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..
Back in my university days, I used to be a huge fan of Magic The Gathering, probably the most well-known and successful Collectable Card Game ever. It always provided an excellent way to pass the time during those boring lectures and it was something to do in-between them as well. I have abandoned it since, unfortunately, mainly because of lack of time. But it seems the iOS is likely to change that, with some superb CCG type games appearing on the platform the last few months. The most recent of which is actually a sequel to a rather successful iOS release from a couple of years ago — Orions: Legend Of Wizards (TMA Review) — and is rather unimaginably titled Orions 2.
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.