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Portabliss: Siege Hero (iOS)

Justin McElroy

Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Siege Hero!

Some of the most important video games have the power to, through their mechanics, illuminate something specific about the human condition. Siege Hero for iOS is just such a game. For this little diversion hangs its hat on a very primal pleasure, perhaps as old as man himself -- the eternal, unreproducible thrill of knocking down some shit that another dude made.

In early 2010, I profiled a game called Crush the Castle, where players used a catapult to launch massive rocks across a screen laying siege to enemy structures. Siege Hero is its spiritual successor, only it has eschewed the two-dimensional, Angry Birds-esque perspective for first person boulder hurling.

Just tap the exact spot on the screen you want the boulder to fly, watch as wood and stone splinter and then wait breathless as you pray you took out the keystone that's going to reduce the place to rubble.

Though physics still play a big part in how and why the castles fall, the first-person shift brings with it a precision that makes Siege Hero feel more like a puzzle game, like a slightly more mean-spirited Boom Blox. When levels begin to task you with finding the exact spot to toss a boulder that will not only bring down the structure but preserve certain people inside, the destructive thrill becomes decidedly cerebral. It's like watching Ozzy Osbourne do a sudoku, only, you know, not depressing.

Gallery: Siege Hero (iOS) | 5 Photos

Siege Hero is available from the iOS App Store for .99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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