When it comes to apps made for virtual slicing and dicing, fruits typical rule the roost. Just ask Shrek’s furry feline buddy, who took his turn slicing watermelons and strawberries with his trusty blade in Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots. Ironically, Bethesda’s latest take on the slicing app will likely be more Puss in Boots’ cup of catnip tea. After all, it replaces fruits with, uh, rats. I’m talking creepy little vermin with creepy little red eyes that really creep you out.
A teaser of sorts for the upcoming Dishonored game, Rat Assassin takes one of the overarching themes from the first-person, stealth-action game — the rat plague — and spins it off as a free iOS app for "assassin training." The result is a surprisingly polished game that actually plays pretty well as far as slicing games go.
Like Fruit Ninja, the goal behind Rat Assassin is to slice as many targets as you can within its various game modes. "Assassination" serves as your basic mode where you try to cut down rats while avoiding bombs that eventually get mixed in with the vermin. The gameplay itself involves a certain level of strategy, which jacks up player involvement. Beginners, for example, will tend to slice rats as they come out. This clears the field faster and minimizes the chances that a rat will drop offscreen unscathed. Slicing pros, however, know that the big payoff as far as racking up the points is concerned actually involves cutting down multiple targets with one stroke. This involves a certain amount of patience as you wait a bit longer for more targets to appear and line up perfectly. It's an approach, however, that can be best described as both high-risk and high-reward. By waiting a bit longer to slice your hapless rats, you also increase your chances of missing them as they fall offscreen. Increasing the number of targets you have onscreen also increases the risk of you accidentally hitting a game-ending bomb. This game mechanic, combined with powers such as Bend Time and bonuses such as Bloodthirsty Mode combine to make Rat Assassin an interesting jaunt.
In addition to "Assassination" mode, Rat Assassin also serves up a challenge mode that starts you with 12 easy stages and unlocks harder difficulties as you progress. There's also a timed game mode where you have to slice and dice as many targets as you can before time runs out. The game also allows players to collect several bonus items during the course of play. These include variations on your starter blade as well as new targets, new music and new backgrounds.
Admittedly, this game won't be everybody's cup of tea. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for example, likely won't be happy with this game. Folks who also get queasy from seeing digital representations of dismembered rats may be uncomfortable with Rat Assassin as well. For others, however, the game offers a very solid rendition of the slicing game genre. Add the fact that it's also free and it's kind of hard to really find fault with it from a game design standpoint. If you like slicing games and can get past the fact that you're slashing rats instead of fruits, then Rat Assassin just might be worth a look for you. Otherwise, well, there's always that fruit slicing game.
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Dishonored: Rat Assassin