The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect in Review – Simply doesn’t measure up to the competition… even one released 2 years ago.
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.
Ever since the original Dungeon Hunter (TMA Review) came out more than a year ago, it immediately became the undisputed king of iPhone Hack’n’Slash RPGs. Obviously inspired by the great Diablo, it still had quite a way to go to reach its full potential. With the recent release of the anticipated sequel, Dungeon Hunter 2, I had high hopes that it would finally make all things right. And having spent about a week with it, I can say that it did… at least for some things.
For the longuest time the absence of quality console jRPG games from the iDevice was a gaping hole just waiting to be filled. Early this year Square Enix re-released FINAL FANTASY and FINAL FANTASY II for the iDevice, then followed up with CHAOS RINGS, a celebrated RPG that I thought could have been so much more. What we were left with was the excellent port of the PSP classic – Crimson Gem Saga. Now you can add another to the list thanks to Gameloft’s ambitious title Eternal Legacy.
I remember all the hype a little over a year ago when Ravensword: The Fallen King (TMA Review) was released. Praised by many for its “superb open world”, in reality the game was quite shallow and more of a 3rd person action that the “Oblivion for the iPhone” as it claimed to be. Regardless, it was successful enough that they were able to leave behind Chillingo’s mentorship and become a publisher themselves. Then several months ago, they aided Dicework Games in the release of Rimelands: Hammer of Thor (TMA Review), an excellent original western RPG. And just yesterday Crescent Moon Games published Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD – the game that Ravensword was meant to be.
It seems like so many people are hung up on labeling games – every game has to be “just like that other game I played”. If I was forced to compare this to something I’d have to give it the title “Puzzle Quest Lite”, though that’s neither fair to the impact that Puzzle Quest had on the match 3 genre or the brilliance of Dungeon Raid. Instead, let’s just say that Dungeon Raid is a match 3 game with some simple RPG elements thrown in that can take you a few minutes or somewhat longer to play depending on your skill level and the difficulty setting you choose. All I know is that despite the game’s basic nature I tend to find myself getting lost in it quite easily.
With the horrendous amount of various Action/Shooter titles on the App Store, it is increasingly more difficult to find something that jumps out at you. Sure, there are loads of dual-stick and side/vertical-scrolling shooters, but to find anything truly original you’ll have to dig really deep. The most recent entry by Gaijin Entertainment however, brings a refreshing look on how an action title could be done on the iDevice in Braveheart.
Doom is without a doubt an iconic game, truly bringing to life the genre of First-Person Shooters pioneered by Wolfenstein 3D. In this light it’s even more interesting that the first reincarnation of the legendary franchise on the mobile platform turned out to be a Turn-Based Action/RPG adaptation. Of course, the iDevice is home to DOOM Resurrection – an on-rail-shooter and a port of the original DOOM Classic , but still, this unique variation on the universe has graced the App Store as well in DOOM II RPG.
The Gamebook Adventures series is quite an interesting franchise. In the wake of the re-release of the classic Fighting Fantasy series from Steve Jackson himself, Tin Man Games dared to enter the market with their own title, originally developed from the ground up for the iDevice. I have reviewed the first two titles Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes (TMA Review) & Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer (TMA Review) and found them very compelling. They’re very well written and more focus on the adventure than combat part of the process, though when it comes to finding the best endings, they can be a bit too difficult for the uninitiated. In their latest release - Gamebook Adventures 3: Slaves of Rema – they vowed to fix the latter issue, making the games accessible to both casual and die-hard gamers.