Across Age in Review – It’s time to go Back to the FUTURE!

The amount of anime-style RPG games already on the AppStore (as well as those on their way) is simply startling. Among the scores of such titles, gems are rare and it is getting increasingly more difficult to get noticed. FDG Entertainment however thinks they have the key – cooperation and time-travelling. Is it enough to put Across Age ™ apart from the crowd? Let’s find out!

Across Age is deemed an Action/RPG, though I would call it an Action/Puzzler with some light elements of RPG. It follows the story of an Evil Count gaining control of the fabled Water Clock and wreaking havoc on the land. It’s up to a young knight Ales and an inexperienced but powerful mage Ceska to reunite the clocks of Past, Present and Future and stop the Villainous Count.

The gameplay of Across Age is split in 2 aspects – puzzle solving and fighting. Let’s start with the latter – fighting is done in quite an original way in Across Age, or at least the melee part of it. You quite literally just have to run into the enemy. And that’s it. To have any hope of surviving, try ramming into the enemy diagonally – that way it can’t retaliate. The ranged part is the usual – choose a skill (3 for the swordsman and 5 for the mage) and push the big action button to fire in the direction you’re facing. Once you get some advanced skills you can also try charging them up first, but frankly, I didn’t see much difference in damage. In other words, to say that the combat system in Across Age is watered down would be an understatement.

The puzzle-solving, on the other hand, is marvelous. You are in control of 2 characters and not only can you switch between the leader but you’re also able to go solo and move them individually. To make it even more fun you can hoist Ceska on the shoulders of Ares and then throw her to reach a platform or spot, not accessible on plain feet. But wait – there’s more! Apart from the common puzzles involving sokoban like moving blocks, boxes and other stuff (a raft that travels in a straight line until it hits something), there are plenty of puzzles involving the timely use of Ceska’s skills. You burn through doors, freeze ponds to walk on them and for the grand finale – travel through time!

Yes, the most advertised feature of Across Age actually is used quite cleverly. Using special Warp Areas, Ceska can go back in time to access additional locations and even influence the present areas (like going back in time to burn through vines before they solidify into stone). A fun twist is that using special Rebirthing Stones and a special pool in town, you can place a sword in said pool and go back in time to retrieve it as a brand new weapon, with enhanced attack attributes. And doing it vice-versa can lead to totally unpredictable results.

Speaking of items – the RPG part of Across Age is quite light. Characters gain levels with astounding speed, raising their attack, defense, HP and MP. Yes, that is it for stats. Skills are gained automatically as you progress through the storyline and the items give more or less the standard bonuses. As I said – this is not a hardcore RPG.

The graphics and music in Across Age are very retro, a real throwback to the SNES days. Yes, say hello to MIDI music. Some may like it, some may not (like me) but the devs actually advertise it as a feature, so it’s hard for me to scorn them for it. The more depressing part is the interface. Or more specifically – the D-Pad. It is horribly imprecise and difficult to use, which makes combat very VERY frustrating. And be prepared to fall down pits a lot. Thankfully the game resets you to the start of the map on death with no penalties, but still.

Across Age is an excellent attempt to give an old genre a new spin. The time-travelling, the clever use of skills and individual control mechanics of the characters make puzzle solving very fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately the frustratingly difficult combat along with the imprecise controls and watered down RPG elements take a large chunk out of that enjoyment. But in any case, Across Age is quite an interesting experiment and will definitely be worthy of adding to your collection if the devs fix the controls.

With this I declare Across Age officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Across Age ™Developer: FDG Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$6.99App Size:98.4 MB
  • Time-travel!
  • Excellent puzzles with clever use of skills, time-travel, etc.
  • Individual controls for characters
  • Frustrating combat
  • Imprecise controls
  • Watered down RPG element

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