Devoid of a console for most of my life, one of the franchises I never had the chance to truly dive into was the (pardon the pun) legendary Legend of Zelda. As one of the grandfathers of the Action RPG genre, it has always been renowned for the perfect blending of Action, Adventure, light puzzle-solving and even lighter RPG elements. Considering this classic series has still not graced the App Store, it’s not much of a surprise that Gameloft has attempted to fill the void by releasing Sacred Odyssey – Rise of Ayden, a title almost bursting with a certain Z-quality.
Whenever you hear the words Japanese and RPG in the same sentence, one franchise that immediately springs to mind is Final Fantasy. Probably the most well-known example of the console RPG genre, it has celebrated reincarnations on almost all platforms imaginable. On the iPhone however the release of the first 2 parts of the series was met with mixed feelings. While being a classic the original games are over 2 decades old in game design and don’t really pose special interest for the modern gamers, other than the most die-hard FF fans. And the not too well adapted controls didn’t help much either. But there still is hope with the recent launch of Final Fantasy III – a true remake of the game fully adapted to touch controls.
The world is sometimes a very strange place. Not long ago, I remarked in my review of Hunters: Episode One (TMA Review) that the App Store was suspiciously devoid of Tactical Strategy Games. And in the space of a few weeks I’m writing another review of such a game: Tactical Soldier – Undead Rising. Born out of a strange marriage of classic top-down party RPGs and Strategy Games, this unique genre for the true masters of tactical planning has long been a favourite of PC gamers around the world. Being excellently suited for iDevice portable gaming, I’m glad that it is gaining traction on the platform.
The Witcher is a very well-known (at least here in Russia) series of fantasy books that have only recently begun to enjoy world-wide fame thanks to the top notch Action RPG released on the PC a few years back. The iDevice version, however, is not quite connected to the superb PC release. In fact, it’s not connected to it at all. What is it then you ask? Well, it turns out The Witcher: Versus is a port of a browser-based dueling game.
For the longest time, I’ve waited for a good squad-based tactical game on the iDevice. We’ve seen an assortment of tactical strategy titles but all are centered more on strategy than true squad-based tactical gameplay. Until now that is. Out of the blue, Rode Games has released a freemium spin on the genre – Hunters: Episode One – probably the first game that truly takes all of us X-Com and Jagged Alliance fans for a spin.
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.
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.
A rare guest in our laboratory tonight, we welcome a member of the tactical turn-based strategy. The genre itself has seen various implementations on the iDevice, from the excellent Battle for Wesnoth (TMA Review) and Highborn (TMA Review) to the more obscure titles that have languished in the App Store. Personally I’ve always been quite fond of such games, ones that truly challenge the mind and strategic skills of the player. That’s why even despite the less promising screenshots of The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect I still took it for a spin, hoping against hope it will prove me wrong.
Yeah I know I’m a bit late to the punch but with everything that has happened the past few weeks I simply was buried under mountains of work and personal stuff. Nevertheless I decided that it was worth mentioning that two of the best RPGs of 2010 have recently received massive updates, adding among other things the long awaited universal support for Rimelands: Hammer of Thor (TMA Review) and some nifty features and updates for the nearest thing to Oblivion on the iPhone – Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD (TMA Review).
I previewed Rimelands and did quite a thorough review of Aralon during the last few months and can say that both are a definite must have for any RPG fan, so if for some reason you’ve been holding out, now is a good time as any to nab one (or both); the games will surely keep you occupied for the next little while.
Full update details after the gap!
I didn’t think the match 3 mash-up could get any better than the original Puzzle Quest. It figures that it would take the sequel of the game that pioneered the concept to prove me wrong. Puzzle Quest 2 raises the bar that its predecessor set with a new isometric perspective that actually lets you wander around town, side quests complete with mini-games, and a tournament mode that allows you to fight with the monsters! I’m not sure what Puzzle Quest 3 will bring (or if there will even be one), but if it’s even half the upgrade this one has been we’ll be in for another treat. Continue reading…