Seeing a remarkable resurgence on the App Store lately, developers seem to have flocked to the rogue-like to try and create the next cool simplified adventure. Tales of the Adventure Company [$1.99] tackles this trend in a different manner, by combining some of those rogue elements with a traditional, tile-based puzzler’s look and feel. It also succeeds at melding these genres to a degree far higher than most games, making it an excellent combination of puzzle and strategic depth.

Tales is a bit hard to describe gameplay-wise, but I would best classify as a combination of Disco Zoo [Free] mixed with a few simplified elements from Dungelot [$0.99]. Each episode tasks the party with exploring a seven floor dungeon filled with enemies and heroes. Floors are explored by simply tapping on a tile to reveal what’s underneath. A random enemy on each floor holds the key to the next floor while rescuing heroes allows you to recruit them to your party (a maximum of four heroes to a party at a time). Enemy battles take place via simple turn-based combat with attack power and hit points as the sole stats. The last floor of each episode features a boss battle and defeating all the boss enemies wins the episode and unlocks the next.

IMG_2760Sounds simple, but like all great puzzle games, Tales has a lot of hidden depth that makes it even better. The Disco Zoo inspiration comes into play with the fact that each enemy and hero on a floor has set patterns, allowing players to easily predict where all the enemy tiles are once you’ve unveiled a few. Adding to the strategy is a turn limit for each episode; players always have 100 turns to make it through all seven floors (the game ends if you don’t finish within the limit). The randomness of where the key is hidden comes into play, but a good player will be able to manage their heroes and battles along with understanding where each of the enemies and heroes are via their patterns in order to make each tile reveal as efficient as possible.

Speaking of heroes, Tales has a large variety of heroes and each has cool little traits that really change how players approach the game. Some specialize in doing damage while others focus on healing. For example, putting the Archer at the lead will cause any enemy revealed to take damage while the Priest will heal one hit point on the weakest. Those are pretty simple traits but others like the Adventurer (which gives you a free turn when you reveal an enemy) are a bit more nuanced. Regardless, once you find your party, there’s a lot of strategy involved with deciding which heroes should be in the lead depending on your current priorities. It’s a simple but awesome system that works very well.

IMG_2758As if all the above wasn’t enough, each enemy and boss in Tales also has their own unique traits to take into account. Some enemies alter their own stats depending on enemies and tiles revealed, while others can simply cause party damage when revealed, or lower hero attack strengths when defeated. So, in addition to the simply keeping tabs on the appropriate heroes for which situations, you also have to make sure that you’re discovering and attacking enemies in the most efficient manner.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really love how all the elements come into play in Tales of the Adventure Company. Episode runs are the perfect length for portable play. Meanwhile, persistent quests attached to each episode encourage replayability and can be essential as quite a few award permanent stat increases to all heroes, a necessity to survive later episodes. There are a lot of small facets to keep track of, but they all come together into a surprisingly cohesive puzzle title that is both approachable and deep. Most importantly, this is a game that rewards the player that pays attention to and takes into account all these little strategic elements.

A perfect example of how to take a simple puzzle game to the next level, Tales of the Adventure Company is an awesome game that everyone needs to check out. It’s perfectly developed for the platform, hits all the elements for a great puzzle/RPG and adds some new twists in how it combines previously seen elements. If you haven’t checked this out already, you really need to download it now.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Skyfluks

    None of you getting sick of all these retro style games..?

    • JJE McManus

      Totally

    • Design by Adrian

      Nope.

      • Design by Adrian

        Correction: Some - not all, not none.

      • VanessaFrostickava

        just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I
        didn't believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
        there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
        about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
        bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

    • Slothwerks

      Developer here. I felt it worked pretty well for this game, and given the number of different heroes/monsters, the only feasible option for a single developer/artist (I did both) to draw all the sprites. Roguelikes also have a long history of pixel/retro style graphics as well, and are quite popular in the genre.

      I know it's not for everyone, but hopefully that explains why I went with this approach.

      • Pingo

        It looks beautiful. I really like the art style.

      • unexpect3rd

        I'd just downloaded, coincidentally I was playing Disco zoo recently before their update, and I liked what you did with the grid/explore mechanic. Well done.

      • Slothwerks

        Thanks! Yeah, played Disco Zoo for hours; it was a huge inspiration, with their unique puzzle mechanics.

    • Jetjet

      Absolutely not ! Try this game and you'll speak another song !

    • LarryWP

      Yes!

    • Jay G

      Not really, but the term "roguelike" is starting to make me cringe.

      • LarryWP

        Rogue like is a bit overused now.

    • Pepelutin

      In the end, i don't care about the style, Fun is the only important thing. Fun for players and passion from the devs!

  • Billy Ocean

    the constant menu pop ups to switch between characters is pretty annoying. there is a lot of charm here, though.

    • Slothwerks

      Not totally obvious, but you can also long-press/tap to switch between characters.

      • Billy Ocean

        oh, cool. thanks for the heads up on that!

  • Slothwerks

    Developer here! Still working on the next update, which will add an additional episode to the game. Glad to answer any questions about the game!

    • Jerutix

      Woo! You got a great review! Congratulations!

      • Slothwerks

        Thanks! Was really pleased/excited to see such a great review for Adventure Company!

    • Zenfar

      Congrats on the game, always fun to see your hard work appear in the AppStore, love this RPG Puzzle Mashup!

  • Elle Wong

    This is the game that I hoped Dungelot 2 would be. Lots of dungeon, challenging strategy, and no IAP grinding.

    • Slothwerks

      Awesome, glad you enjoyed! I was definitely inspired by Dungelot as well, but wanted to address some of the aspects I didn't like as much.

  • xicao

    Poor copy of "knights of pen and paper"?

    • Design by Adrian

      Or not at all?

    • Slothwerks

      Not at all similar to Knights of Pen and Paper, but that's an awesome game too :P

  • Zenfar

    Fun looking game, thanks for the review.

  • Slothwerks

    Thanks! Had a lot of fun doing both the code and the artwork :)

Tales of the Adventure Company Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4.5