When I wrote the closing thoughts of my four-star review of Across Age a couple of months ago, I commented on the fact that the game marked a continuing increase in the quality of App Store RPGs, and I wondered if Zenonia 2 [App Store] would be able to keep the pace. Zenonia 2 has been out for a few days now, and I've finally been able to put it to the test. The conclusion that I've come to is that while this isn't markedly better than any game before it, it is a massive improvement over the original game and stands among the best RPGs on the App Store.

The plot of the first game followed a young boy named Regret in the midst of a war between the Holy Knights of the land and a clan of dragons. This sequel traces a new story in the same universe with one of four selectable characters as the stars. A half-naked swordsman, gun-toting blonde, animal-man hybrid melee guy, and generic, emo magician make up the cast, and each play quite differently. Choosing one character over another won't change the story in any significant ways, but each character does come with some side-quests specific to them. I wasn't extremely impressed by the quality of the game's story as a whole, but I can say with some confidence that it's an improvement over the one in the original game.

Spelling and grammar errors, a clunky menu system, and an annoying hunger system held the first Zenonia back from greatness, but its enjoyable real-time battle system made it into a game that many loved. While the story in Zenonia 2 might not be especially better, numerous other elements are. The menu system in particular is leagues better than the previous game's (although it does still need some work; combining items and dealing with duplicate items is a big pain in the bum).

The game still uses SNES-era-inspired graphics, so it looks good for a mobile port. The hunger system is back, but in a much more manageable fashion that doesn't grind on one's nerves. I still can't believe that your equipped armor and weapons show in-game on your character. That's a feature that rarely makes its way into 2D games, but certainly should more often. One feature that has been showing up more commonly in App Store RPGs is online PvP matches. I was a bit disappointed that it isn't "real" PvP (the computer controls a downloaded version of your opponent's character) but it's cool that Gamevil included the option.

The core of Zenonia 2 is largely the same, but for some reason it just feels bettter than before. The game has some of the most customizable controls I've ever seen, so maybe that combined with the new touch-controlled menu system is what makes the difference. The best part of the game is still the battle system. The auto-turn-to-face-enemies feature and easily accessible skills gives everything a clean, fast-paced feel, and fans of RPGs know what I'm talking about when I say that there's just something fun about dashing around leveling up and increasing a character's stats.

Zenonia 2 still has its flaws. Having to repair items sucks, plain and simple, and the item combination system is pretty boring. A couple of times I ran into a glitch where it seems that items I picked up failed to show up in my inventory. The cutscenes are generally well-done, but the opening cutscene in particular is way too long, even to the point of being tedious. I did some lurking in our forums and found that other users have been experiencing the problem as well, so I hope that Gamevil addresses the issue with an update soon.

Honestly, if you really disliked the first game, you probably won't feel differently about Zenonia 2. If you're like me and you enjoyed the first game but had a few grievances with it, however, this game fixes those problems. I hate to fall back on Across Age as a reference point, but in my mind it's the App Store RPG to beat. The fact is, Zenonia 2 is just as good as Across Age, and those who've gotten their money's worth out of that game shouldn't hesitate to drop the cash to download this game. I can nitpick all day about the lame item-repair system or that awful opening cutscene, but the most important part of this game is how the battles feel, and Gamevil hit that nail on the head.

App Store Link: Zenonia 2, $4.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • Boldly

    Same hunger system dude.

    • Meh

      The hunger system is close only now you don't have to feed yourself as often as before. In the original you could walk between 2 areas and have to eat something where as the sequel requires you to eat every 6-10 areas walked through.

  • Boldly

    Same hunger system dude.

    • Meh

      The hunger system is close only now you don't have to feed yourself as often as before. In the original you could walk between 2 areas and have to eat something where as the sequel requires you to eat every 6-10 areas walked through.

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    I haven't had the chance to play Zenonia 2 yet, but as fan of the 16-bit era, I must say I simply loved the first game, I just didn't get to level 99 because it was too tedious to kill the same enemies over and over again in the final dungeon (I gave up on level 92).
    The only things I that made me feel a little unconfortable about the game were:

    #1 - the leveling problem, 'cuz if your highter then 80, every enemy becomes a too much of a pussy, even the final boss.

    #2 - it just didn't feel right to use the d-pad to navigate through the menus when you had a TOUCHSCREEN in front of you, right?

    #3 - the game got pretty laggy when I played for more then 30 minutes straight... am I the only one who had this problem? (I have an iTouch 2G)

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    I haven't had the chance to play Zenonia 2 yet, but as fan of the 16-bit era, I must say I simply loved the first game, I just didn't get to level 99 because it was too tedious to kill the same enemies over and over again in the final dungeon (I gave up on level 92).
    The only things I that made me feel a little unconfortable about the game were:

    #1 - the leveling problem, 'cuz if your highter then 80, every enemy becomes a too much of a pussy, even the final boss.

    #2 - it just didn't feel right to use the d-pad to navigate through the menus when you had a TOUCHSCREEN in front of you, right?

    #3 - the game got pretty laggy when I played for more then 30 minutes straight... am I the only one who had this problem? (I have an iTouch 2G)

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    (i just realized my english sucks... sorry)

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    (i just realized my english sucks... sorry)

  • klouud

    Biggest 3 problems with Zen1

    1. Grinding - I have never seen this much required grinding EVER!

    2. No real puzzles - just a straight forward dungeon system where the only challenges are the monsters in it

    3. Tedious Side Quests - absolutely no zip or bang what-so-ever

    tim

    • mike

      Get FF 1 and 2 from Square until Chaos Ring comes out...

      The grinding from the first was...wow.... just shoot me now

  • klouud

    Biggest 3 problems with Zen1

    1. Grinding - I have never seen this much required grinding EVER!

    2. No real puzzles - just a straight forward dungeon system where the only challenges are the monsters in it

    3. Tedious Side Quests - absolutely no zip or bang what-so-ever

    tim

    • mike

      Get FF 1 and 2 from Square until Chaos Ring comes out...

      The grinding from the first was...wow.... just shoot me now

  • shin

    The first Zenonia was probably better. This games feels so much like the first, that some excitement is lost. Maybe if you had a choice over 1 and 2, maybe get 2 for the new features. But I enjoyed the original more. It's still a grind fest. :|

  • shin

    The first Zenonia was probably better. This games feels so much like the first, that some excitement is lost. Maybe if you had a choice over 1 and 2, maybe get 2 for the new features. But I enjoyed the original more. It's still a grind fest. :|

  • akira01

    For me, it's far better than the one.
    Good job !! ;)

  • akira01

    For me, it's far better than the one.
    Good job !! ;)

  • http://www.ummband.com poutini

    This review makes me want Across Age more than Zenonia 2, haha. I picked up the first Zenonia when I first got my iPod touch, and it's pretty fun. But holy balls, you do more grinding than exploring in that game.

  • http://www.ummband.com poutini

    This review makes me want Across Age more than Zenonia 2, haha. I picked up the first Zenonia when I first got my iPod touch, and it's pretty fun. But holy balls, you do more grinding than exploring in that game.

  • Mega Man

    I made the mistake of buying this and regretted my purchase very quickly. The reviewer was at least right to warn that if you didn't like the first, then avoid this.

    All the flaws of the original are intact and unchanged. Chiefly they are:

    - Terrible frame rate. Seriously, an 8-bit NES can scroll a 2D game like this at 60fps, so why does this limp along at around 15fps on an iPhone 3G?

    - Blurry, upscaled visuals. It's still a port from a low-res JAVA game, and it still looks really scruffy.

    - The music loops after a few seconds. Drove me nuts in the original and I can't believe they haven't fixed it in this. How hard could it have been to write music tracks which last a few minutes, instead of a few seconds?

    - Unresponsive d-pad controls. Obviously there is no such thing as good d-pad controls on the iPhone, but some are worse than others. Zenonia 2's are not the worst, but they're far from the best.

    - Boring hack and slash gameplay. RPGs don't have to be turn based to be good (although it obviously helps). Zelda managed to make action RPGs fun back in the early 80s, so why is Zenonia so mindless? Is it supposed to be fun to hammer a virtual button over and over and over to kill enemies?

    For me, this is a total failure. A non-update of a poor original. I wouldn't even think of comparing it to Across Age as that is absolutely leagues ahead of this rubbish, but give me Zelda on the DS any day.

  • Mega Man

    I made the mistake of buying this and regretted my purchase very quickly. The reviewer was at least right to warn that if you didn't like the first, then avoid this.

    All the flaws of the original are intact and unchanged. Chiefly they are:

    - Terrible frame rate. Seriously, an 8-bit NES can scroll a 2D game like this at 60fps, so why does this limp along at around 15fps on an iPhone 3G?

    - Blurry, upscaled visuals. It's still a port from a low-res JAVA game, and it still looks really scruffy.

    - The music loops after a few seconds. Drove me nuts in the original and I can't believe they haven't fixed it in this. How hard could it have been to write music tracks which last a few minutes, instead of a few seconds?

    - Unresponsive d-pad controls. Obviously there is no such thing as good d-pad controls on the iPhone, but some are worse than others. Zenonia 2's are not the worst, but they're far from the best.

    - Boring hack and slash gameplay. RPGs don't have to be turn based to be good (although it obviously helps). Zelda managed to make action RPGs fun back in the early 80s, so why is Zenonia so mindless? Is it supposed to be fun to hammer a virtual button over and over and over to kill enemies?

    For me, this is a total failure. A non-update of a poor original. I wouldn't even think of comparing it to Across Age as that is absolutely leagues ahead of this rubbish, but give me Zelda on the DS any day.

  • Tony

    Just finished playing Zenonia 2 this morning and killed the final boss @level 45, which is extremely disappointing. However, that was the game on normal mode because hard and hell mode have yet to be released.

    They toned down the hunger system in this version by a lot so you don't have to eat as often. I never thought repairing was a problem because I would always reach the next weapon by the time my current weapon was about to break. The item creation feature is pretty useless for now since it is way easier to buy the equipment at the store. There's no use in making the high level equipment because you won't even need to get to that level to defeat the boss (highest level monster if I recall correctly in this game is 58/59).

    The PvP system is a nice addition but is full of hackers who have hacked their stats so that they either kill you in one hit or have so much HP that continuously hitting them for 5 minutes won't make a dent in their HP bar.

    Overall, I liked the first version way more than this one.

  • Tony

    Just finished playing Zenonia 2 this morning and killed the final boss @level 45, which is extremely disappointing. However, that was the game on normal mode because hard and hell mode have yet to be released.

    They toned down the hunger system in this version by a lot so you don't have to eat as often. I never thought repairing was a problem because I would always reach the next weapon by the time my current weapon was about to break. The item creation feature is pretty useless for now since it is way easier to buy the equipment at the store. There's no use in making the high level equipment because you won't even need to get to that level to defeat the boss (highest level monster if I recall correctly in this game is 58/59).

    The PvP system is a nice addition but is full of hackers who have hacked their stats so that they either kill you in one hit or have so much HP that continuously hitting them for 5 minutes won't make a dent in their HP bar.

    Overall, I liked the first version way more than this one.

  • dumas1000

    16-bit era RPGs still have their place. The whole retro, 8-bit, sprite-based, action-RPG based loosely upon a format first introduced by the original NES Zelda has it's place and all. I just wish someone who develops games on the appstore would do something else. Zenonia boasts more or less the same formula as virtually every stinking RPG available on the Appstore. There are at least a dozen games currently available created in this vein. I've had my fill of this RPG sub-genre already. I wish devs would challenge themselves already, because going this route is obvious the easy/lazy thing to do. Comprising a world of retro graphics based upon some archaic gaming engine doesn't take nearly the effort of what Crescent Moon at least attempted to do with Ravensword, which was to create a true modern RPG. Without proper RPG-elements, however, it's hard to consider Ravensword an RPG.

  • dumas1000

    16-bit era RPGs still have their place. The whole retro, 8-bit, sprite-based, action-RPG based loosely upon a format first introduced by the original NES Zelda has it's place and all. I just wish someone who develops games on the appstore would do something else. Zenonia boasts more or less the same formula as virtually every stinking RPG available on the Appstore. There are at least a dozen games currently available created in this vein. I've had my fill of this RPG sub-genre already. I wish devs would challenge themselves already, because going this route is obvious the easy/lazy thing to do. Comprising a world of retro graphics based upon some archaic gaming engine doesn't take nearly the effort of what Crescent Moon at least attempted to do with Ravensword, which was to create a true modern RPG. Without proper RPG-elements, however, it's hard to consider Ravensword an RPG.

  • Ben&Jerrys

    Im happy with zenonia 2, defiantly there are things to improve on.
    I could not get past the first 10 mins of across age. the story sounded awesome, reminded me of chrono trigger. Its the fighting style that made the game horrible in my opinion.

  • Ben&Jerrys

    Im happy with zenonia 2, defiantly there are things to improve on.
    I could not get past the first 10 mins of across age. the story sounded awesome, reminded me of chrono trigger. Its the fighting style that made the game horrible in my opinion.

  • Rockne

    As far as I am concerned, if the item repair system is still in this game, then there is no reason for me to buy it. Perhaps I am spoiled by Warcraft (which actually HAS the same system in place) but severe death penalties are inexcusable from single player RPGs in this day and age. There's no economy that needs to be regulated by repairs, and the difficulty curve scales at a breakneck pace in Zenonia games. If you don't want to sit around and grind on safe mobs for hours until you can reasonably expect not to get squashed on the missions you currently have, you are forced to take a risk that will get you killed over and over again until your items are unusable and your money, likewise, is all gone.

    I don't know what it is about Korean games and punishing players the fun out of players, but I'm going to pass on it once again.

  • Rockne

    As far as I am concerned, if the item repair system is still in this game, then there is no reason for me to buy it. Perhaps I am spoiled by Warcraft (which actually HAS the same system in place) but severe death penalties are inexcusable from single player RPGs in this day and age. There's no economy that needs to be regulated by repairs, and the difficulty curve scales at a breakneck pace in Zenonia games. If you don't want to sit around and grind on safe mobs for hours until you can reasonably expect not to get squashed on the missions you currently have, you are forced to take a risk that will get you killed over and over again until your items are unusable and your money, likewise, is all gone.

    I don't know what it is about Korean games and punishing players the fun out of players, but I'm going to pass on it once again.

  • Daz

    I absolutely loved Zenonia 2, loved it..
    UNTIL i got to the very last area (the secret revival dungeons or whatever) where on the quest to protect Zealos from the Skell Knights i died ( 8 of them in such a small area wtf?) then respawned on the other side of the room on the other side of the purple wall thing. So, being Ecne level 46 ( 34 hours playtime) i managed to finish 8 of them through the wall but i still couldnt reach zealos to hand in the quest. I eventually decided to continue so i killed the last boss then zealos appeared and i handed in the quest to protect him and he gave me the quest to kill the last boss ( After i had killed him ) then after the cutscene i appeared in a wall, immobilized.. wtf lol 34 hours wasted having to start from level 1...
    2 star bcuz of that hopefully it will get fixed

  • Daz

    I absolutely loved Zenonia 2, loved it..
    UNTIL i got to the very last area (the secret revival dungeons or whatever) where on the quest to protect Zealos from the Skell Knights i died ( 8 of them in such a small area wtf?) then respawned on the other side of the room on the other side of the purple wall thing. So, being Ecne level 46 ( 34 hours playtime) i managed to finish 8 of them through the wall but i still couldnt reach zealos to hand in the quest. I eventually decided to continue so i killed the last boss then zealos appeared and i handed in the quest to protect him and he gave me the quest to kill the last boss ( After i had killed him ) then after the cutscene i appeared in a wall, immobilized.. wtf lol 34 hours wasted having to start from level 1...
    2 star bcuz of that hopefully it will get fixed

  • Joe

    I agree wit ben&jerrys- don't get across age. Most of the game is fine, but the fighting system is by far the worst of any rpg I have ever played. It renders the game entirely unplayable. For now, zenonia is as good as it gets on the AppStore.

  • Joe

    I agree wit ben&jerrys- don't get across age. Most of the game is fine, but the fighting system is by far the worst of any rpg I have ever played. It renders the game entirely unplayable. For now, zenonia is as good as it gets on the AppStore.

  • DeeJay

    sorry for my horrible typing, i dont type well.

  • DeeJay

    sorry for my horrible typing, i dont type well.

  • DeeJay

    I love the game, but at times, i found myself scrolling through my inventory to find the 30 large potions i boought gone, my stat points dispearing, and my teleport scrolls vanished. the gameplay is fun, and as you lvl up the game requires more than just mashing the button (if you dont grind, i was fights lvl 40 monsters at lvl 32) and none the lesss a great game, the storyline could use improvment, and the side quests could act more than just chores. with the wieght system, "having no more space" seems like BS, you should carry as many different items as long as you dont go overweight. i havent beaten the game yet, so i am waiting to experience the hard and hell modes. also the pvp is dumb since your only fighting ghosts of people, and the ghost who play are many hackers( they will have that fixxed quickly though) i will give this game 3 stars right now, but if they play their cards right, i will definatly change it to 5.

  • DeeJay

    I love the game, but at times, i found myself scrolling through my inventory to find the 30 large potions i boought gone, my stat points dispearing, and my teleport scrolls vanished. the gameplay is fun, and as you lvl up the game requires more than just mashing the button (if you dont grind, i was fights lvl 40 monsters at lvl 32) and none the lesss a great game, the storyline could use improvment, and the side quests could act more than just chores. with the wieght system, "having no more space" seems like BS, you should carry as many different items as long as you dont go overweight. i havent beaten the game yet, so i am waiting to experience the hard and hell modes. also the pvp is dumb since your only fighting ghosts of people, and the ghost who play are many hackers( they will have that fixxed quickly though) i will give this game 3 stars right now, but if they play their cards right, i will definatly change it to 5.

  • alexandra

    oh and make things a little less expensive!

  • alexandra

    oh and make things a little less expensive!

  • alexandra

    oh and i just remembered, i love how the people talk like you and me. like they swear and stuff. its soo funny, thats what i also absolutely love about the game.

  • alexandra

    oh and i just remembered, i love how the people talk like you and me. like they swear and stuff. its soo funny, thats what i also absolutely love about the game.

  • George

    This is a wonderful game.
    The characters are wonderful and the range equip-items is five star.
    The only problem is there is nothing to do once the hard mode is completed - simply the map remains unlocked, there are no quests, no story, nothing to do except level up and become stronger to fight other players.
    There should be extra quests, and i know there is not much to design at this point, but at the end, Amos says that people are willing to fight you - can you not expand?
    I am happy although because after completing the game I received my first 'unique' item, with a stat increasing the rate at which enemies drop stuff. Awesome.

    Thanks for a great game.

  • George

    This is a wonderful game.
    The characters are wonderful and the range equip-items is five star.
    The only problem is there is nothing to do once the hard mode is completed - simply the map remains unlocked, there are no quests, no story, nothing to do except level up and become stronger to fight other players.
    There should be extra quests, and i know there is not much to design at this point, but at the end, Amos says that people are willing to fight you - can you not expand?
    I am happy although because after completing the game I received my first 'unique' item, with a stat increasing the rate at which enemies drop stuff. Awesome.

    Thanks for a great game.

  • cj 512

    the game is generaly easy, i got two level 99s in 2 weeks... beat the final boss on normal at level 37 and absolutely owned him on hard mode. Hell mode is really just for farming to reach level 99... if you wanna fight me search peaceoutguy which is my shooter level 91 that i am currently working on... other than that they should add more maps and bosses and increase the level cap to like 120

  • http://zerocorpse.tumblr.com/ ZeroCorpse

    It looks like gameplay is decent, but I really dislike the chibi-style anime JRPG character design. Blargh... JRPG games all look the same to me.

  • sndwave

    Hmm. Seems to crash on load in 4.2. Anyone else facing the same issue?

  • Gml1029

    I have downloaded the game and it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

    pros: Great fighting, PvP, great customation, and the best thing is probaly the array of classes and skills.

    Cons: PvP isnt real and glitches often (one hit kills). Glitches, somtimes screen freezes but if it happens just restart your ipod.

    overall 4.5/5 dont listen to reviews only glitches often with first and second generation ipods

  • Goldshlagerx

    I didnt like the fact they talk like 12 years old children on the internet, calling eachother noobs, saying pwnage, brb, etc.. it completely ruined it for me