seed_titleThe latest RPG to emerge from the Chillingo publishing factory is Seed 1- Rise of Darkness [App Store], a port of an existing Japanese mobile game by CH Games and a title we had been eagerly anticipating thanks to an eye-catching trailer released earlier this year.

Seed's App Store approval comes at the same time as a raft of other RPGs, our recently review of Inotia 2 placing it firmly at the top of this list. It is unavoidable then that comparisons between Seed and Inotia 2 will be made seeing as how these two comprise the more substantive of the lot. Adding a twist is the fact that Chillingo has recently made Seed into a free game to rely entirely on in-app purchasing for their revenue stream. Seed originally launched at $2.99. So how does Seed stack up?

From the very start, it is clear that Seed's port to the iPhone has delivered a mixed bag of results. The graphics, whilst rich in color and detail, have suffered in quality by having its textures scaled to the larger device. As such, the world of Koolikoop does have a blurred-look when compared to Inotia 2's ultra crisp graphics. Still, the character and enemy detail is impressive, particularly considering the large number of various armor sets and weapons available, each of which have a distinct look when applied to your character.

Seed is a real-time action-RPG, taking its cue from wildly popular console franchises such as Secret of Mana. Its class-based system departs from the traditional mould by recognising your class depending on the weapon you wield the most-- the sword, lance, gun or staff. Magic can only be cast while wielding a staff, but all classes have a range of skills that are unlocked by learning them from NPCs, and strengthened by subsequent use of that weapon in combat.

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One thing is apparent from playing with each of the classes-- Seed heavily favors the melee classes until the latter game, at which stage magic and long-range attacks become near-unstoppable. In the early game however, these classes are beyond frustrating to play, particularly the cumbersome wizard class where often you cannot put out enough damage to counter even 1 enemy, let alone facing multiple assailants. This is exacerbated by a clumsy aiming system where casting a spell even a fraction off center will completely miss enemies and leave you with a nothing but a sorely depleted magic bar.

To make matters worse, the iPhone port of Seed suffers from awkward movement controls, a fact highlighted in combat. A four-direction D-pad is present on screen at all times, but is either far too responsive or fails to register inputs altogether, meaning that your evasive or positional actions are more often than not fruitless. Mastering the controls in Seed involves you schooling yourself into a tedious rhythm of light touches and care with your attack button lest it interfere with your movement; something that certainly holds back the gameplay. A patch has already been submitted by Chillingo addressing the virtual key pad, but whether this will remedy the above issues is yet to be seen.

876055_4Beyond these setbacks, the actual combat in Seed is fun for the most part when it works, and increasingly so once you have built your character up with a variety of attacks or spells. The skills are all mostly interesting to use, though they never look spectacular, which is disappointing for some of the bigger magical attacks. The monster types are varied and numerous even from the outset, each having different attack patterns to learn and combat. It may help to tone down the game speed when you first fire Seed up though, as the combat can be quite unforgiving at its default speed, and a bit more strategy is employable by slowing the game down a notch.

While the underlying story in Seed may be a shining point, it is unfortunate then that the English translations often leave you scratching your head, and that the dialogue is bogged down by so many gratuitous, cringe-evoking cliches and over-enthusiastic, uninspired characters that they often mar the substance of the story. This factor is also not helped by the multitude of grammatical errors that plague the script and tooltips throughout Seed; a fact that does impinge on gameplay at times as you struggle to decipher the difference between one potion and the next, or the actual effect of a particular attack.

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Despite this, Seed does still have a good amount of depth. An equipment refining and socketing system allows you to enhance your gear, and a compounding system allows you to mix items to create more powerful variants to insert into sockets. Added to this is an in-app store where you can purchase full item sets and other beneficial but non-essential items for cash. This will assist lazy gamers looking for instant gratification and those stuck in the game who want that extra bit of help. A good deal of thought has been put into what items are actually available, and whilst they're not necessary, many may find themselves lulled by the attractiveness of additional back space, or auto-item collection, to name a few.

Seed is a lengthy RPG that may appeal to the diehard fans of the genre, but will likely prove too frustrating and tedious for those looking for a refined and accessible RPG experience. Though it can compete with other popular action RPGs such as Zenonia, it never feels quite as polished, particularly against the recently released Inotia 2. Seed 1 - Rise of Darkness is the first in what appears to be an ongoing saga; one that we hope will be more refined as its sequels emerge.

A vast number of impressions have already collected in our discussion forums, particularly as the game has recently been made free, a fact surprising so soon after its release.

App Store Link: Seed 1 - Rise of Darkness, Free.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Tim

    Yeah... but didn't you guys say that Inotia 2 is plagued by tedious laundry list quests? That is an instant turn off for me!

    "Hey really powerful warrior guy, kill 10 wolves and report back to me!"

    --next quest

    "Hey really powerful warrior guy, kill 10 spiders and report back to me!"

    --next quest

    "Hey..."

    BORING! Seed is free so I'll give it a whirl.

    tim

    • Jonathan Lin

      Those wolves wont kill themselves you know.... unless there emo then they might.

    • Dave

      Regarding Inotia 2 and laundry list quests... these are only really found at lower levels as you learn the ropes of the game. Overall, its the best rpg on the app store currently - imo of course

      • mike

        Good point dave,

        Later on in the game, the 'go do this' tasks are more like, "theres a big huge ugly monster blocking the path, go take him out" just like a Zelda-type adventure game, its not filler...

    • munkee

      Clearly you never play Zenonia.

  • Xerito

    Well, this game certenly have some issues (especially graphics and effects that should be improved), but personaly i have had a lot more fun playing Seed than playing Innotia. Im not sure why, probably becouse i just find awfull innotia`s gameplay. Of course this is "my" case. Anyway i recommend this game to all RPG gamers, at least give it a try now that is free.

    Salu2

    PD: Tim I`ll be waiting for ur "review" of this game. Sorry my english!

  • Justin

    I am one of those that actually bought this game right when it 1st came out. A week after they made it free. This however isn't what makes me angry, its the "in app purchases" that gets me mad! I bought the item "auto pickup" for $0.99 and although it works, it only works for that particular save file. When i loaded up my 2nd and 3rd save, those characters didn't have my purchase.

    Whats worse than that?!?! My iphone messed up today and after a restore, not only do I have to start the whole game over, I don't have my in app purchase anymore since its only tied to the save slot and not to the actual game.

    Other games that have in app purchases ties in to the game itself and not the save slot. This enables you to start the game over and always have those particular upgrades that you've bought. Not only that but if needed, they have the option to re-download your already bought in app purchases.

    boo Chillingo

    • Rita

      Then you should complain about that. And at least try to get your money back from iTunes since you purchased the game and they decided to make it free afterwards.

  • dumas1000

    They really are giving this game away for free. Strange. Very strange. There isn't a single DLC item being sold here that is actually neccessary to own in order to play/enjoy/finish the entire game.

  • Instant fail

    Hey I'm playing seed I'm looking for the war academy but idk where it is xD help please?

    • Ian

      The war academy has the red flags outside the building - it's in the same screen as the entrance to the palace, sort of to the bottom of the area, to the left of the entrance to the arena.

  • http://www.StartPottyTraining.com Potty Training

    I will need to get this game on the weekend!

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  • Duffas214

    SEED may not be much to look at, and yes a lot of the dialogue will leave you scratching your head, but hey its free. This is one of the apps I only play when I am bored at school, other than that I rarely ever play it. Maybe in the future and the game gets improved a little I'll actually sit down and play it through and focus more on the storyline other than just passing the time.

  • shadowz

    join seed 1 rise of darkness blog on palringo download it for free and join seed 1 rise of darkness

  • Carmelia Belter

    Actually this game is hella fun. I bought it not too long ago from Gamestop and enjoyed it. potty training boys potty training toddlers