series of boss battles where you slash at Horn’s enemies, dodge their attacks, and look for their weak spots.  During each battle, you are also presented with some special weapons and potions that are available to use throughout the fight.  As you progress through the game, you learn that winning each battle is due to your choice of weapon and other armaments rather than it is your skill as a fighter.


As Horn makes his way through the village, he collects the raw materials he needs to keep himself well-equipped.  To take an advantage in the game, there is the opportunity to purchase additional materials through in-app purchases.  This only serves to equip Horn with more advanced weapons before they are truly necessary.


Most of the puzzles in the game are used to unlock blocked areas in the village.  As you make your way through the adventure mode of the game, you will get familiar with various elements that are used to open gates and perform some basic demolition.  Use of a grappling hook and flaming arrows also help Horn advance through the village and solve many of the puzzles.  One such demolition technique is to use the amplified sound waves of an aptly named wind instrument to loosen the fallen rubble and clear a path through the village.

It is the weaving in and out of each different mode of the game that keeps you engaged and the gameplay fresh.  The story unfolds at a good pace and there are plenty of hidden elements in the village to award the curious adventurer.


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