Amongst all of my past console excursions, the one that I remember with the most fondness was my time spent playing my Nintendo Entertainment System. A franchise that kept me entertained if not a bit frustrated was Ninja Gaiden, the tale of a ninja named Ryu that kicked butt and liked to do back flips. At first glance one might feel that Shadow Blade is a modern interpretation of this classic series, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After spending some time with the game I’m not so sure if it’s meant to be an homage to or simply inspired by the old favorites, but either way the game is quite entertaining. It also manages to pretty much conquer the issues most action games have with controls on a touch screen device.
I’m sure many of you were like me and grew up with one of the greatest marble / ball rolling games ever, Marble Madness. When I got my first iPod Touch there was no sign of Marble Madness, but I did pick up an interesting variant called HydroTilt. This made me even more anxious for my childhood video game friend. I’m still waiting for Marble Madness, but after spending some time with Gears that desire has been greatly subdued. Granted Gears doesn’t have some of the features like enemies that are out to get you, but what it does have is quite an experience indeed.
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.
When it comes to RPGs I prefer turn based to real time combat, and while 3D looks spiffy I’d much rather see nicely rendered 2D images. If it needs to be 3D, then more of an isometric or top down perspective is the way to go. A world with a well developed history is a bonus, and quests and NPC interaction are basically a must. As it turns out, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor has all of this in spades, and what at first glance appeared to be “big whoop, another RPG” is now turning into “hey, this is a pretty nice RPG”.
Dicework Games have recently updated their blog with some in-depth information and screenshots of their upcoming RPG – Rimelands: Hammer Of Thor. Additionally they have just announced that they will be teaming up with Crescent Moon Games – the developers of Ravensword: The Fallen King (TMA Review) – to put the finishing touches and publish the upcoming game.
Though it’s quite hard to tell at this point – the game seems to be not unlike a certain legendary Rogue and is a turn-based RPG and, thankfully, does NOT involve any kind of Japanimation whatsoever. You can find the original details after the gap, but to sum it up – the combat will use a classic one-action scheme of it’s ancestor along with an expansive character development system and distinct classes. The story will be completely linear with no dialogue trees, though there will be plenty sidequests and hidden treasures to encourage thorough exploration of game areas. A nice touch is including both randomly generated levels along with some pre-designed ones to extend replayability. Oh yeah, and the latter ones will contain puzzles.
I have secured an interview with the developers of Rimelands for Monday around noon European time, so feel free to leave any questions you’d like me to raise either in the comments or in the forums. And be sure to check the full details after the gap.
When the first Ravensword: The Fallen King screenshots and trailers appeared on the net, I thought: “This is it! This is the Holy Grail!” And as the time came closer and closer to the release date, with all of the publicity around the game, my interest really peaked. Just a little over 2 weeks ago I finally got my hands on the press build of this genre-bending game.
Before you get lost, check out the Ravensword Walkthrough at TouchMyApps.