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I like most of Hexage’s iOS offerings, Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman [Free] included. They have worked consistently to cement a signature art direction with each of their IP - colorful, simpler art that is easy on the eyes – and have backed up each new game with engaging mechanics to solidify its gameplay.

Reaper is no different.

As the Black Swordsman, you venture forth into the Wilderness to do everything one would expect an action-RPG to task. Those mundane quests are not important, much like the rest of the often charming and funny branching narrative Tale of a Pale Swordsman offers. Sure, the events that pass in Reaper help lightly build a world and characters, but also never get in the way of the combat – the meat and potatoes of this game.

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Combat is wonderfully methodical, occurs randomly - as well as during scripted quest events - and never fell victim to control frustrations or inconsistencies. Controls are gesture-based, flawless, and lend themselves to the pacing of the combat. Things like swiping up to pop-up an enemy for additional juggle damage or swiping left/right to dash-attack are very intuitive and quickly comfortable.

Combat encounters are essentially battle-arenas containing a set number of enemies to kill. Each arena, containing dangerous obstacles to avoid, are nicely designed and help freshen up each encounter as you persistently upgrade your pale swordsman with the XP earned from all those fetch quests. Enemies are also well designed and vary enough to keep combat engaging, ranging from those who can only be attacked from behind to pesky flying projectile launchers.

Reaper is free to try, up to a character level limit of 10. From there you must decide on one of three editions of purchase for Tale of a Pale Swordsman - a purchasing model I feel confuses the potential buyer into buying into the game either not enough, or too much. (Gross.) Adventure (edition) is $2.99 and simply more of what you saw from the freemium. For a respective $1-2 dollars more Destiny and Dark Legend adds some more fun to the mix with a gambling combat arena, repeatable quests, higher level dark loot, and more.

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How the player is expected to know which edition to invest in is beyond me. These pricing models are unfriendly to the consumer and just not the kind I often stand by. I can say I quite enjoyed the additional content found in the Dark Legend edition, but not enough to recommend it to anyone who’s not head-over-heels for the game once prompted for a purchase.

With Tale of a Pale Swordsman it’s going to come down to how much you like it’s combat, as much of the game is one note. I found it fun in short bursts – if not for a bit long-winded in later stages of the game – and loved how it grew more comfortable, and easy to manage, the more you play. As far as built-for-mobile action RPGs go, Reaper is worth every free second you have - if you find yourself enjoying what you see from the freemium period. The beauty of free-to-try is… you get to see for yourself. My job is then to tell you what comes after.

In Reaper’s case: more of the same... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    I personally really like the pay model involved in Reaper, to an extent. They believe in their game so much so as letting you play up to level 10 at which point you can choose to unlock the game for $2.99. That I like. As far as the additional content, I agree that it's a bit confusing. No one knows which version to buy because its hard to know what the benefits are of that version. They kind of remedied this by allowing you to upgrade from one price to another ($2.99 version can upgrade to Destiny version for $.99) but still tough and confusing to understand exactly why or what you get. It's a clever way to drive additional sales without scaring everyone away with a straight up $4.99 price point.

  • KozmoMan

    A fine review and a really good game but have to agree with the problem about the pricing.You cant just be sure about what you get for your buck.

  • themostunclean

    Just my opinion but I would have thrown another half a star onto this. There's an info button in the IAP menu that describes in detail what each of the edition contains- so I don't know exactly what's supposed to be confusing about it.

    • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

      At first read I agreed, however look in the forum. There are a bunch of people asking which version to go with. That gives perspective as to how confusing it ultimately is. I agree on 4 stars.

      • themostunclean

        From what I have seen in the forums, most if the confusion is coming from people who seem to have missed the info button. One of the more recent posters specifically mentions missing it.

        It seems the fault isn't with the game but more with the players not being observant. They could make the button larger or integrate the description into the IAP menu.

  • Diaboliq

    I love this game a lot! I don't think it's that muc of a confusing at model

  • Rejera

    Don't be scared by the 3 1/2 stars. This is an amazing ARPG. Yes the price model is a little confusing, but paying the $5 is totally worth it.

  • iTester

    Nice game but complicated controls

    • shirefolksam

      I would have to duly disagree with this. how are they complicated? Simple taps and swipes that work pretty flawlessly.

    • shirefolksam

      fully* >.<

    • themostunclean

      Very simple but fluid controls, actually. Fantastic implementation for a touch screen.

  • Try Harder Games

    Seriously? So you are giving miserable 3,5 stars to a game that deserves at leas 4,5 starts because you have a different idea of monetization than Hexage? GO AND READ THE REVIEWS ON GOOGLE PLAY, people actually like it this way ...

    • Xissoric

      Completely agreed, this game deserves at least 4 stars, this reviewer is ridiculous. You should be reviewing how fun a game is not how complicated buying it is, when all it takes is a little common sense to figure it out.

  • shirefolksam

    I've also gotta post here and say that this game is worth a higher rating that 3.5 stars. I did not find the IAP model to be confusing (click the info button and read..?) This IAP model is much better than other freemium crap. This is a really fun game and worth the $5 for the full unlock in my opinion.

  • shirefolksam

    Also they have seamless iCloud support, which is always very welcome.

    • themostunclean

      Yes! Works better than many of the big titles from major developers on iOS.

      I can switch freely between devices and it updates immediately.

  • houseofg

    I registered just to comment, I was so taken aback by the rating. I am glad to see all the comments along the same lines, that a 3.5 rating for this game is insufficient. The game is gorgeous, with brilliant controls, highly addictive gameplay, hours and hours of content, and a fair/tiered IAP structure.

  • cloudpuff

    Disappointed to see such a low rating for such a great game.
    There is a detailed list which explains what comes with each package, how is that confusing? If my 8 year old daughter can understand it, it can't be that hard. I think most of the queries about which option to get was more about people wondering if it was worth paying extra, not that they didn't know what they were purchasing.

    I hope people don't let the crap rating put them off buying as it really is a great game, it makes a nice change from the freemium model and has provided hours and hours of fun for myself (33 year old housewife) my husband (big bald brute) and my daughter (8yearl old tomboy) on our devices so it has something for everyone.

  • Tonk Montana

    I too am very disappointed by this review score. The game is beautiful and most importantly, fun. These developers rely on these reviews as I for one initially check out games based on reviews and comments.

    The pay model is fine and much better than Freemium. Reviews like this only serve to keep horrible Freemium games being the standard. Judge games on their merit and gameplay...not your annoyance at a little confusion that many others don't have.

    In short, this is an awesome game deserving at least 4 stars and worth everyone's time.

  • Royce

    This review is pretty poor. First of all, every use of the word freemium needs to be removed because that is more likely to confuse people than the games's pricing structure. This game has a free (not freemium) trial period. There are no timers, no consumable IAP currency, no freemium. It's try it and buy, trial and full version. The payment model is simple if not well explained. It's free until level 10, $3 for the full game, $1 for bonus content, $1 more for more bonus content. Whether you want the bonus content is up to you. You can buy the full game and then upgrade to the higher bonus tiers for only the difference in price (1 or 2 dollars depending on which one) whenever you decide you want the extra stuff. Also, the additional game mode added with the $5 unlock is easily worth the $2 alone. Finally 3.5 stars? C'mon the review reads like 4.5 to 5 except for the payment model you couldn't wrap your head around. Is that really a reason to dock it by 30%?

  • jeffyg3

    This is EASILY a much better game than 3.5 stars...and I'm not understanding what's so confusing about the pricing, seemed pretty simple in the description in-game. It's also absolutely idiotic the review states it's freemium. I don't think the reviewer has a clue what freemium games are, this is not one of them.

  • Paumask

    I actually like this pay model. The free part is very long, so you have the time to get comfortable with the game, going deep in the storyline. This gives you enough gameplay to decide whether you like the game, and want more of it, or not.

    Besides, I really fancy the game itself and I'm definitely buy the full version (the medium pack, probably)

  • Setia Negara

    3.5 stars? because those useless IAP in other game is better than reaper's pricing model?

  • The Son of Anarchy

    Each time I play this I fall deeper in love with Reaper and everything about it including the pricing model. My GOTW hands down. I would have bought it regardless because I know Hexage is all about quality and they always have something unique in gameplay. I have all of their stuff and a few titles have permanent places on all of my idevices, Robotek and Radient HD come to mind. Not sure what the fuss is about pricing model, I personally understood it straight away before dropping the cash on the third option cause I don't like feeling like I'm missing out on something in my games but that's just me. I haven't even gotten to the bits yet that I paid the extra money for but already I feel I've well and truly gotten my monies worth. This is just my two cents, I'm not aiming to start a conversation (argument) nor am I trying to answer other ppls posts, just wanted to say a little about my experience with Reaper so far.

  • philadendron

    Have to say this is my first Hexage game and it's gorgeous. Visuals, sound, controls, and story are all a cut above a lot of stuff out there. It's kind of like Zelda with simpler controls and side scrolling. I've been playing for an hour and I feel like a criminal, since it was free! At level 8, so I still probably have 20 minutes left before I have to pay. Great game.

Reaper – Tale of a Pale Swordsman Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 3.5