Since the App Store opened its virtual doors, we've seen a lot of "micro" versions of larger genres, including platformers and RPGs. The iPhone lends itself to smaller, quicker experiences, and so a lot of developers have boiled down some very large game styles into much smaller forms. Slayin is essentially a very boiled-down fantasy role-playing game, and it's probably one of the most charming games of this type I've ever seen.
The idea is ingenious. You play as a hero who constantly moving back and forth across the screen, facing endless waves of enemies and bosses. There's just one rule: Anything that touches your outstretched sword gets hurt, and anything that touches you hurts you. There are buttons to switch your direction and jump, and that's it. It's up to you to avoid enemies when you can.
It's incredibly fun to just cut a swath through the first few waves of blobs, murdering them for gold and XP as you go, but later enemies and bosses get tougher, requiring precise timing and dextrous moves.
Fortunately, this is also a full-fledged RPG, in that you level up as you earn XP, and there are occasional pop-up shops that let you buy items and recharge your health. The graphics on this one are simple, but so darn cute, and there's a surprising amount of depth in which weapon you choose to hold out in front of you. There are also missions to beat each playthrough and extra classes to unlock, so there's quite a bit to do here despite the game's simple premise.
Slayin is an absolute charm -- I opened it up not knowing what to expect, and it won me over almost immediately. It's available on the App Store this week for just US$0.99.