At a time when home computers had less memory than the average modern video card, “sprawling” CRPGs consisted of randomly generated dungeons rendered with standard characters from your typical keyboard. The challenge came from a combination of a myriad of commands to learn and the fact that once you died your save game was deleted – there were no second chances here. The leader of the pack at one time was Rogue, hence the modern label “rogue like game”. While I still enjoy some of the concepts behind the generic dungeon crawling, I never was good at remembering all the keystrokes. That’s where modern interpretations like Sword of Fargoal come in.
In actuality, I’m pretty sure the computer versions required a bit more intimate knowledge of the keyboard, but the iOS version has been trimmed down and adapted to the touch screen pretty nicely. Character creation is a simple matter of choosing your gender, rolling base points for health and skill, and selecting a difficulty level. For the neophyte rogue player there is a “squire” level that affords you unlimited lives. For the veteran there is Legend mode, which offers tougher monsters. For the purpose of the review I chose Hero mode, which keeps you to one life but is easier than Legend mode. So far I’ve really only run into a couple of battles where I had to retreat a time or two so I didn’t get mauled too badly.
Sword Of Fargoal employs randomly generated layouts for the dungeons, affording maximum replayablity. On the down side, that leaves out the general concept of quests. Each dungeon starts out clouded (“fog of war” for you strategy folks), and as you move around each area anything occupying that area gets revealed. The “smart” button in the top right corner of the screen allows you to interact with the world. Step over a staircase and it will say “up” or “down”. Walk over a treasure chest and the button will give you the chance to “open” or “close” it. When you step over a piece of equipment such as a sword or shield you can pick it up, replacing the equipment you’re currently using. There is no real inventory per se, so you can’t hold multiple pieces of equipment at once.
There are a variety of different creatures to contend with. In the early levels you’ll fight wolves, ogres, gargoyles and rangers, just to name a few. Interestingly enough, no rats or bats plague the first few levels, which is a nice change of pace. Combat is a pretty basic affair. You swipe towards a monster to initiate combat then wait until either the monster or you have succumbed to the other’s weapons. You can flee if you choose, and on rare occasions the bad guy will as well. I do wish you could just click on a monster instead of swiping towards it, but I’ve gotten used to the swiping.
The graphics in Sword Of Fargoal are quite appealing. The critters are well rendered, but the more I play the game the more I feel like the artist must have been a fan of the Super Hero Squad line of action figures (Google if you don’t know what I’m talking about). My favorite object so far is the treasure chest with the skeleton in it. Sadly, what should be kind of morbid is actually rather amusing given the overall feel to the images.
The sound effects are almost too comical in some cases. Combat noises in particular feel like they were lifted from an old Tom and Jerry cartoon. It’s not that the sound effects are bad or anything, mind you, I just don’t really care for them. On the other hand, I love the music. The trouble is that it’s actually a bit dark and ominous at times, kind of contradicting the rest of the atmosphere. Still, the music sounds good, so who cares if it seems a bit out of place?
If you need NPCs and quests and deep combat in your RPGs, Sword Of Fargoal is definitely not for you. However, if you’re looking for a simple dungeon crawler to pass the time every once in a while, definitely give this one a shot. It might even be appealing to the casual gamer that has never crossed over into the realm of role playing before. So far I’ve had a blast with it, and I can’t wait to actually reach the sword.
|Title:||Sword of Fargoal||Developer:||Fargoal, LLC|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.7||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||58.2 MB|