Chop, chop, chop. Pretty manga nun. Huge scythe. Lots of moaning zombies in bits. Who would have thought it?

Actually, anyone who's been playing iPhone games will have already played a variation of this.

The side scrolling action genre kick-started by Zombieville USA (albeit with a redneck, guns and zombies), has stalked the App Store for many months, partly because these games are relatively quick and cheap to make and also because they're fun and easy to get into.

They also fulfil strong gameplay elements of reward, thanks to weapons upgrading, and replayability, as you try to beat your high score.

Honing Twin Blades

In the case of Twin Blades, the main focus of developer Press Start has been the look and feel of the experience. Your manga nun is a fast-moving gal with a high jump move to get her out of the clutches of undead. If they really get their hands on her, you have to shake your handset to get them to disengage.

As tradition dictates, the zombies pop up out of the ground, only to be swiftly turned into dismembered fragments, complete with gory onscreen blood splats, as well as some excellent squelchy sound effects.

The graphics are fairly detailed. There are several locations - market, ruined church, cemetery etc - that you continually play through over and over as you attempt to survive for as many days as possible against the zombie hordes. Each day consists of you playing through each location.

The payoff for doing so is that as well as her enormous scythe, your nun also comes with a gun, which is the game's main upgrade element. To stop you just blasting everything, use of the firearm requires some energy, which you can only replace by using the scythe.

Lock and reload

Weapons are bought and upgraded by allocating the number of zombie kills you've made in a day. The shop option is automatically available once you've worked your way through all the daily locations without dying.

Unsurprisingly, the firearm side of the action is much more fun in terms of graphical effect, if not particularly more efficient than the scythe in terms of killing power.

In-game, you can swap between any bought weapon by flicking up and down with your finger over the icon. There's no limit in terms of ammunition, only the amount of energy you have at any time.

So, you always need to use your scythe, which makes it a bit surprising that there are no available upgrades. It would have been nice to be able to choose other bladed weapons, for example.

Still, with the choice of machine gun, flamethrower, explosive bullets and a vapouriser, there's more than enough to be getting on with. Turning zombies into a pile of bones with the vapouriser is especially satisfying.

Yet, it has to be said that Twin Blades isn't a deep experience. It looks great and plays well but after about of an in-game week of zombie killing and upgrading your guns, it's not clear why you'd want to hang around for a fortnight.

Hopefully longevity and a bit more variety will come with the planned updates and the promise of more zombies types, and in time, bosses and another slash move for the nun. Still, for the time being, this is a sharp little number.

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