The Executive Review [iPad]

In a world where games were normal, Riverman Media were hard at work developing something so incredibly gorgeous and bizarre that you forget the need to understand it. From the wreckage of many skyscrapers and office furniture our hero, The Executive is here to save us from mundane gaming, and it was all because of a vending machine.

16-Bit Music To My Ears

Do you like retro brawlers? How about that concept with some stupidly amazing eye candy, smooth animation, monstrous yet comical enemies, rewarding and fun combat all tied together with some tight controls and no IAP? Read on.

There is absolutely no doubt that this game is a masterpiece, both the art style and mechanics had my eyes light up like a possessed child after drinking 2 litres of the finest sunny delight. In short, this game is a beautifully crafted mashup of the animals of farthing wood and the fondest memories from streets of rage with a little RPG sprinkled on top, it has everything you could want from a mobile brawler, even the music is absolutely top notch.

What shouts out to me more than anything about this game is the total creative freedom that’s behind it, why are you a fabulously dressed businessman punching and kicking a muscular pig in shorts? Who cares! You have glowing blue feet and they aren’t stopping for anyone’s face that may get in the way!

Suited And Booting Things In The Face

You star as The Executive, and it’s a bad day for business, vending machines and the rest of humanity. The entire city has been overrun with bizarre creatures which presumably were once human, and will stop at nothing to get a few cheap shots at you. Why this is happening is completely unknown, but it doesn’t matter, you’re the one in the suit, now start acting powerful and showing your authority, do some wall running while you’re out there too!

The Executive’s controls recommend playing with only one finger. That’s not to say it doesn’t pack simple, pick up and play goodness, tapping high or low over the current enemy in battle will trigger a high punch or low kick whereas a touch and hold gesture near our hero will allow you to block incoming attacks in relation to where you are holding. Later on swiping is introduced for special attacks depending on the amount of energy built up on the power meter. Each stage features a healthy mixture of simple yet challenging beat-em-up fights and satisfying twitch segments which serve as navigation through the level, all of which are pulled off in over the top action movie inspired sequences. It’s a clever mechanic to keep the game flowing, delivering a fresh change of scenery and providing narrative to your current location in the city.

As the brutality commences between you and the many foes ahead, you will feel the wrath of their own unique elemental resistances and varied attack patterns requiring you to pay close attention to every move made and the insightful info located in the Bestiary. The Executive also features my favourite feeling of “Just one more go.” Which drives the determination to beat that tricky stage with a frog wearing a tuxedo jousting at you with a large sword into almost obsessive territory. After beating a considerably difficult stage it is both a sigh of relief mixed with the uncertainty of what’s coming next.

What Lies Beneath

A few stages into the game, any confidence in your power to kick monster butt will begin to fade away due to the number of hits you need to score for survival, the health bars underneath enemies will become a very useful tool to measure the strength of your upgraded attacks if you have them. The second layer to the game gets a warm welcome by delivering more with its intriguing levelling up system which resembles playing the stock markets. You can invest in your skills or sell them for cash at a reduced rate to put into another if you are struggling with a certain stage. Aside from your skills, you can invest into your own performance when laying down brutal attacks, performing stunts or finishing a stage quickly.

It’s not only seriously fun to play the game and earn money but to spend it as well, there is a strong presence of augmenting the game to your playstyle allowing you to cash in on your strengths such as quick reflexes or mastering defences. A shortage of money will be no issue if you invest your cash into the lucrative mining operations which earn money even when you have real life business to attend to, be strategic here as some require the big bucks to secure.

Timing is another strong mechanic in the game, each stage and the battles within them are blisteringly quick, lasting around ten seconds before you need to make a swift getaway even when faced with foes on either side of the screen, everything happens at once and providing you survive the stage, a grading system will display your finest moments and the amount of money made from your encounters.

The Verdict

The Executive is an absolute mind-bending masterpiece, the art style delivers a comforting throwback to the delightful age of retro brawling while throwing these ideas out of the box and turning them into a deep, thorough, and enjoyable pick up and play experience. After conquering the 30 stages it has to offer some may opt to hang up

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