Oozoo’s new title, Brandnew Boy boasts some of the best hand to hand combat controls we’ve seen for the iPhone and its siblings.  Powered by Unreal Engine’s 3D platform, the game offers beautiful settings, creepy and funny monsters, and oodles of exceptional combat.

Action, action, and more action is the name of the game.  Yes, you’ve got items to acquire and upgrades to manage, and there’s a narrative… but you can sleepwalk through that part as long as you enjoy kicking ass. And while hand to hand combat has had a less than impressive showing in the App Store, Brand New Boy is about to change all that.  With one ferocious young boy, stranded in an unknown world.  “Rookie” is all you’ll know your character by when you begin, because the poor little fella has lost his memory.  To assist him, maybe, is a television-headed robot of some type known as OnaOna.  While OnaOna clearly knows more than it’s letting on, it seems to be unable to reveal more about Rookie’s past. In the meantime, everyone on this world seems out to turn Rookie into a smear of gore. Time to fight, and maybe pick up some clues to identity along the way.

The controls that manage Rookie’s combat skills are one of the most impressive aspects of this new game.  Rather than turning Brandnew Boy into a gamer’s headache with too many onscreen controls, or a gamer’s idea of boredom by just tapping your way to victory, Oozoo came up with something a bit different.  Yes, the controls are entirely tap and swipe based—but they’re also rhythm based.  By tracking the yellow status bar that appears whenever you’re in a battle, you’ll be able to break bad at the right moment—and if you keep it up, you’ll score amazing combos.  That might still sound oversimplified, but given the number and variety of enemies and their skills, it’s a whole new flavor of challenge.

In the first couple of stages, Brandnew Boy lets you heavy-hand your way through.  But that’s just letting you get warmed up.  The enemies you first encounter will be lower level eggy types.  Yes, eggs.  These guys do get much deadlier as you progress, but they don’t get any less silly looking.  Later, you’ll start running into an entirely different species—tall, thin, and talented at various casting and weapons abilities.  That’s when managing your own upgrades and weapons will become more important.  These mysterious humanoids don’t show their faces, but they are very willing to show off how vicious they are.  They’re spooky, but  nothing compared to the bosses.  The very first one you encounter is called “Franken-tiger” and that whimsical name does nothing to prepare you for the monstrous masked horror you’ll be facing off against.

Oozoo pushes the Unreal Engine factor pretty hard, and they’re right to do it, because the 3D combat is phenomenal, especially for an App Store offering.  Suffice it to say that good “camera” work, dramatic combos, and a fully rendered 3D setting make high speed martial arts against bizarre opponents awesome. But Unreal alone isn’t what makes Brandnew Boy so darn good. The game’s overall design and aesthetics make it a high quality, engaging experience.

Brandnew Boy retails for $3.99 in the iTunes App Store, a phenomenal value for an incredible adrenaline rush and a great looking game!

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