SEED 1 – RISE OF DARKNESS in Review – the new king of Action/RPGs?

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Christmas is coming to the AppStore and a lot of publishers are going all-out to win over the hearts of gamers this holiday season. Chillingo have just released Seed 1– the competitor to Com2uS’ excellent Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone. And like its recent rival, it reaches high – to wrest the action/RPG crown into its own hands.

SEED 1 is a classic Action/RPG replete with all of that genre’s quirks. It follows the adventures of a young wannabe hero who is thrust into the middle of a Sherlock Holmes-like story. There, shady figures set out to start a war between the neighbouring cities of Ghenno and Moizer and it is up to you to find out the truth. And, along the way, you will earn the love of Ghenno’s voluptuous queen, Gina.

Seed has no classes. Rather, you switch between the 4 professions (Knight, Lancer, Gunner or Wizard) ad hoc. Each of the professions has a set of 6 unlockable skills with a number of buffer skills available. What’s even more interesting is the attack modes work differently as well. The knight has quick attacks with 3 hit combos, the lancer has the same, but attacks are slower, but strike with greater range. The gunner has the longest ranged attack, but it is slow. And finally, the mage has a medium attack range which not only fires faster, but can pass over obstacles.

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Character development is typical fare: general stats which can be upgraded by 3 points every levelup. Each 5 levels you get a skill point to up buff skills. New buff skills are unlocked every 10 level ups. To upgrade profession-specific skills points are obtained just by using the weapon. So if you constantly fight with the Wizard profession, every so often you’ll get skill point to spend on Wizard skills. And the skills themselves must first be unlocked by completing special quests in the game.

The inventory system is quite expansive. Apart from the usual graded amount of loot, Seed is one of the first games to have equipment sets that give bonuses when the complete set is worn. All weapons and armour have their element assigned and each area is dominated by one of the elements which governs what penalties or bonuses you gain there. For real loot junkies, there is also a crafting system. You can create sockets in items, create crystals from a number of components and insert them into the sockets. You can refine the equipment to get higher stats as well. The biggest problem here is that you can only do this at the blacksmith and the process is slow and boring.

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The graphics in Seed are quite nice and remind me a lot (as the rest of the game) of Zenonia. Characters looks depends on the equipped items which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the interface is also similar which is not a good thing. The item screens are too cramped, it’s easy to get lost in the loot and hard to check out the currently equipped items to compare the stats. The in-game controls are not better. The D-Pad is very unresponsive and this is very frustrating. The quickslots are a pain to assign and are too small to use comfortably. And the minimap is simply horrible.

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The biggest problem in Seed is that it’s unbalanced. In any given area, the enemies can usually finish you off in a couple of strikes especially if you’re trying to buff the wizard profession. So get prepared to die – a lot. No wonder the developers put a quick-save button right on the top left corner of the game screen. Still with the loooong level loading times it’s a pain. Another questionable decision is including the SEED shop – the place where you can buy armour sets, ingredients and my biggest gripe – skill reset, stat reset, warp card and item auto-pickup. These are available from $0.99 to $1.99 for higher end sets. Also they are locked to your character, so if you fancy starting anew, you’ll have to purchase them again.

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Seed is a world in itself. The game features over 20-30 hours of gameplay with 20 towns, dozens of quests and hundreds of items. The storyline is very engaging and Gina is beautiful :) The ability to quick-switch your class adds a whole new dimension (or 4) to the experience and you can choose one to your own liking. The night-mode with special quests and tougher creatures to fight is also original find. Seed is definitely a must for any RPG fan, though more casual players will probably find the game to be frustratingly difficult and easily get lost in the clunky interface.

With this I declare SEED 1 – RISE OF DARKNESS officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:SEED 1 – RISE OF DARKNESSDeveloper:Chillingo Ltd / CH Games
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$2.99App Size:22.7 MB
  • Intriguing and well thought-out storyline
  • Deep character customization
  • Quick-switch profession
  • Well over 20 hours of gameplay
  • Long level loading times
  • Somewhat unbalanced
  • Frustrating inventory interface
  • Unresponsive D-Pad
  • Questionable in-app purchases

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TMA is a haven for RPG junkies – go ahead, we don’t hide the evidence. Also be sure to look at our App Store RPG compendium: The App Store’s Best RPG which compares some of the best games in the genre for the iDevice.

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