Preview of Rimelands: Hammer of Thor – Rogue is going steampunk!

I got interested in Rimelands back in early 2010 when I came across the first batch of screenshots and some basic information on the game. It got me so interested that I contacted Arto and Peter from Dicework Games for an exclusive interview about their project. And now, barely half-a-year later, Rimelands is in its final stages of beta-testing and scheduled to be submitted to Apple for review in a couple of weeks. What’s even better – I can give you a sneak peek of what’s in store!

Even though the game is still in beta the background story is already almost completely in place. The general population of Earth screwed up and ushered in a new ice-age. People were forced to retreat into deep vaults to survive. But then steam was discovered – and I’m not talking about the one from boiling water. This steam emanated from the bowels of the planet itself and had unique properties, allowing mankind to reach out and start reclaiming the ice-covered surface. But they were greeted with the new masters of the planet – the Fae-folk, magical creatures that have amazing powers. After a long and bloody war a peace treaty was signed, albeit a very unstable one. A new force has found its way into the world and now the survival of both races depends on the actions of a young treasure hunter.

Rimelands is an RPG in the traditions of Rogue. The game is completely turn-based, though out of combat you’ll rarely notice it. Each turn every unit can make one action, be it a use of a skill, attack or move a square. An interesting feature is the combat system itself. When an attack is made or an offensive skill is used both parties roll dice according to their stats. The die result may be a hit, a double-hit, a block or a miss. Then the rolls are tallied and compared and depending on the amount of hits of the attacker and the block dice of the defender it is decided whether a hit is scored.

But what is an RPG without character customization. And here Rimelands has enough to sacrifice even the most die-hard gamer. On a level-up you can choose what path you want to upgrade. There are 3 possible ones – barbarian, assassin and shaman – specializing in melee, ranged or magic attacks respectively. On an upgrade you may receive a skill point, an additional die or a boost to one of the characteristics. The skill trees provide ample opportunity for various styles of play with a mix of active and passive skills for all professions, as well as more offensive or defensive talents.

Another pillar of RPGness is, of course, the inventory. Chests are scattered all over the dungeons with loot to make any munchkin’s mouth water. The items themselves aren’t random, but the assortment covers both pure and hybrid builds with artifacts from the common white stuff to the extremely rare and powerful purple equipment. These items come in four categories with only one of each possible to have equipped at every single moment – melee weapon (also covers magic staffs), ranged, armour and accessory.

On the visual side Rimelands is simply gorgeous. Despite being built on the infamous Unity engine the graphics quality rivals that of Dungeon Hunter. The performance is a bit flaky on the iPhone 3G on some levels, but you can always turn off the high-end weather and lighting effects to provide for comfortable play. Lastly – Rimelands is one of the rare games, targeted for high replayability with about two thirds of the dungeons being randomly generated on each play and varied skills that easily make it worth going through at least 3 times to try out the different builds and aspects.

There are still a few weeks left for the developers to put in some additional polish on the already amazing title. But I can tell you what we have shaping up here will definitely give even the titles from the big developers a run for their money. Rimelands throws in the pot an excellent storyline and setting, great graphics, a deep and varied RPG system and superb replayability to serve the iDevice gamers one of the best RPG games on the platform.

With this I declare Rimelands: Hammer of Thor officially pretouched!

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