‘Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame’ Review

Platform: iOS, Android

Genre: Platformer

Developer: Ubisoft Pune

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform Reviewed On: iPhone 5

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a new title starring the platforming Prince.

With no official news on a new game, perhaps the entry is set to release for the next-gen consoles? It’s certainly a strong possibility considering the popularity of The Sand of Time series and the yearning for a new adventure from the ocean of sand.

Until then, Ubisoft Pune has released the mobile title Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame (Shadow and Flame), a remake of the second game in the franchise, which was originally released for the Apple II.

Shadow and Flame takes place after the events of the first game. When the Prince enters his court one day, he is seen as a peasant for unknown reasons. Moments later, it’s revealed Jaffar, who was thought to have been defeated, has cast a spell to make the Prince appear as a peasant and Jaffar as the Prince. As the palace guards chase the Prince out of the city, he escapes on a merchant ship only for it to undertake a ravaging storm that brings him to a cave filled with skeleton foes and deadly traps at every corner. From there, the Prince embarks on a journey to return to the city, defeat Jaffar and rescue the Princess from her deep sleep.

Akin to the platforming Mario games, the older Prince of Persia titles do not have much emphasis on story, but rather platforming gameplay with a dash of sword combat and puzzle elements.

As a mobile title, players are presented with two controller options: gesture-based controls and the classic virtual joystick. Let me save you the trouble by telling you to switch to classic now. The gesture controls are a neat idea, but Shadow and Flame shows why they’re not seen often – if at all – in the mobile platforming field. Trying to climb up or jump across gaps and performing a specific combo in combat simply didn’t work when I wanted it to for a majority of the time. Classic is not only easier because the controls are on the screen, but they’re more responsive by a wide margin.

It doesn’t make much of a difference with the combat though. Using three different combos, the only way you can dole any serious damage to enemies is to stand there, wait for them to attack, guard against them at the right time and perform the combo of your choice. Multiply by this by over 100 times, and it dumbs-down the gameplay. At least there are stealth options from time to time to spare you from facing opponents.

Fortunately, the larger portion of the game involves the series’  traditional platforming mechanics. Although I had to get the hang of it at first, the gameplay – with the classic controls of course – works well for a mobile platformer. Spiked walls charging for your spongy body and floors collapsing will keep you on your toes (literally) and make for some fun segements.

There isn’t much platforming to bask in though because the story clocks in at an hour and a half completion time. Expanding upon the replay of the story are medals for individual levels, 30 in-game achievements and upgrades from the shop. I was able to acquire most of the achievements on my first playthrough, but some of the higher-up achievements will require serious dedication. Dedication could mean one of two things, however. First; you spend a ridiculous amount of real money to get upgrades for the game. Second; you play through the entire game several times and collect coins from fighting enemies and discovering treasure chests. With the dull combat, it’s simply not worth it.

The medals, on the other hand, are more entertaining to rack up because a part of it encourages you to explore every inch of each level. It’s also made accessible since you can skim the area with the level map. The other medals have you completing the levels within a specified time limit and finding the permanent health increase upgrade.

Although there was only one occurrence where the game crashed, Shadow and Flame runs smoothly, looks great aesthetically and has minimum load times. The lighting from the undying flames from lit torches and sunshine beaming through from outside the caves revealing dust particles and textures add some extra eye candy while exploring the caves.

Shadow and Flame is not a perfect game nor is it the definitive mobile platforming title the gaming prophets have foretold, but for $2.99, it’s an enjoyable play. The platforming is fun when using classic controls, it looks pretty and the medals are enjoyable to get. Unfortunately, the overall fun factor is lowered with shallow combat, an astoundingly short story and items where you almost feel forced to spend real money to buy them because the boring combat gives little motivation to farm gold. Shadow and Flame is not the fresh experience fans of the series are aspiring for, but if you ever wanted to play the second game in the franchise and don’t feel like spending money on an Apple II, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame is an adequate mobile title.


  • Fun platforming
  • Encourages exploring with medals
  • Visually pretty for mobile title


  • Tedious combat
  • Extremely short story
  • Forceful real-life purchases

Score: 7.0/10