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Review: Nun Attack

Posted by on April 4th, 2013 | 9 Comments | Tags: ,

Nun Attack sort of fell into my lap one week when we were granted a bunch of codes for a giveaway. To be honest, I had never heard of it before I took it on for review. After many hours and a 100% trophy completion, I’m glad I got a chance to play it. When I was playing the game at PAX, Graham from Drinkbox studios mentioned that it reminded him of an iOS game by the name of Battle Hearts. I looked up a few videos of Battle Hearts and yes, Nun Attack looks like it plays similarly to it. For those of us not so iEducated, Nun Attack is an action strategy game that only uses touch controls.

An evil nun, Mortanna, has gone rogue, inviting baddies into our realm of existence. Four holy nuns – Eva, Rosy, Olga, and Mandy – are on a mission to cast her minions back to where they came from and take down Mortanna once and for all. I’m not going to try to explain why the nuns are wielding guns and shooting things. Perhaps the blood of Christ was dosed last time they took communion, or perhaps the nuns studied their tape of NWA to resolve things in a bloodier way. For all intents and purposes, let’s suspend our collective disbelief and get past any offense we may take from a game about gun-toting nuns. It is, after all, just a video game, right? Right.

You begin Nun Attack playing as one nun, Eva. Eva carries two pistols, does decent damage, and has decent health. She is by all means your average character. You quickly learn that the game is broken up into four different maps. Each map contains ten missions and its own set of enemies. When you tap a mission, the game gives you a bird’s-eye view of a path with the nun(s) standing at one point. By touching the nun(s) (tee-hee) and dragging a line across the Vita’s screen, you move! Each path contains a portal that resembles the eye of Sauron and a handful of banners. The banners are sometimes optional to conquer, but the main objective of each mission is to get to the portal and dispatch all enemies within. Moving your nuns onto a banner or portal initiates the battle section of the game.

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Warning: Playthrough Preview may contain spoilers.

In battle, the controls are almost exactly the same. When an enemy pops up, you set your nun to attack it by pressing her and dragging a line to connect them. Enemies drop gold when they explode, which can be collected by tapping the shiny mound left behind. In a short while and a few missions, you roundup the rest of your crew. Combat soon becomes frantic, with a lot of swiping and tapping going on for the entirety of battles. The game controls well during battles. Unless the nuns were stacked on top of each other, I didn’t have any problems moving them around or setting them to attack different enemies. There’s a decent variety of enemy types that attack in different ways. Some simple enemies, like the basic skeletons, run toward you till they drop. Others, like the ice-headed skellies, slow movement with their gun shots. Other still, like the slime-looking demons, explode on impact and either freeze, poison, or severely damage an area. Each tenth level features a boss with its own bag of tricky attacks.

From the game’s HQ, you can check out the nuns’ stats including their earned experience points, their health points, and their special abilities. Each nun has a special ability to aid her in battle. Eva can create a dummy nun that draws attacks from enemies for a short while; Rosy becomes a ghost that is untargetable; Olga taunts all nearby enemies to attack her; and Mandy exudes a healing aura for a limited time. The HQ is also useful in scoping out the miracles and guns you’ve unlocked by playing the game. Chests that hold miracles and guns are placed around different paths. Ten miracles can be used by tapping the Bible icon in battle and tracing a certain shape (for example, swiping down then across the screen in a cross-like motion heals all nuns). There are five unlockable guns per nun that can be upgraded four times each. So when the trailer says there are 80 guns, that’s what it means. Still, the twenty different base guns come with different passive abilities and change color/shape when upgraded. For example, the Terrificator scares enemies, which means that it has a chance upon hitting an enemy to send it running in the opposite direction.

Nun Attack is a lot of fun for the most part. The path sections of the game are peppered with skull-propelling portals that are usually interesting to get rid of. The skull-tossing portals are off of the path and can only be destroyed by redirecting other skulls at them or blowing some up in their proximity. Some of the portals, like the disappearing-skull one and the tap-to-destroy green one, are a royal pain to destroy if there aren’t any others on the same screen. A few factors hold the game back from being excellent. For one, besides for the boss battles, the difficulty level tops out at being relatively easy once you get all four nuns together. The battles are still frantic, but I can’t remember losing a mission after all four of my nuns were on the field at once. There’s no path-finding during the path portions of the game, so you’ll be making a lot of awkward turns around corners. Missions are graded on a three bullet scale, but I stopped gunning for perfection about halfway through the game. There also isn’t much by way of replay value once you’ve smote Mortanna.

For the price of $2.99, I’m not sure you can go wrong with Nun Attack. It’s one of the few games on the Vita that succeeds in having action-packed gameplay with touch controls. It looks great, with fluid animations of cartoonish drawings. It also sounds great, offering jazzy tunes and effects reminiscent of old school groovy flicks. It’s a righteous game, through and through.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.

General Info

  • Players:
  • Ratings:
  • Relatively easy, slightly repetitive
  • No path-finding

  • Chris

    I might check this one out after I finish up guacamelee

    • KosmoCrisis

      I half wanted to down vote that.

      When I read the “(tee hee)” part I said, “oh god.”

    • Eric G

      couldn’t help it. touch controls are rife with punning opportunities.

  • boingball

    No plans for this to be published in Europe? Another SCEE f#?$-up?

    • KosmoCrisis

      It’s coming…stay tuned.

  • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

    The only issues I have with the game is when your nuns are bunched up together. Trying to grab the right one is cumbersome.

    Which was an early issue patched out of Battle Heart on iOS (Android support is non-existent, so it’s still a problem in that version). They just made character portraits alternate selection methods.

    I think this is more important in Nun Attack, considering how to heal you need to be in the AoE. In Battle Heart it’s just healing the entire field with moves, but the healer trying to heal a certain character is pretty tough without it as well.

    The other issue was some of the towers. When you only had the option to tap the skulls to blow it up on themselves was hard. When possible, I’d just take myself as close as possible and take the hit to kill it to get 3 gold bullets on every stage. xP

    Other than that, I love games like this. Nun Attack was no different. Really made me wish Battle Heart was on Vita. Nun Attack had enough different about it, and a neat story to go along with it, so it didn’t feel like some cheap knock-off but it’s own game in a genre. (not sure what you’d call the genre though!

    The broken near feature was a bummer, and leveling to max level. You would have issues with health being displayed and experience bar not going away until the mission you’re on was over, but they didn’t bother me.

    • Eric G

      Agreed.

  • MonsieurEek

    So, Soulblazer; El Shaddai; Actraiser; Nun Attack. What other games are in the Mission From God genre?

    • Eric G

      was FF7? i forget if Cait Sith pretended to be God or something crazy like that. it’s been a while. also there are a bunch of Bible games, i think those count lol.