Let's just come right out and say it: Gameloft is rapidly becoming synonymous with "kick-ass iPhone games."
That's a personal opinion, but the developer's credits include some of my all-time favorites: Console smash Assassin's Creed, GTA clone Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, Guitar Hero clone Guitar Rock Tour 2, Madden clone NFL 2010, and even the lovingly remade PC classic, The Oregon Trail.
Now comes Blades of Fury, an arcade-style fighting game that, in true Gameloft cloning style, could best be described as Mortal Kombat (or perhaps more accurately, Soul Caliber) for iPhone.
Blades serves up 10 warriors, each with their own moves, attacks, and even background stories. Choose a character, then square off against one foe after another, with 10 different arenas as your backdrops.
Good news on the multiplayer front: You can challenge nearby competitors via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The bad news: No Internet play, which would have been totally (pardon the pun) killer.
Speaking of killing, if you've ever played Mortal Kombat, Soul Caliber, Tekken, or the like, you know that the fun lies in mastering various attack combos so you can dish out maximum damage.
Same goes for Blades of Fury, but the onscreen controls just can't match the button-mashing fun you get from a coin-op or console fighter.
To its credit, the game does give you a choice of a joystick or d-pad for character movement and swipe or button controls for attacks and defenses. I can't say I like one combo better than another; both take practice, and both may leave you a little frustrated.
Indeed, while Blades of Fury delivers the sights and sounds of a Mortal Kombat-style game (minus the gratuitous blood and ripping out of skeletons), it can't quite deliver the gameplay.
Indeed, the game is proof positive that Crave blogger Jeff Bakalar was right when he said the iPhone needs buttons.
On the other hand, control issues aside, Blades of Fury offers a ton of skull-bashing fantasy fun, and I find myself going back to it more than a lot of other action games.
If you'd rather not spend $6.99 to see if you feel the same way, stay tuned for the inevitable Lite version.