Companions in Review – All for one and one for all!

When the iPad first arrived on the scene many called it “just a big iPod Touch”. To which others often replied “Well, yeah!” Indeed even if in principal it IS just a big iPod Touch, the real estate of 9.7 inches is much much more comfortable to play with than that of the iPhone’s 3.5″. And it makes such games as Companions – a real-time tactical strategy/RPG game – possible.

Thinking about the genre of Companions, the best I could come up with was: real-time tactical strategy/action/RPG. Fairy-tale creatures have been sighted across the land of Altland while people have been disappearing, never to be seen again. A mysterious chain of events has united four unlikely comrades in a struggle against an ancient evil. Each fueled by a motive of his own the heroes form a shaky alliance to overcome the dark god Detexx. But not all of the motives are pure…

Taking charge of the four heroes you’ll have to explore the dungeons of Mentzel and fight against hordes of enemies. True to the action/RPG each of your protagonists has a unique set of skills to help you in your epic struggle, from unleashing the power of fire to building defensive structures. The basic idea is simple – get to the end of the level with all of your companions alive and kicking. Of course you’ll have to make careful use of the abilities, equipment and powerups to do so and decimate all resistance.

As noted, each hero has a unique set of 3 skills that are upgradable as they gain experience. The four factions are Minotaur – the general tank, the elf – a ranged attack character, the mage – mass murder and healing and the dwarf – an engineer, capable of building static defence structures and decent in melee as well. What I haven’t yet said is that each hero can be chosen from one of 3 classes of his faction for extra replayability and customization. Also, each has an extensive inventory with a few equippable slots as well as quick-use ones for the one-off items to appease the roleplayer in you. Overall the skills and items are rather well balanced, though I did feel the leveling was a bit slow (after about 4 hours in I only was able to level once).

Companions offers a top-down view on the situation presented in colourful and stylish graphics. You control your heroes individually to make full use of their abilities or as a group to ease movement across cleared areas.  If you feel overcrowded and need time to think, there is a pause button to help you take a breath, though for a limited time. Overall the controls work reasonably well, especially after the last update. Still, you’re bound to find yourself struggling to pay attention to all four of the heroes and more than once I wished the game was completely turn-based.

Companions offers a unique blend of several popular concepts perfectly presented on the big screen of an iPad. While some may long for the calmness of turn-based tactical strategy/RPGs, most will find the more action oriented approach of Companions a refreshing step away from the dogmas of the genre. And regardless of your stance I advise you not to judge in advance and try out the game for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

With this I declare Companions officially touched!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Companions Developer: smuttlewerk interactive
Reviewed Ver: 1.20 Min OS Req: 4.2
Price: $6.99 App Size: 59.34MB
  • Original concept perfectly implemented
  • Nice graphics
  • Polished controls
  • Unique heroes with a lot customization
  • An alternative turn-based mode would be a plus
  • Leveling could be a bit faster


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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