Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Tales of the Adventure Company' Review - A Fine Tale, Indeed

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...

Die-hard Kemco fans, or sufferers as we are known to normal people, know that for whatever reason, Kemco's games usually hit Android before iOS. Typically, the iOS versions lag behind by a month or two, but there have been a couple of instances where Kemco skipped to the next game instead. As of this month, one of those two skipped titles has finally seen release on iOS, some eight months after the Android release. For any other publisher, that's not a very long time, but for Kemco, that's somewhere around eight releases ago, and as a result, Link of Hearts [$3.99] feels a bit outdated in several respects. Well, more outdated than usual, I guess I should say...

Just imagine how great the world would be if everything lived up to its potential. We'd have flying cars, safe clean-burning energy for all, a Stanley Cup-winning team in Vancouver, and Elthinia [$2.99] wouldn't be a terrible mess of a game. Unfortunately, here in the real world, potential sometimes amounts to very little except disappointment. If you play Elthinia, and I strongly assert that you should not, you can see the potential all over the place. The battle artwork is really good, the story is extremely detailed, character progression and customization are surprisingly deep, and the world seems like a place I'd like to explore. The first problem is that this is very clearly not a finished product. To be very fair, I waited until the game had its first patch since it was supposed to be coming quickly and fixing some very important things. Well, the game is still full of bugs, both major and minor, but the game is out there on the store for anyone to buy, so it's fair game for criticism...

Card battles and rogue-likes probably aren’t a combination you necessarily think about, but that’s exactly what you get in Dream Quest [$2.99]. It may sound weird, but it actually works very well, with some potentially deep gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. Unfortunately, outside of the battle system there’s a lot to be desired, but Dream Quest still has enough going for it to be worth exploring...

While I enjoy a big budget RPG production like any fan of the genre does, I'm also a pretty big fan of checking out what the little guys are up to. That's because when it comes to RPGs, perhaps more than most genres, you don't need a huge budget or a massive studio to realize your gameplay ideas. It doesn't hurt, mind you, but it's arguable that the very core of video game RPGs is in realizing abstract ideas through more practical means. It's why companies like Atlus and Falcom who work with budgets many times smaller than someone like Square-Enix are still able to capture the hearts of RPG lovers just the same. To be honest, finding an innovative RPG with ideas that connect well with me tends to be a bit rare, but the enjoyment I get from them when I do find them makes the search more than worthwhile...

As regular readers know by now, I like to get into games like Fable Age [Free] and basically go as far as I can without spending anything. It's an enjoyable challenge sometimes, like doing a solo or white mage run in Final Fantasy [$8.99]. Most of these games are actually very playable even if you don't want to kick in money or a lot of time, and Fable Age is no exception. Whether you want to pull off a little clever trick to get yourself a super-powerful character upfront or you just want to play it straight and slowly build up through persistance and a bit of luck, it's easy and fun to make progress in this game at a reasonable pace. As usual, after sinking some time into this, I've put together some tips and advice for anyone who's getting started with Fable Age...

Puzzle And Dragons [Free] is a scorching hot hit in many Asian countries, but while it's done quite well in Western countries, it hasn't had quite the same dominance. So, while Eastern publishers are scrambling hand over fist to try to catch a little lightning in a bottle with their own takes on the idea, we actually haven't seen all that many straight attempts from Western publishers. Enter Gameloft, one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of mobile gaming. It's been known for many things in its history: making, shall we say, heavily inspired homages to popular titles, pushing extremely high-quality production values, and recently, making free-to-play games and pushing mandatory online connections. Their latest title, Dungeon Gems [Free], is all of those things wrapped up into one neat little package...

DUNGEONy [$2.99] is a curious game because while it's a turn-based roguelike, and certainly those are not rare, but it's more of a puzzle game set around roguelike mechanics than an actual roguelike...

They ventured into outer space, starred in their own cartoon series, and even wrestled with the idea of Go-Kart racing, but now our favorite feathery icons have left their physics puzzling roots behind and nose-dived into an all new medium. Sticking with the all-familiar theme, (involving birds, pigs, and the ever iconic eggs), the feathered flock have found themselves yet again in the midst of an all-out war, and in the form of a cute strategic RPG nonetheless. Angry Birds Epic [Free] is, underneath it all, a game with familiar role-playing mechanics, but a far cry from the norm; there’s no princess to rescue or the customary “chosen one”, nor are their side-quests to unlock or towns to explore. No, Angry Birds Epic is a non-stop consecutive procession of turn-based fights that are selected from a slightly linear (and rather Mario-esque) map. ..

We're now well into what I'd say is the next generation of Puzzle & Dragons [Free] imitators coming from Japanese developers, and with games like Rise of Mana and Final Fantasy Agito, it's clear the big boys are arriving and bringing their hefty budgets and resources with them. These days, it seems like if a Japanese publisher has an RPG property to leverage, a social RPG for mobiles with that property is almost inevitable. It also means if you see an old, familiar name from the past pop up on the Japanese App Store, you shouldn't expect anything other than a variation on collect 'em/fuse 'em/evolve 'em/battle 'em. I shouldn't have been surprised that SEGA's new Phantasy Star Online 2 es is just that, yet for some reason, I had hoped this would be something closer to the spin-off it's spinning off of...

You can file this one in the "better late than never" folder with Blek [$2.99]. A Dark Room [$0.99] released several months back, but due to a horrific accident in the TouchArcade break room involving the microwave oven and a can of non-dairy powdered cream, it fell between the cracks. Well, I stuck a piece of chewing gum to the end of a stick and pulled this interesting little game out of that crack. I also found my keys. I'm glad for both, since not only can I get back into my home, I also got to enjoy a really unusual and entertaining adventure. It's one of those games that you finish and want to talk about almost immediately, and so, here we are...

'Battleheart Legacy' Review - This RPG is Among the Best Games I've Played This Year

Turning the clocks back to early 2011 brings us to the original release of Mika Mobile's Battleheart [$2.99]. It's hard to forget for me, as I was living in Paris for a few months at the time, but instead of doing all sorts of Parisian things I was pounding away at monsters on my iPad. It was impossible to put down, as Battleheart did something totally unique in that it allowed you to effortlessly control a whole party of dudes in a MMO-feeling boss encounter, with fairly complicated boss gimmicks, without ever feeling frustrating. If you haven't played it, I still highly recommend the game- Or at least reading our review of it...

'Dragon Quest VIII' Review - One Of Japan's Most Epic RPGs Gets A Slightly Less Epic Port

The Dragon Quest series has had an odd relationship with western gamers. It's a bonafide cultural icon in its home country of Japan in a way few games have managed to become anywhere. I mean, as I type this review, I can hear the theme being played by a school band at the local elementary school, and that's hardly a rare occurrence. However, it's never quite taken in the west, and it's certainly not for lack of trying. Nintendo gave the first game a massive push, overhauling the graphics, interface, and save system, and featuring it prominently in their magazine Nintendo Power, only to be left with so many unsold cartridges they ended up giving them away with subscriptions. Enix of America quietly translated and released the other three NES games, then disappeared shortly into the 16-bit generation before they could release Dragon Quest 5 and 6. Enix of America then briefly reappeared in the PlayStation 1 era, translating the massive Dragon Quest 7. Unfortunately, that game was about as pretty as the south end of a northbound mule, and it released almost a year after the PlayStation 2 released, so it wasn't exactly a big hit...

It was just last week we learned Mika Mobile's follow-up to Battleheart was submitted to Apple, so when we saw the game show up in the New Zealand App Store this morning we weren't totally sure if it was some sort of soft-launch, an accident, or what. Well, it turns out it was simply a very fast approval process and the release date was set for May 28th, a day earlier than the typical App Store release day, which means that Battleheart Legacy [$4.99] is now officially out in the US and the rest of the world...

Cornfox & Bros. and FDG Entertainment's Oceanhorn [$8.99] is an action-RPG that was years in the making. First announced in late 2011, it wouldn't finally release until two years later, almost to the day. But it would be worth the wait, as Oceanhorn was simply wonderful. It was also a "premium" priced game with no IAP and it did quite well, enough so that FDG announced this past December that they were working on additional content for the game, and possibly even a sequel. Today, Cornfox has started teasing additional Oceanhorn content, and it looks like that will include some manner of fishing. Here are the two screens they posted to the Oceanhorn blog...

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