For those of you that smiled at the title of this review chances are you were either a fan of computer games in the mid to late 90’s, who logged a serious amount of hours with the RPG Diablo from Blizzard Entertainment or you shared a room with someone who did (Possibly going clinically insane in the process). I’m aware of a few individuals who had to replace their mouse on more than one occasion and know of one individual who had to drop an entire semester of classes in college due to the amount of time spent playing. So after seeing the first footage of Underworlds from developer Pixel Mine, Inc. creep onto the internet, I along with a number of gamers dared to ask, “Has Diablo come home to my iDevice.” Were we right? Read on to find out.
You begin by choosing between one of four warriors as your character, two males & two females. Next you will select from one of four levels of difficulty, Easy to Extreme. From there you’re dropped into the game with no option to load out your character. You’re given the basic level of equipment to work with armor, weapon, shield along with a necklace and bracelet. It is here you meet McTavish. He runs a traveling caravan that has been under your protection for some time now, but with the arrival to a new town, he’s no longer in need of your services. He informs you of Albrect, a nearby town that has recently suffered a mysterious attack. Giving you a point of contact when you get there he gives you a teleport charm and opens a portal that will have you arrive just outside of town. You’re able to use a teleport charm at anytime to return to him and sale your loot for gold and purchase new items. With that, you step into the portal and the adventure begins.
You’ll come across NPC’s as you progress through the game; each one supplies you with information and tasks to complete that progress the story along. You have two options when moving your character through the world, you can either tap the screen in the area you wish to go or place your finger over the vertical direction controller that can be placed on either the bottom left or right corner. I found the option of tapping the screen to be less receptive than the use of the vertical control. To walk up to a particular character I would dance around him with the first couple of taps before finally getting close enough to initiate a conversation. This along with the fact it’s just faster to get your character around using the vertical controller makes it the ideal way to move throughout the world. The vertical controller itself has issues, there are times it doesn’t react to your movement and you have to lift your thumb up and place it down to get going again. This is something you can adjust to and won’t ruin the experience over the long haul.
During combat you can tap the screen on the creature you wish to battle or press the action button when you are within reach. One tap=one swing, this is where the, “clickity click” comes into play. Any enemy you fight will require a number of swings to kill, so keep tapping your action button until your foe is dead. As you progress through the game you’ll have an opportunity to train in three special moves Slash, Shield Bash and Berserk. Using them will require the use of vitality potion that can be purchased from McTavish or picked up from fallen enemies. A symbol for each is placed on the screen; simply tap it to use it. A short period of time will be required for the ability to recharge before using again.
The games graphical look is perfect for the feel and time period the designers were going for. The graphics aren’t the best you’ll find on the App Store, but they weren’t intended to be. This is meant to give you the same feel of Diablo and for that; they’ve knocked it out of the park. There are multiple different creature designs in the game and each one is unique and specific in its detail. The locations each have a distinct look of their own from the exterior green grass and trees to the wooden look of the tavern and its basement to the charred ground and boiling lava of the underworld. The one area where the game drops the ball is your character itself. Regardless of what equipment or weapon and shield you are carrying, your character looks the same from beginning to end. When you go from your silver sword to a black one or from a silver shield to a purple one, you should be able to see that change on the screen.
The game doesn’t currently offer a musical score, but the developers have stated one has been submitted with the first update. I hadn’t notice the lack of one until having read about the update. You get great sounds out of everything in the game. The bashing of your sword against a creatures skull, the squealing of pain from a dying rat and the sounds of doors as you pass through them all go a long way to create just the right atmosphere for this type of dungeon crawl.
For fans of classic RPG’s this game is a joy to own. You get an opportunity to kill a number of different creatures, discover new weapons and equipment and get involved in a campaign that took me just over 3 ½ hours to complete on the normal difficulty setting, plus the option to go back and play it again at a higher difficulty. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I get the feeling there may be a sequel in our future. Of course, what RPG worth its salt wouldn’t offer such a potential future outcome (or developer)?
The game isn’t without its faults. The controls need to be tweaked for better sensitivity; the developers have said they submitted a fix for that to apple already. When your character picks up new equipment, you should be able to see the change. Outside of that there is very little to dislike about Underworlds.
This game will satisfy a significant number of RPG fans who don’t have enough of this type of experience on their device. If you’re looking for something that you can pick up for a few minutes at a time or spend a good while digging into, Underworlds is the game for you! My recommendation is that you (virtually) run to the App Store and pick this one up, you’ll be glad you did.
|Title:||Underworlds v1.0||Developer:||Pixel Mine, Inc.|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||47.3 MB|