Jousting gets adorable in the new action game from Armor Games and Antony Lavelle, The Lance. Chronicling one family's quest to be the best like no one ever was, you begin the game as the first generation in a line of knights who want to take top place in the king's bi-decadely Joustournament and win the coveted... "The Lance". Standing in your way are more knights with equally lofty aspirations, and the king's own Champion. Will you rise through the ranks to taste the sweet fruit of victory?! Well... probably eventually... but first you'll have to get knocked around a whole bunch.
Gameplay consists of doing your best to pulverise each opponent in a series of matches; victory comes when you manage to knock another knight off his erstwhile steed. At the start of each match, you'll have to click as fast as you can on the big "click" icon to build of speed. When you get close enough, however, you'll have a few seconds to aim your attack; a diagram of your opponent's body appears on the left side of the screen, and you use the cursor to point where you want to try to hit. Do enough damage and you'll send your foe flying, but if nobody is de-horsed, you'll go another round. Win, and you'll net experience points to help level up, and the almighty dollar you can spend between matches and rounds on new, more powerful equipment. Even if a match ends poorly for you, don't worry; you can still continue the game as a descendant of your knightly loins until you ultimately take the prize.
Chances are if you own an iOS device and you've played Infinity Blade, you're going to notice some conceptual similarities, mostly relating to the whole bloodline thing. The Lance actually has a lot going for it; it's beautifully designed with great art by the wonderful Jimp, a snap to play, and moves along at a fast clip. The problem is that at its core, The Lance needs what may feel like an unfair amount of grinding to succeed at the ultimate goal of defeating the Champion who is far too powerful to defeat the first time you encounter him. It's disappointing because it winds up feeling like it comes down to numbers rather than any skill on your part, and players who aren't upgrade fiends might be put off by having to replay relatively easy matches over and over until your equipment is up to par... at which point you might need to upgrade your fingers from all the clicking. Still, if you don't mind the grind, The Lance is an adorable, quick bite of action that's just the ticket for a lazy afternoon... Alan Tudyk, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser and Mark Addy not included.