Pirate game not worth the doubloons

Backstab is a loosely pirate-themed third-person action-adventure game with promising potential but frustratingly flawed execution given its price.

Backstab is a loosely pirate-themed third-person action-adventure game with promising potential but frustratingly flawed execution given its price.

Backstab advertises an "unprecedented story" and a "blockbuster production with the best graphics." Unfortunately, the story is highly precedented (and told unevenly, with spotty voice acting and wooden animations) and the graphics--while somewhat impressive for a mobile device, especially given the game's limited sandbox environment--are far from the best. Backstab evokes derivative late '90s console games, although with more-frustrating controls: what should be an intuitive camera system (you swipe the screen to rotate the camera) is anything but, as you struggle with clunky buttons and awkward perspectives made worse by the game's glitchy rendering. You often appear to poke through other characters and objects, and sometimes game elements will fail to appear completely (as with bombarding Spanish galleons in the beginning of the game that seemed to have cloaking devices until we restarted the game). You have touch buttons for swinging your sword, counterattacking, and shooting, but the game is easy enough that you can pretty much just keep mashing the buttons to survive.

Backstab is ambitious in its aims (and length), but half-hearted in execution, from its frequent crashes to its superficial darkness (veiled rape references do not make a game "adult") to its haphazard AI and rendering, which completely undercut any attempt at seriousness (in some situations, when you kill an enemy, another one magically reappears). This game is somewhat fun, especially for the novelty of its sandbox climbing and movement, but not enough to justify its steep price.

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