Necromancer Rising in Review – Hmm… Diablo FPS on the iPhone?

One of the best things about the AppStore is the fact that it really gives tiny indie teams their chance at the gold. Ryan Mitchell, one of the ambitious bunch has set off to bring a new era of gameplay to the iDevice in Necromancer Rising – a reimagined version of the Diablo Hack’n’Slash concept but seen from a first person perspective. Feel free to discuss Necromancer rising in our forums.

Necromancer Rising is an original take on the Action/RPG genre which is ruled by Diablo on the PC and Dungeon Hunter on the iDevice. But instead of a top-down view you’re put in the shoes of your character for a more “hands-on” approach. At the same time it tries to keep all of the loot-hunting that made the Diablo-clones popular.

In the town you’ll immediately feel the familiar vibes – there’s a quest-issuing monk, a shop where you can buy and sell stuff and the portal hall with shortcuts to every 5th level. There’s also a store where you can buy stuff for cold hard real-live cash for those of you in to that kind of stuff. Personally I ignore them. The quests are the usual variety of kill x monsters or bring back item y. And as in the genre as a whole the storyline is nothing special: you’ve been resurrected to to get back at the baddies who dug up your wife.

The dungeon-crawling part of the game is what it’s all about however. You wander around the levels and kill monsters either using your melee weapons or spells/skills. One of the more remarkable things is the levels are actually randomly generated from a number of rooms connected by pathways. This in mind there is only a limited variety of rooms which makes for a lot of repetition. Regardless the experience is quite satisfying and downright creepy in some places.

The holy grail of any Action/RPG genre is a variety of skills and lots and lots of loot. Your character has some stats, though there’s no way to upgrade them directly. Rather you have to rely on item-boosts as well as various active and passive skills. The latter are split into tiers and do not offer any revelations. The amount of different items though is enormous. With 16 slots for equipment with multiple levels of quality and modifiers it’s a munchkins dream. On the downside the equipment information screens lacks a clear list of modifiers, hiding them within lines upon lines of descriptive text.

The visuals are smooth on the 3G and quite impressive for a one-person development team. Shure, they are monotonous but they work. The ambient sound perfectly succeeds in encompassing you in the dark and scary atmosphere of the game. In the background, moans and grunts of monsters chill the bone and do a good job of informing you which direction is scary.

The real bane of Necromancer Rising its interface. Movement problems have been fixed in the first update by adding the swipe-to-look in addition to the standard V-Stick for movement. I also like the fact that you can move the quickslots around the screen as you please. The inventory on the other hand tries to cram in  as much as possible leading to confusion and frustration. On getting a new piece of equipment you end up trying to drag it to all slots since it’s impossible to understand where it’s supposed to be from the look alone. The skills assignment is the illogical dragging of skill-points on the skill icons. And on and on and on.

Necromancer Rising offers an ambitious and  original reimagining of Diablo-style gameplay. It seems to have all of the components required for success but the lack of polish and the awful interface makes it an ultimate failure. Having said this the game has potential and if the developers pull back and reevaluate the interface, it may earn a rightful spot on many an RPG fan Springboard.

With this I declare Necromancer Rising officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Necromancer Rising Developer:
Reviewed Ver: 2.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.2
Price: $4.99 App Size: 130 MB
  • Original gameplay
  • Atmospheric visuals and sound
  • Lots and LOTS of loot
  • Broken inventory and skills interface
  • Repetitive maps
  • Difficult to interpret item descriptions


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.

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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