Backstab puts you in the unenviable shoes of Henry Blake, once an officer in the Royal Navy, now a broken man with nothing left to live for… Except a spot of vengeance, of course… Fresh from incarceration, Henry sets out on something of a killing spree. Your job is to mitigate his blood lust and ensure that he spends his time a little more constructively than beheading noblemen, garroting ladies of the night, and stabbing soldiers through the neck – enjoyable as that may be.
You control Henry with an on-screen joypad and action buttons and while you’re moving henry with your left hand, you can pan the camera around with your right to pick out tricky to see details. Mr Blake is a resourceful, not to mention athletic chap, leaping between tall buildings isn’t an issue, neither is diving from a roof or two, although there are limits: Henry can be killed by falling too far.
During the game you’ll be given a number of missions to complete. You can get on with them or you can delay the inevitable a little by smiting as many pesky soldiers as you can lay a sword on, which also has the happy side effect of earning gold coins which can be spent on potions to heal you and weaponry to more effectively slice up the bad guys (and possibly some good guys while you’re at it).
Missions range from offing some fellas of dubious repute to destroying a fleet of ships, to blowing up caves and everything in between. Backstab isn’t a game that’s been cobbled together with a half-baked storyline – it all holds up. As action RPGs go, it’s got it all, putting us in mind of the first Assassin’s Creed with its sublime mix of stealth and combo-combat.
Backstab might not be the cheapest game in the Android Market, but it’s one of the most complete we’ve seen. Your £4.37 buys you a big bag of playing time that’ll have you hooked from the word go.
The Bottom Line
Vast, sprawling arcade RPG that’s got us all impressed. Very impressed.
Version reviewed 1.2.2
Requires Android 2.0 or higher