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.
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!
Have you wondered what’s out there in the great beyond? Are you a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars or Babylon 5? Have you ever dreamt of exploring new worlds, discovering ancient artifacts and meeting aliens? Well, settle in my dear friend, as now you can do all of that in the comfort of your own living room! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the creativity of some indie devs, the full experience has essentially been recreated in Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space.
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.
One of my first ever reviews for TMA was of Palm Heroes Classic, an adaptation of the legendary classic Heroes of Might and Magic 3, for the iPhone. Of course, having been originally developed for Windows Mobile, it had its flaws – mostly on the interface side. Still even in those early App Store day, it offered a unique experience on par with the classic desktop Strategy/RPG. But time doesn’t stand still and now almost 2 years later, the developers have released the sequel Palm Heroes 2 Deluxe for iPhone, this time built from the ground up for the iOS.
Considering the main audience of Apple’s iOS devices, it’s no wonder there is a noticeable lack of hardcore old-school RPGs. Some of the few titles coming to mind are, of course, the now Free Undercroft (TMA Review) and the never-ending The Quest with over a dozen expansions out already. But for some reason the iPad has stayed devoid of an optimized hardcore RPG experience ever since its release in Spring 2010. Until recently that is, when Spiderweb Software finally released Avadon: The Black Fortress HD on the iPad, which was previously available only for the Mac..