If you've been following App Store gaming for a while, you may remember a retro-inspired RPG named Undercroft from developer Rake in Grass. It was a turn-based RPG that replicated the faux first-person exploring of old-school titles that used scaling of 2D images and sprites to simulate a 3D world. Undercroft was released last October to a largely positive reception in our forums, but strangely the title was pulled from the App Store last month. After some confusion as to why, a representative from Rake in Grass informed our forum members that the Undercroft IP and the game engine that it ran on had been sold to fellow developer Jagex, who many may recognize as the creators of the online MMO Runescape but who also have an assortment of titles available for the iPhone.

Due to being busy with several upcoming games, Rake in Grass didn't feel they would have the time or resources to devote to Undercroft and hence turned the title over to Jagex. The old version was taken down, and a new version published under Jagex was sent to the App Store and released earlier today, surprisingly for free. This is essentially the exact same Undercroft that you would have paid $5 for up until last month, and when questioned in our forums about ulterior motives behind this Jagex responded that there are no plans for in-app purchases and Undercroft will remain free for the foreseeable future. There is an unobtrusive advertisement for Runescape on the title screen, but other than that this is the full game for free.

Jagex will support this current version of Undercroft and most likely is working on expansion packs or a sequel to the game. My guess is that they made this version of Undercroft free so as to build up a large user base that would want to buy into these future endeavors. Regardless of any of that, there's no reason not to take a look at Undercroft now that it's free. It may be old-school at the core, but it offers a compelling gameplay experience that lets you build a team from many different classes, complete quests, fight enemies, explore an interesting world, and more. Undercroft was definitely a solid choice for $5 before and is pretty much a no-brainer now that it has returned for free.

  • Peter

    If you're an RPG fan, you owe it to yourself to download this and give it a good shot. For me, it was the best RPG experience on the App Store - a really ambitious title that is up there with Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Lands of Lore.

  • Peter

    If you're an RPG fan, you owe it to yourself to download this and give it a good shot. For me, it was the best RPG experience on the App Store - a really ambitious title that is up there with Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Lands of Lore.

  • Mike

    Just downloaded it today. I've already sunk 5 hours into the game. Deep, addicting, and probably the best RPG on the iPhone.

  • Mike

    Just downloaded it today. I've already sunk 5 hours into the game. Deep, addicting, and probably the best RPG on the iPhone.

  • Noriym

    Easily the best RPG on the iphone.

  • Noriym

    Easily the best RPG on the iphone.

  • hugh

    Every iPhone should own this game. 20 hours of absolute classic gaming. For free, its a steal!

  • hugh

    Every iPhone should own this game. 20 hours of absolute classic gaming. For free, its a steal!

  • http://spiritapp.com amroc

    This game is so fantastic. I think it took 15 or so hours to complete and I loved every minute. It was a steal back when it was $4.99

  • http://spiritapp.com amroc

    This game is so fantastic. I think it took 15 or so hours to complete and I loved every minute. It was a steal back when it was $4.99

  • Odulin

    I played (and finished) Undercroft on the PC several years ago. It is a very good game!!! I'm going to play it again on the ipod. One of best RPG on Iphone.

  • Odulin

    I played (and finished) Undercroft on the PC several years ago. It is a very good game!!! I'm going to play it again on the ipod. One of best RPG on Iphone.

  • sj

    Been fun on PC RPG - Eye of Beholder. This is very similar and I really like it. Thanks for sharing.

  • sj

    Been fun on PC RPG - Eye of Beholder. This is very similar and I really like it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Angur

    Needs to be redone with Epic Citadel engine.

    • Mediocre

      No, no it does not.

    • Whosatm

      I think not. It looks fine just the way it is... It isn't meant to be some amazing modern RPG.

  • Angur

    Needs to be redone with Epic Citadel engine.

    • Mediocre

      No, no it does not.

    • Whosatm

      I think not. It looks fine just the way it is... It isn't meant to be some amazing modern RPG.

  • puzzle mess

    No brainer here. This and the Quest are still my two favorite RPGs on the iphone. If Undercroft only had the depth and gameworld sizes of the Quests (or Quest the multiparty system, slightly better graphics and skill point system of Undercroft) it would be the best RPG on the iphone.

  • puzzle mess

    No brainer here. This and the Quest are still my two favorite RPGs on the iphone. If Undercroft only had the depth and gameworld sizes of the Quests (or Quest the multiparty system, slightly better graphics and skill point system of Undercroft) it would be the best RPG on the iphone.

  • Bobby

    I loved Undercroft! I can't believe there still hasn't been a sequel. Somebody needs to take my money now...

    I never could get into the Quest. I bought it. I wanted to like it.

    The biggest downside to Undercroft was that it was too short, but I figured thats what sequels were for. :)

  • Bobby

    I loved Undercroft! I can't believe there still hasn't been a sequel. Somebody needs to take my money now...

    I never could get into the Quest. I bought it. I wanted to like it.

    The biggest downside to Undercroft was that it was too short, but I figured thats what sequels were for. :)

  • chevy639

    I got both the Quest and Undercroft.

    The Quest was a little too deep for an iphone game, and it was very sluggish and not very fun to play.

    Undercroft is very responsive, deep ENOUGH, and easy to pick up and play for a few minutes here and there. One of my favorites.

    Now because I have the old one, I hope I can transfer my data when there are updates...

  • chevy639

    I got both the Quest and Undercroft.

    The Quest was a little too deep for an iphone game, and it was very sluggish and not very fun to play.

    Undercroft is very responsive, deep ENOUGH, and easy to pick up and play for a few minutes here and there. One of my favorites.

    Now because I have the old one, I hope I can transfer my data when there are updates...

  • Macatron

    So does anyone know if Jagex will be supporting the Rake in Grass version as far as updates and expansions go? The reason I'm asking is because I still have the RIG copy installed on my phone, but the Jagex copy (in the app store) doesn't say "Installed." That leads me to believe that something is at least a little different between the two. With that said, I'm wondering if I'll have to now download the Jagex copy, and lose my save games in the RIG copy in order to take advantage of any future updates or expansions? Hopefully Jagex has (or will have) something in place when the time comes to possibly import saved games from the RIG version.

    • chevy639

      Well the RIG Undercroft version is not in the app store anymore, so i'm not sure if that is even possible.

  • Macatron

    So does anyone know if Jagex will be supporting the Rake in Grass version as far as updates and expansions go? The reason I'm asking is because I still have the RIG copy installed on my phone, but the Jagex copy (in the app store) doesn't say "Installed." That leads me to believe that something is at least a little different between the two. With that said, I'm wondering if I'll have to now download the Jagex copy, and lose my save games in the RIG copy in order to take advantage of any future updates or expansions? Hopefully Jagex has (or will have) something in place when the time comes to possibly import saved games from the RIG version.

    • chevy639

      Well the RIG Undercroft version is not in the app store anymore, so i'm not sure if that is even possible.

  • Peter

    This is an example of a game that really doesn't need improved graphics or realtime engines.

    This type of turn-based dungeon trawler evolved on the 16-bit consoles and became very popular on 90s PCs. There's a place for action RPGs, but for this type of game too; Undercroft's controls suit the iDevices perfectly and the turn-based nature of the game give you time to think strategically about weapons, magic, health and mana etc.

    Making it realtime would ruin the gameplay. There's plenty or realtime RPG out there or coming. But there's not enough games like Undercroft!

    Personally, I dislike JRPGs, so I crave more titles like this one.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      I agree with the sentiment (thought personally I also like good JRPGs) but I think you have it backwards: these type of games started on PCs, with Wizardry on the Apple II being one the first, if not the original party-based 1st-person dungeon crawler. There was also EA's Bard's Tale and the original Might and Magic, both of which came first to the Apple II and PC years before they made it to the NES.

      In any event, it's a great game, one that shouldn't be passed up by RPG fans.

    • Angur

      Plenty? Please name these numerous realtime RPGs, upcoming or current. Now name those that are FPS RPG? 2? 3?

      • Noman

        Elder scrolls 3 and 4, Fallout 3, Fable 2 and 3, Mass Effect 1,2 and 3 etc, etc,

      • Angur

        *facepalm*

        RPGs on the IPHONE.

  • Peter

    This is an example of a game that really doesn't need improved graphics or realtime engines.

    This type of turn-based dungeon trawler evolved on the 16-bit consoles and became very popular on 90s PCs. There's a place for action RPGs, but for this type of game too; Undercroft's controls suit the iDevices perfectly and the turn-based nature of the game give you time to think strategically about weapons, magic, health and mana etc.

    Making it realtime would ruin the gameplay. There's plenty or realtime RPG out there or coming. But there's not enough games like Undercroft!

    Personally, I dislike JRPGs, so I crave more titles like this one.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      I agree with the sentiment (thought personally I also like good JRPGs) but I think you have it backwards: these type of games started on PCs, with Wizardry on the Apple II being one the first, if not the original party-based 1st-person dungeon crawler. There was also EA's Bard's Tale and the original Might and Magic, both of which came first to the Apple II and PC years before they made it to the NES.

      In any event, it's a great game, one that shouldn't be passed up by RPG fans.

    • Angur

      Plenty? Please name these numerous realtime RPGs, upcoming or current. Now name those that are FPS RPG? 2? 3?

      • Noman

        Elder scrolls 3 and 4, Fallout 3, Fable 2 and 3, Mass Effect 1,2 and 3 etc, etc,

      • Angur

        *facepalm*

        RPGs on the IPHONE.

  • Noman

    oops, just noticed he was referring to idevice rpg's. Well there's still ravensword and xenome already out, with aralon, ravensword 2, project sword and mission europa upcoming. But let's be honest, If you want a really good rpg, stick to the pc :)

    • Peter

      I thinking of Aralon, Ravensword II and another whose name escapes me (but looks just as detailed as Aralon). And Dungeon Hunter II is nearly here. That's healthy.

      How many games like Undercroft are on their way? None that I know of. It's like comparing turn-based strategy to RTS. They have different gameplay dynamics, strengths and weaknessed, and both have their place. I love Warfare Inc - but I love Highborn even more.

      So this is plea for diversity in iPhone gaming. Don't build your latest and greatest around a realtime 3D engine, just because it's the latest thing - there's room for all types of gameplay.

      Squarezero: I'm sure you're right. I meant to say 16-bit home computers, not consoles. The first game of this specific type that I recall playing was Dungeon Master on the Atari ST and Amiga. But I romped through Eye of the Beholder II and enjoyed every second of the original Lands of Lore - goodwill which Westwood squandered with a succession of poor sequels built on bad 3D engines! Dare I say it; the original hand-drawn art was far superior.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder -- you're bringing back some fond gaming memories. Any of those would be a great addition to the App Store.

        The only reason I mentioned the PC/console issue is that you often hear from (younger) console gamers that the RPG genre was "invented" on the NES. Some of older folk, of course, know better ;).

      • Guillaume

        Aaaaaaah, Dungeon Master.... I must have played this game a thousand times on my Atari ST at the time, still playing it from time to time. I could almost draw the map of every levels with my eyes closed...

      • Guillaume

        I could pay A LOT for dungeon master on my iPhone

  • Noman

    oops, just noticed he was referring to idevice rpg's. Well there's still ravensword and xenome already out, with aralon, ravensword 2, project sword and mission europa upcoming. But let's be honest, If you want a really good rpg, stick to the pc :)

    • Peter

      I thinking of Aralon, Ravensword II and another whose name escapes me (but looks just as detailed as Aralon). And Dungeon Hunter II is nearly here. That's healthy.

      How many games like Undercroft are on their way? None that I know of. It's like comparing turn-based strategy to RTS. They have different gameplay dynamics, strengths and weaknessed, and both have their place. I love Warfare Inc - but I love Highborn even more.

      So this is plea for diversity in iPhone gaming. Don't build your latest and greatest around a realtime 3D engine, just because it's the latest thing - there's room for all types of gameplay.

      Squarezero: I'm sure you're right. I meant to say 16-bit home computers, not consoles. The first game of this specific type that I recall playing was Dungeon Master on the Atari ST and Amiga. But I romped through Eye of the Beholder II and enjoyed every second of the original Lands of Lore - goodwill which Westwood squandered with a succession of poor sequels built on bad 3D engines! Dare I say it; the original hand-drawn art was far superior.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder -- you're bringing back some fond gaming memories. Any of those would be a great addition to the App Store.

        The only reason I mentioned the PC/console issue is that you often hear from (younger) console gamers that the RPG genre was "invented" on the NES. Some of older folk, of course, know better ;).

      • Guillaume

        Aaaaaaah, Dungeon Master.... I must have played this game a thousand times on my Atari ST at the time, still playing it from time to time. I could almost draw the map of every levels with my eyes closed...

      • Guillaume

        I could pay A LOT for dungeon master on my iPhone

  • Pauly

    So should I delete my old original version and download this new one if the new one is going to be supported with updates?

    • Macatron

      I'm wondering that as well.

    • Adams Immersive

      If you have progress made, and might want to step back into that some time, then I’d hang on to the old one as well for a while. But if you’re OK just starting from scratch, I guess you may as well just dump the old and install the new! (The old will still be in your iTunes library if you ever want it anyway, assuming you only delete it on the device and not from your master library.)

  • Pauly

    So should I delete my old original version and download this new one if the new one is going to be supported with updates?

    • Macatron

      I'm wondering that as well.

    • Adams Immersive

      If you have progress made, and might want to step back into that some time, then I’d hang on to the old one as well for a while. But if you’re OK just starting from scratch, I guess you may as well just dump the old and install the new! (The old will still be in your iTunes library if you ever want it anyway, assuming you only delete it on the device and not from your master library.)

  • Thorero

    Excellent game, just downloaded it last night, and I'd agree with everyone else, easily the best RPG on the iDevice. Works well on the iPod, and runs great on the iPad.

  • Thorero

    Excellent game, just downloaded it last night, and I'd agree with everyone else, easily the best RPG on the iDevice. Works well on the iPod, and runs great on the iPad.

  • Erik

    Yup, Undercroft for free is the deal of the year for old-school RPG fans! The Undercroft guys got the interface & scope exactly right. I've been hoping we would see new adventures released based on the same engine.

    This is the only iPod RPG I've played to completion, without ever feeling like the stat management was tedious or the difficulty too unbalanced.

  • Erik

    Yup, Undercroft for free is the deal of the year for old-school RPG fans! The Undercroft guys got the interface & scope exactly right. I've been hoping we would see new adventures released based on the same engine.

    This is the only iPod RPG I've played to completion, without ever feeling like the stat management was tedious or the difficulty too unbalanced.

  • Yrogerg212

    I dunno, this game is pretty UNDERwhelming...

    Get it? I jest, game is fun.

  • Yrogerg212

    I dunno, this game is pretty UNDERwhelming...

    Get it? I jest, game is fun.

  • Bagpuss

    Great game! Interesting barrels. When you turn, they follow you! A minor minor thing though. The game is really funny and quite deep enough for me. No time these days to get all 'RPG obsessed' in a sick way. A good compromise: )

    • PahnCrd

      That's how it is in older PCRPGs that used a grid type navigation system. The Quest games do this too along with myriad other. You are still in the square that has the barrel in it, so you are able to see it since it is the thing you can interact with in that square.

  • Bagpuss

    Great game! Interesting barrels. When you turn, they follow you! A minor minor thing though. The game is really funny and quite deep enough for me. No time these days to get all 'RPG obsessed' in a sick way. A good compromise: )

    • PahnCrd

      That's how it is in older PCRPGs that used a grid type navigation system. The Quest games do this too along with myriad other. You are still in the square that has the barrel in it, so you are able to see it since it is the thing you can interact with in that square.

  • PahnCrd

    Can't find the sixth chicken. I HATE CHICKENS!!!! BLAARGH!!

    • PahnCrd

      I found the chicken, now I can continue with my life.

    • http://www.jonathanjk.com JonathanJK

      The 6th Chicken is in the Blacksmith's Garden. Do his quest to gain access, obtaining a key along the way.

  • PahnCrd

    Can't find the sixth chicken. I HATE CHICKENS!!!! BLAARGH!!

    • PahnCrd

      I found the chicken, now I can continue with my life.

    • http://www.jonathanjk.com JonathanJK

      The 6th Chicken is in the Blacksmith's Garden. Do his quest to gain access, obtaining a key along the way.

  • anonymous

    what's that with "evolved on 16bit consoles"? first person turn-based dungeon crawlers started out on home computers and stayed there. sure, there are console ports of wizardry, bard's tale, etc. and even some console exclusive crawlers like shining in the darkness, but those were never the main innovators in the genre.

    • anonymous

      oh i should have noticed the discussion went on. just ignore what i wrote there.

    • PahnCrd

      That's true. Started with the text only RPGs and then moved to games that had simple graphics representations. From there things evolved quickly.

  • anonymous

    what's that with "evolved on 16bit consoles"? first person turn-based dungeon crawlers started out on home computers and stayed there. sure, there are console ports of wizardry, bard's tale, etc. and even some console exclusive crawlers like shining in the darkness, but those were never the main innovators in the genre.

    • anonymous

      oh i should have noticed the discussion went on. just ignore what i wrote there.

    • PahnCrd

      That's true. Started with the text only RPGs and then moved to games that had simple graphics representations. From there things evolved quickly.

  • Reisclef

    This reminds me so much of the old school RPGs from the look of it. I've downloaded, and am just about to start playing. I hope the gameplay is similar to the Might & Magic game series, I was on the computer waaaay too many hours playing that game....

  • Reisclef

    This reminds me so much of the old school RPGs from the look of it. I've downloaded, and am just about to start playing. I hope the gameplay is similar to the Might & Magic game series, I was on the computer waaaay too many hours playing that game....

  • Trubbles

    Fantastic. Just fantastic.

    I grew up on games like Eye of the Beholder II and Lands of Lore. It took me many years to "accept" modern 3D RPGs because I just always loved the classic, thought (rather than action) based games of old.

    I can't put Undercroft down. I have tried every other RPG I could get my hands on for my iPhone and none have drawn me in like this. The writing is solid. The skill system is deep and complex enough to be satisfying, yet simple enough to fit onto this tiny device and work.

    There are a lot of modern touches that you don't find in the classic - such as seeing the enemy HP bars, inventory sorting, etc. The only feature that seems to be lacking (please correct me if I'm wrong) is a way to re-spec your ability/stat points.

    Other things I would like to see is a "hard" mode (normal is somewhat easy ... I am almost finished the game an I have yet to wipe) and, of course, sequels!!! I would happily pay $5 per game for more like this!

    Overall 9.7/10. (and I am stingy with my ratings ...)

  • Trubbles

    Fantastic. Just fantastic.

    I grew up on games like Eye of the Beholder II and Lands of Lore. It took me many years to "accept" modern 3D RPGs because I just always loved the classic, thought (rather than action) based games of old.

    I can't put Undercroft down. I have tried every other RPG I could get my hands on for my iPhone and none have drawn me in like this. The writing is solid. The skill system is deep and complex enough to be satisfying, yet simple enough to fit onto this tiny device and work.

    There are a lot of modern touches that you don't find in the classic - such as seeing the enemy HP bars, inventory sorting, etc. The only feature that seems to be lacking (please correct me if I'm wrong) is a way to re-spec your ability/stat points.

    Other things I would like to see is a "hard" mode (normal is somewhat easy ... I am almost finished the game an I have yet to wipe) and, of course, sequels!!! I would happily pay $5 per game for more like this!

    Overall 9.7/10. (and I am stingy with my ratings ...)

  • Akaa

    I found 4 chickens.. Checked all the other coordinates and there are no chickens!! WTF [4,15] [8,16] [12,9] [9,6] [11,11] [1,10]. Any advice??

  • Akaa

    I found 4 chickens.. Checked all the other coordinates and there are no chickens!! WTF [4,15] [8,16] [12,9] [9,6] [11,11] [1,10]. Any advice??

  • http://www.invisiblewonder.net Invisible Wonder

    I thought I was too jaded to enjoy anything so old school. I was wrong. I can't put this down! Thank you RiG and Jagex!

  • http://www.invisiblewonder.net Invisible Wonder

    I thought I was too jaded to enjoy anything so old school. I was wrong. I can't put this down! Thank you RiG and Jagex!

  • RubberbandAU

    I dream of someone putting Black Crypt onto the iPhone.

    That was my fave of all the turn-based rpgs although Dungon Master and Chaos Strikes Back were excellent too.

    PLEASE!!!!! :)

  • RubberbandAU

    I dream of someone putting Black Crypt onto the iPhone.

    That was my fave of all the turn-based rpgs although Dungon Master and Chaos Strikes Back were excellent too.

    PLEASE!!!!! :)

  • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

    I finished this and really enjoyed it. I had Final Fantasy 1 but I'm more of a PC Gamer than an old school console gamer, when I think console I think side scrollers, platformers, sports games. RPGs and Adventure games were PC gaming along with strategy games...

    I tried Perilar or whatever just now, even bought it. It just didn't seem very fun... It is definitely harder than Undercroft, in that just walking around you'll probably die, but how many bats and coyotes do you really need to kill? And besides saving the Kingdom and trying to get a better stick, what was my real first quest or call to adventure. Definitely would have rather paid 5 bucks for an Undercroft sequel or expansion...

  • Purplegreen123

    i cant find the tower key...its not in the book shelf

  • Devogen

    This game is pretty much like the classic Eye of the Beholder, in fact it's practically an identical game engine. I picked this up for free and am thoroughly enjoying it, younger kids wont like the graphics, but they are fools if they dont at least d/l it for free.

  • Skilled Bro (xarmyguyx)

    I'm too young (16) in the world of gaming, but one thing I was taught is that a game is not a high end graphic picture, it's a storyline and gameplay.

    I finished this game twice with a party of 4 on normal difficulty (hardcore gamers don't go for easy ;-] ) and I'm about to finish it in a solo party (one man party). For me, this is the best RPG ever.