Illusia in Review – Does Casual Mean Oversimplified?

Action RPGs are a tricky lot to get right.  You have to have the perfect balance between RPG and action in order to appease both types of players.  On top of that you have to be careful to avoid a common feature that plagues both style of game: repetitiveness.  Forcing the genre into a side scrolling perspective adds additional burden, because you all but lose one facet of the RPG side, which is puzzle solving.  Unfortunately, ILLUSIA tends to weigh more heavily on the action side of things, and quite frankly that action is starting to get rather boring.  I’ve put at least 3-4 hours into the game, it feels like I’ve been playing for days, and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much.

You can select to play as either a fighter or mage, and your overall quest is to train yourself so that you can find out what evils a certain mystical tower holds.  A fighter is better for close combat while a mage focuses on ranged attacks, but I don’t really have the desire to delve deeper into playing both character types to find out how extreme the differences are.  I chose a fighter, and as would be expected my weapon choices revolve around bladed weapons while the skills I can acquire focus on enhancing melee damage.

So if I am interpreting the screens correctly, I’ve actually put a little over 11 hours into the game and I’ve only completed 2% of it.  If that’s true, this is way too long for a mobile game.  All of my quests to this point have been “gather X of something” or “kill Y amount of monsters”, and I haven’t even completed my training test yet.  11 hours feels like an extreme amount of time for “training”.

The structure of the game is basically “get a quest, wander the forest until you complete the quest then head back to town to collect your reward”.  You have a virtual d-pad which lets you move left and right, lets you jump by pressing up (twice for a double jump), and perform some actions by pressing down.  There is also a separate jump button and a button for attacking and doing things like talking to people.  Combat is basically a matter of button mashing, though there are skills you can build up which can be used by assigning them to quick slots.  You have 8 slots in all, and you can also equip things like healing potions in these slots.

So far I’ve encountered three types of monsters: gorillas, raccoons and kangaroos.  Everything is a variant of these types.  For instance, you start off fighting creatures simply called “raccoons”, and once you get to the advanced version they are called “angry raccoons”.  At first I thought this might be a nice change of pace from other games of this style, but honestly the creatures are amusing for maybe the first couple of minutes that you encounter one.  Then you realize that looks aside, a monkey and a kangaroo are no different.  They simply wander back and forth, and when they are close enough to you they hit you.

The graphics are certainly the highlight of the game.  In keeping with the “casual” spirit of the game everything is very bright and colorful.  During dialogs the characters have an almost anime quality about them, and the creature designs are decent and cute.  Sadly, aside from maybe a color change on some part of a creature, there is no visible difference between different levels of the same creature type.  The backgrounds are lush a detailed, and I love the frog that you see every once in a while.

The sound is pretty average for an action RPG.  I’m beginning to think that there’s a stock library of sound effects somewhere, because the noises in Illusia don’t sound any different than the last several action RPGs I played.  The music is also pretty dull.  It’s not that it’s bad, but it’s kind of akin to elevator music: you’ve heard it a hundred times before and I would prefer something just a little different.

The net result is that Illusia is just a mediocre game.  It’s not terrible, but it does nothing new for the genre, and it really tends to drag after a while.  That’s too bad, because with a pedigree that includes the likes of ZENONIA and HYBRID: Eternal Whisper, I expected a bit more.  I think it’s a bit too casual for the average action RPG gamer, and even casual gamers will find the level grinding a bit frustrating after a while.

Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: ILLUSIA Developer: GAMEVIL Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.4 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: Size: 10.6 MB
  • Plenty of play time
  • Excellent graphics
  • Easy to pick up
  • Gets repetitive quickly
  • Sound too dull
  • Basics take a long time to complete


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