Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda. There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of game to non-Nintendo platforms. Some of them have succeeded to a limited degree, but Oceanhorn is one of the few to do so in both mechanics and spirit, and probably the only one for the iOS platform so far. Apparently you don’t need a tri-force for this type of game to be fun.
One of the best mash-ups conceived so far (at least in my opinion) is the idea of an RPG that uses a match 3 board for combat. Of course like any good thing there is almost an overabundance of them now, and there are just as many ones that make you go “blah” as ones that captivate you like Puzzle Quest. Fortunately, Puzzle Blade is one of those that fall on the side of captivating the player. The developer has managed to put a fresh spin on the concept and made sure that anyone short of a person suffering from A.D.D. should enjoy it, assuming you’re into the genre in the first place.
When I was in high school I spent a lot of time playing games like Bard’s Tale and Might & Magic (back when they were RPGs and not strategy games). After spending some time with QuestLord I remembered why I used to like these games so much. Sure 3D open ended worlds are nifty – I guess – and there’s no question that action / RPGs have their place in this fast paced mobile world. Still, there’s something to be said about old fashioned tile based world exploration, and it manages to engross me just about every time. QuestLord is no exception to that rule.
Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes. The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them. While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes. Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.
The concept of combining the RPG with match 3 mechanics seems to be pretty popular, though few entries come close to either Puzzle Quest for a more hardcore experience or Dungeon Raid for the casual folks. Still, many of the options at least offer a few things that make them worth giving a chace, and Dungeon Story is no exception. While there are no quests to speak of, it’s more persistent than Dungeon Raid in that you can build up your character between plays. It still provides a more casual experience than Puzzle Quest, however, because even if you get “stuck” in a dungeon all you have to remember between sessions is that when you come back there is another monster to fight.
Imagine how disappointed this Ultima idiot was to discover that Ultima V for iPad is nothing but a fan page – sort of. Its author links to various Ultima sundries: Ultima news, fonts, upcoming games, maps, and does it in the classic Ultima style, that promises something dark – something role playing – under the surface. Real Ultima fans still append Dragon to their name. The bloke who made Ultima V for iPad, for example, is Edric Dragon; I’m shigzeo Dragon. I’ve had that nickname for years. I’m sure it’s the same for Edric. What other game series can boast such nerdy fans? And honestly, my lead in is rubbish: I love Edric Dragon’s site. Bookmarked it.
Edric Dragon pointed out something I somehow missed: Exult for iOS. (Exult is a reverse-engineered Ultima 7 engine for modern operating systems. I’ve blogged about it before.) If there is ANYTHING I’m waiting for (apart from soul-pleasing employment), it’s Ultima 7 for iPad. Edric, as much as he is a fisherman, has rekindled hope.
As someone who spends quite a bit of time with the many forms of iOS, I see roughly as many Tower Defense games in a month as there are base foot soldiers in any given TD game. However, every so often one of them is good enough to break through my defenses and march straight into my good books. Such is the challenge facing Gimka Entertainment with their offering of Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia.
At first it sounded like the perfect marriage – dungeon crawling and classic point and click adventuring. That alone was enough to entice me into trying Dungeon of the Damned, never mind the cool “old but new” graphics and nostalgic interface. Unfortunately execution isn’t always as good as concept, and sadly what Dungeon Of The Damned has turned out to be for me so far is a boring traipse through a lifeless dungeon with no adventure game elements, little combat and frustrating puzzles. The lack of a map doesn’t help anything either.
I’ve never been a fan of the freemium model employed by so many games on the App Store these days, but ever since I’ve had my iPad I’ve been hooked on two of them. The first is Mystery Manor , which I reviewed just before Christmas, and the other is Appy Entertainment’s latest release, SpellCraft School of Magic. Like everything else in their portfolio it’s different from anything else they’ve done, and it’s also not quite like any other dungeon crawler I’ve played. In addition to the combat you actually have to grow your own ingredients to cook your own spells, and you can even get a pet to care for that will help protect you in exchange. This may be a dungeon crawler “lite” in some regards, but it offers enough to keep me coming back for more on a daily basis.
Slowly but surely, the App Store is being populated by all manner of Privateer-style games. We’ve already seen a superb space sim in Galaxy on Fire 2 (TMA Review), the original boardgame-like Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space (TMA Review), as well as a more adventure oriented experience in the amazing Warpgate (TMA Review). For fans of the latter, a new title recently hit the App Store that may well fill their spare time while waiting for a sequel – Galaxy Pirate Adventure. All aboard!