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Samurai BloodShow leads trio of Sega iOS releases

For its latest iOS games, Sega is turning to the Far East for inspiration.

On Thursday, the game maker released Samurai BloodShow on Apple's App Store. An English adaptation of the Japanese game Gempei Taisen Emaki, this tower defense game isn't really the violent gore fest that its name would imply (though it's not without its share of bloodshed). Rather, it's based on an actual event in 12th-century Japan--the Genpei War. Sticking with the historical theme, all of the art is based off of the scroll styles of the time and all of the music is inspired by the traditional music of the 1100s. To westerners like myself, I thought of it as almost an education on classical Japanese culture. But a Japanese Sega representative assured me that the theme is considered almost satirical in Japan.

Samurai BloodShow is a strategy-based game that incorporates a trading card element with tower defense gameplay. Rival samurais approach you in waves; you draw cards and place your samurais in their path. Once a rival samurai reaches your samurai, they battle each other until one erupts in a fountain of blood.

During the battle, you can level-up your samurai by dragging cards on top of him or place a new samurai behind him for back-up. Because the different cards have different capabilities, you can strategize by putting a far-reaching attacker further back from the front lines while keeping the samurais with the best defenses closer to the enemy.

After you have killed all of the rival samurais in a battle, you receive a new playing card. Players can also buy more cards via in-app purchases.

It takes a little bit to figure out the nuances of the game, but, in after a little hands-on time with the game, I found Samurai BloodShow pretty addicting. It offers multiplayer capabilities through either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi multiplayer as well as 100 levels and an ever-increasing library of cards. Sega says it's already looking at the possibility of a sequel set in ancient Egypt.

The $5 game is optimized for both the iPhone and iPad. You'll need at least an iPhone 3GS or a third-generation iPod touch running iOS 4 to play it.

Sega has another game in the works with roots in Japan. Brick People, set for a fall release, is an iOS adaptation of an extremely popular Japanese arcade game.

In the game, you help the lemming-like Brick People reach fruit or numbers as they climb on bricks from the bottom of the screen. The player drags bricks from the sides of the screen to the center. The Brick People then jump on top of the bricks and hop to their goal.

After playing the game in a brief demo, I found Brick People adorable and fun. It offers a range of difficulty settings, so people with differing skill levels can enjoy the game. When it hits the App Store, Brick People will work on all of Apple's iOS devices, including the iPad.

Samurai BloodShow and Brick People aren't the only games Sega is rolling out for iOS devices. Later this fall, the game maker plans to release Sega Bass Fishing Challenge. The long-time arcade and console game is coming to iOS devices with Sega aiming to make it the leading fishing game on the App Store--a tall order given the popularity of offerings like Freeverse's Flick Fishing.

In Sega's fishing game, you start by casting from the shore, but as your line hits the water, so does your perspective. Your next move is to lure your catch; once you've got a fish on the line, you must act fast to reel it in.

The preview version Sega showed off this week only features touch controls to cast, lure, and reel. But controls that take advantage of the built-in accelerometer in iOS devices are under development and should be featured in the final release. How those controls are implemented will go a long way toward determining what kind of splash Bass Fishing Challenge makes when it lands in the App Store later this year.


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