When released back in 2009, the original Zenonia was one of the first full fledged action RPG's on the App Store. Gamevil received heaps of praise for both the first and second installment in the series, and Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story [$4.99] seems to live up to the ever-increasing quality iOS gamers come to expect from their sequels.

The first thing I have to say about Gamevil is that their art style is fantastic, they really are masters of sprite-based animation and this game looks amazing. They've managed to provide a great retro pixelized feel while still taking full advantage of the crispness offered by the Retina Display of recent iOS devices. Zenonia 2 looked great, and 3 somehow looks even better.

The story follows the typical cliche RPG plotline. You play as Chael who has mysteriously found himself smack dab in the middle of an epic battle between good and evil, and while the story doesn't feel original by any stretch of the imagination, it's been localized extremely well and is a fairly enjoyable one to play through. Interestingly enough, not once did I feel like I was playing a game that wasn't intended for an American audience which has been a bit of an issue in previous Zenonia titles. Though some of the dialogue can be a bit tedious, if you pay attention there's actually some pretty funny lines throughout the game.

When you start the game, you've given the choice of four different classes. There are two melee fighters: A heavy hitting Sword Night, or the more agile Shadow Hunter. If you prefer a ranged combat class you can choose between the weapons-focused Mechanic Launcher, or the magic-weilding Nature Shaman (which is my personal favorite). Each class has their own unique abilities and equipment but overall won't change how the game plays in any substantial way, but instead, which abilities you mash as you grind.

If you've never played a Korean RPG before, I'll go ahead and warn you now. Be prepared to grind. This game requires a lot of button smashing throughout the entirety, and for some people this might get fairly repetitive. Thankfully, there are quite a few boss battles which are a lot of fun that serve to break up the monotony. That is, if your character is leveled up properly. How do you level up? Grinding mostly, usually guided by quests involving killing X number of monsters or picking up Y number of dropped items by killing potentially even more monsters. There are a good number of side quests too, so keep your eye out for those.

Aside from the games graphics being improved from the earlier titles, not too much has changed in the core gameplay aside from the removal of the annoying hunger and weight systems from previous games. Playing Zenonia 3 basically amounts to entering a zone, killing monsters, earning experience, and upgrading your character. Wash, rinse, repeat. For a lot of gamers this is exactly what they're looking for in an action RPG and if this sounds like your style you won't be disappointed at all, I know i wasn't.

The amount of leveling and customization that can be done with your character is insane with tons of equipment, crafting, and upgrades available. It seems like you're almost always upgrading something, which does a great job of keeping you playing as yet another upgrade always seems right around the corner.

The one major issue I have with Zenonia 3 is that even though boss battles are totally welcome, they can get extremely difficult, especially the final boss. If you're not leveled up properly you will have to spend "zen points" when you die or risk taking penalties that will last the remainder of the game.

Zenonia 3 comes with 5000 zen points and once they're gone, they're gone. Be warned that using up all your zen points will leave you with two options, either buy more via in-app purchase or take the penalties like less experience, gold, and equipment durability. You can earn zen points by competing in the PvP modes or spamming social services, but if your focus is on single player, and you don't want to take death penalties, you'll likely be forced into buying them.

Luckily, one of the new additions to Zenonia 3 will help level your character without the risk of penalties through the use of what's called "execution rooms". You move from room to room very quickly, killing tons of monsters, and earning loads of experience. They've even implemented a co-op feature to allow you to grind through execution rooms with a friend online. This is really the best way to level up your character, as you both get loads of experience quickly and aren't forced into choosing between spending zen points or taking penalties when you die.

Another nice addition in Zenonia 3 is a PvP mode, where you can pit your character against other players online to earn experience and gold. Similar to Baseball Superstars' online mode, these battles don't take place in real time, and instead you're mostly just fighting a battle between your two characters' stats and equipment. Still, it's a lot of fun.

Zenonia 3 is a quintessential Korean action RPG. It has a lot of grinding, mixed with a decent storyline, and great sprite-based graphics. Kinks from previous games in the series have been ironed out (like the previously mentioned hunger and weight systems) and the new menus, customizable UI's, and character skill trees are welcome improvements. If you're nervous about getting involved in the Zenonia series, Zenonia 2 Lite [Free] is a great no-risk way to see if you like these kind of games or not. If grinding isn't an issue, and you're OK with the zany IAP-powered zen points system, you'll have a ton of fun with Zenonia 3.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • Anonymous

    I was quite excited until I read the part about zen points. I'm not sure if it's just the way the article is written, but it sounds like the game takes a real dive once they run out. I'm not going to keep paying just to ensure the game remains somewhat enjoyable.

    • None

      It may sound bad, but it's just like Origin of Life in the other 2 games. Except you could buy Origins for gold, this game just adds a little more challenge. 

    • Kmb5279

      well i play once youre out of Zen it doesnt matter... just keep goin u can get beta stuff without zen

    • Sixheadgoddragon

      You can do with the zen :D

    • Loveswagg24

      that what i was thinking

    • Chuck Mathewson

      No, ive played it with 0 ZEN points the whole time.....and i absolutely love it, trust me you will not want to put it down, i couldnt put it down for 5 whole staright days until i beat it, and now its still my favorite app

      • Mhscribblenauts

        me to i have not put down for two whole weeks

    • helper

      u dont have to worry about spending money on zen . .  .because once u have spent all your zen and u feel your dieing to all bosses . . . there r somethings called execution room . . it might ask u for a max of 3000 coins !!! but its worth it . . . believe me u will get tons of experience and in the end might get a rare or magic equipment for free for your battling !!and other people can battle along with u and u would still get the same amount of experience . . . .u can start using the execution rooms anytime . . .just go speak to the white figure in each town . . tats all and if u want lots of cash go mine . . .more u mine more cash and sell all tat u hav mined in the maru shop for tons of cash !!!which u can spend in the execution room . . .initial cash asked will be below 1000. . . but max they will ask is 3000 coins not more than tat(coins as in NORMAL COINS in the game NOT ZEN)

  • gee

    i love this game, it rocks!!!!

  • http://hxg.square7.ch/blog/ WrongMovie

    Hvaen't played 2 yet, but have they improved this annoying walking mechanic?

    • haiykuw

      I'm currently playing the first Zenonia now. What "annoying" walking mechanic?

      • Blueknight1st

        He is probably talking about the fact that the controls suck so hard that the character spazzes out and goes everywhere except where you wanted to go whenever you so much as try to take a step.

  • Bluehomeanimal

    There is no need to spend zen points whatsoever to complete the game (unless you mess up your stat build then you might need the restat stone). I've completed the game twice (lvl 99 ML and atm Hard Mode for the Knight, lvl 60). The Knight is by far the easiest character to use to complete the game in the quickest time as normal mode took me approx. 9hrs using the ML but 4hrs for the Knight.
    If you die then open your multitask bar and delete the zenonia 3 icon. Open the game again, and proceed. If you keep dying then use a teleport scroll and grind in the extermination room to lvl up and to get some better equipment.
    Plus you get 2 origins of life at the start of the game, so if you want to revive without starting from your save point then you can (I kept them for final boss battle).
    I have all three Zenonia titles and imo, this is the best one out of the three. My only gripe at the game is that there are hackers already who have characters that are impossible to beat.
    If you need help with your character build then go to the zenonia 3 toucharcade forum thread or the one at Gamevil (people are selling/giving away some awesome equipment here).

    Question - Has anyone found any unique items yet? Ive racked up 30hrs with my ML and still none, Do they exist?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.hetherington1 Kevin Hetherington

      Yes I have found a lot of them...I'm talking 10+

    • Benny

      Whoa. How did you get to level 99? First time playing with ML and I'm level 60 max. Don't tell me I'm in hard mode for some reason?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TIFW47TQC3W5DDM4WA3YAZ2HPU that one guy

      i have a complete unique "heroic" set it is 94-97 with set effect of 20% attack 15% critical hp+2500 def+20% and sp usage-15% very useful since i have 10k + hp now :P

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Ana-Naxal/100003310530634 Amy Ana Naxal

      why my lvl not up 61... my char lvl 60 not move to 61.. why? plzz tell me

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1207038244 Ron Goodrich

    I got about halfway through the first one. Would I be missing much if I just picked this one up and played it?

    • Tafsdf

      no

  • Keth

    Sooo...a korean mmo...with the grind..and cash shop...except its not a mmo? Wow, awesome! /sarcasm

  • Backtothis

    Excellent follow up review man. Looks like your writing is just at home here.

    Zenonia 3 is indeed the best KRPG available on the iOS now. There's honestly no competition anymore. Zen points in no way are detrimental to the game, but actually add more to the game. You'll never be required to purchase any with real money to get through parts of the game and can earn additional points for every achievement earned. It's simply just a must-have gave for die hard RPG fans and iOS gamers alike.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.hetherington1 Kevin Hetherington

    How many times did you die...jeez. Beating the whole game I only died maybe 5 times and why bother using a origin of life the dura loss is small, but I also bought the traveling blacksmith with my points first.

    You also forgot to mention all the other ways to get zen points. You can get it from pvp and from posting your achievements on a fake twitter and facebook account.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Federico-Astica/1003533711 Federico Astica

    The game is great but it doesn't support Retina.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.hetherington1 Kevin Hetherington

      Go play zenonia 2 (demo if you have to) and then load up zenonia 3. It definitely has retina.

  • geehoo

    Man, the controls and graphics respond veerrry slowly on my ancient ipod touch 2g. :(

  • EastsideStompers

    I really want to get into this game, but damn, the text you can't control goes by soooo fast. I feel like I'm playing on speed. Maybe I'm just getting old. Or maybe Koreans think that English speaking people read like lightning. Just give me a friggin' second to soak up the fictional world I'm supposed to believe in....pretty please.

    • Max Vowels

      i think the text goes by super slow make sure you dont have your finger on the screen it speeds the text up if you tap and hold

  • Simon

    I really liked Zenonia 1. Played Zenonia 2 as well, but didn't found it to be very enjoyable. The gameplay and story overall were well done, but the ingame menu was outright horrible. It felt like it was added last-minute, not tested at all, and then never touched again.

    I think i'll wait for a lite version. I wouldn't buy this again without having a look at the UI quality first.

    • The Boss

      this guy like a boss

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YXA5KNRERVYHC7C4SGNRH6FHEQ Eddie Lin

    Mother's Day approaching, you worried? What are you going to buy? If your
    mother (or wife) does not tell you what, she hoped Mother's Day from
    http://www.jordan007.com
    should pick something that make her happy! And we all know, a happy mom a
    happy you! So what then begin pick up a gift to your mother. Here we wish your
    mothers a beautiful world!

    http://www.jordan007.com

    http://www.jordan007.com

    http://www.jordan007.com

  • Max Vowels

    my favorite thing about the zenonia series is the way they keep the same style of graphics but change it enough to keep it interesting and new. my favorite games on iphone/ipod touch. also try the inotia series by com2us another really good set of games

    • ZenoniavsInotia

      Lmfao same here ive finished Inotia 3 and the ending made me cry i was so obsessed with the game it took me 3 weeks and 6 days just to get over the ending

  • Thebeast008

    it's awesome, but the shooter should be back from zenonia 2 coz she's pretty tough

  • BestBeast

    I can't get past those spoke bars when you gotta go hmget regret!!!! I've died like 20 time trying to get it and I can't!!!!! Someone plz help me

  • ZenoniavsInotia

    Lol i quit Zenonia 1 cause it whooped my ass after vs that boss who's a zombie.I quit playing Zenonia 2 cause for Lu i was what...lvl 20 something i couldnt pass a boss,Ence because im not good at long range,Daza because well, actually i think there was nothing bad about him i might play Zenonia 2 as him again anyway and about Morpice i really liked the style of his fighting he was good it's just that he doesnt really have good defence i guess he was the only ranged class i could actually play anyway not only was his defence but him lvling up was also a pain,it took me 2 days geting him upto lvl 10 and i play games for atleast 16 hours per day Lmfao including toilet breaks as well

  • lolwut

    nah the game is pretty easy. i never use zen, and can kill final boss with 4 1200HP. just use dexterity-based char (assasin/launcher) and put all skill points to dex. by the time u reach lv 50 ur evasion is over 100%. Final boss will be done in less than 10 sec

  • Hitokiribattosai15

    I can not for the life of me figure out how to pick stuff up from fallen enemies. Playing on an android phone.

  • Beefstew83

    Really? I have the Android version and all I do is hit the Action button(the one you use to attack and other stuff) and as long as I'm close to the object I get it.

  • WingSurvivor

    this game is fun and easy,luxferre is the easiest boss

    • XxkdragonxX

      how do i use the pickaxe on on my ipod4
       

    • XxkdragonxX

      how do i use the pickaxe on on my ipod4
       

  • nunyobusiness

    does anyone know what the mural says in akun temple. exactly

  • ZzIc3zZ

    anyone pls help! I m playing using normal mode but once I reached level max 60... I cant level up again... I really love this game how m i continue to play finish all? how to change the game difficulty mode?

    • firelord

      the game had 3 modes normal, hard and hell. on normal the max lvl is 60 to go higher you have to beat the end boss whitch will reset the game to the bigining( u keep all ur inventory and your lvl) and u will be able to lvl higher than 60 but in  hard node all mobs will also be higher lvls after finishing this mode the true ending will be revealed

    • Qwertyuiop

      beat the game in normal mode

    • toton.ricco

      just follow the main quest and once you finish it you can change its difficulty

  • Qwertyuiop

    pinoy boy im lv 70 im nine years old!

  • Shippo thefox

    I really love this game! Although the final boss was really difficult(and it's frustrating that i have to kill the top supervisors and tariq all over again if I lose) I'm still trying to beat the end but this game is AMZAING!!!!! I cannot put it down! it is just like a good book, once you start, you're addicted until you finish.

  • adolix

    hehe..like this game..hmm..hey guys send me something zenonia by email my id is adolix..^^

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZZ3OIJLROXLN6B7RN3KQBO2VU Jeremiah Raijah

    Can anyone Give me gold name is:Shadowkill69
    And If You Need A Partner(In Execution Room) use my level 83 sword knight and nature shaman lvl 41

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Ana-Naxal/100003310530634 Amy Ana Naxal

      hi how wnt go up lvl 61. my lvl dont move lvl 61 why?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZZ3OIJLROXLN6B7RN3KQBO2VU Jeremiah Raijah

    k thx
    :)

  • http://twitter.com/JefferyLackey Jeffery Lackey

    What are the two best characters in Zenonia 3? I have a 99 warrior but still getting handled by a Mage and launcher

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Ana-Naxal/100003310530634 Amy Ana Naxal

      hye how wnt go to lvl 61.. i dont move go to lvl 61.. why?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Ana-Naxal/100003310530634 Amy Ana Naxal

    he stay lvl 60

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Ana-Naxal/100003310530634 Amy Ana Naxal

    hye guys howwnt go to lvl 61 my lvl stay lvl 60... plzz give tell me

    • tai nguyen

      you need to finish the game to lvl up,

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D5HWZMB77IGATIIV4AUUJLXXJU Moi

    where to find the cloud plateau platform ? darn I'm so tired of finding it. I go back to delfoy to repair my equips coz they got broked then I'm going back to the cloud but I couldn't find it. please help me .

  • http://twitter.com/AlmirInTheHouse älMïR jøHn Lûcênä

    i cannot repair my items in my Samsung galaxy tab 7.0 +

    cant continue to play unless i repair my items 

  • http://www.facebook.com/zhyke16 Ako Sii Zhyke

    send me ZEN please??

    id
    zhyke16

ZENONIA® 3 Reviewed by Brian Johnson on . Rating: 4