23/08/2012 17:27 | By Stuart Dredge, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Horn: app review

A gaming treat for hardcore iOS gamers looking for the next Infinity Blade.

Horn (© Phosphor Games Studio)

What is it?
Only the most buzzed-about iOS game of the year so far. Horn is an immersive adventure with spectacular graphics, and a chance to roam its fantasy world.

Coolest feature
Those graphics. Horn might just be the best-looking smartphone or tablet game yet, with console-quality visuals to show off your device.

iPhone/iPad - £4.99

Games publisher Zynga is most associated with accessible social games like FarmVille, CityVille and Words With Friends, rather than hardcore adventure gaming. Yet it's the publisher of Horn, a new game sitting squarely in the latter category.

Developed by indie firm Phosphor Games Studio and snapped up by Zynga for publishing, Horn's closest comparison on the App Store is the Infinity Blade games, in terms of scope and graphical richness. It looks beautiful, and has bags of depth.

Horn is a third-person adventure that sees you playing a blacksmith's apprentice called, yes, Horn. Heaven knows what his parents were thinking. Your job is to battle enemies across the game's fantasy-themed world in order to free your fellow villagers from a curse that has turned them into monsters.

This being an action-adventure, that means plenty of sword-fighting and crossbow-shooting, as well as a fair amount of simple puzzle-solving.

The graphics really do show off your iPhone - and especially your iPad - with big, beefy enemies, sumptuous backgrounds and smooth animation. That's where the comparisons to Infinity Blade arise, especially with the battles that pit you against massive enemies.

The key difference is that Horn gives you a bit more freedom to explore - both in the world itself, and within battles, where you can dance around enemies rather than simply dodging and blocking.

It's not completely free-roaming as a game, but if you felt the Infinity Blade games were a bit too much on-rails, Horn will appeal. The puzzle-solving element also adds some variety, even if they don't seem hugely taxing.

The point-and-touch controls can occasionally frustrate, but not enough to dampen the thrills provided by the game. Horn is one of the best examples so far of console-style graphics deployed in a game that plays well on mobile devices.

5 stars