While in-app purchases have certainly made their mark across a wide variety of genres of iOS games, it has yet to clearly take root with classic role playing games. Dawn of Magic [Free], the latest game from Lakoo, is an experiment in infusing certain elements of in-app purchasing with classic RPG gameplay. For some gamers, such a combination may be a turnoff towards investing a substantial amount of time in Dawn of Magic. However, for those willing to check it out, this classic RPG succeeds in recreating the old school RPG experience, for better or worse.
You won’t find any novel gameplay quirks in Dawn of Magic. Everything from the sprite based graphics to the turn based battles is classic RPG, pure and simple. In addition, don’t expect much in terms of side quests, as Dawn of Magic is extremely linear and runs through the story relatively quickly (assuming you’re able to grind out levels and gold in good order). While I had no problem with Dawn of Magic’s linear style and somewhat generic gameplay, I could imagine others looking for something new might not appreciate the game’s homage to the classic gameplay.
As mentioned earlier, one of the big questions surrounding Dawn of Magic is how well it integrates IAP into the standard RPG formula. Overall, Dawn of Magic succeeds in successfully implementing the system by leveraging the standard grind that’s prevalent in classic RPGs. In addition to the standard experience/leveling and gold/equipment systems, Dawn of Magic also tosses in a few extra perks, such as instant leveling up, and the ability to equip more magic spells on each character. Each of these perks cost standard gold to activate. The IAP comes into play by allowing players to obtain additional gold by purchase or by participating in its sponsorship program (which typically has you sign up for a free deal or download and run an app).
Since gold is earned after each battle, it is definitely possible to earn all of these extra perks simply by grinding gold during battles. However, even if you don’t feel like grinding, there are certainly enough free apps you can download in order to earn gold in that manner as well. For folks that don’t want to do either of those things (or pay outright for gold), then Dawn of Magic loses its appeal. However, considering that one of the perks of using such a system is the lower barrier to entry, I think it works well in giving most gamers an opportunity to check it out.
The one glaring issue with Dawn of Magic is with its translation. From the start, you’ll find grammatical issues and a lot of strange sentence choices. True, the overarching story of a world filled with magic and a young adventurer on a quest to save the world won’t offer any surprises for anyone familiar with classic RPG stories. Still, the disjointed grammar is certainly out of place for a genre that relies on heavy story elements. One other complaint was with its touch based controls, which were occasionally annoying but adequate enough for an RPG.
Translation issues aside, Dawn of Magic does provide a solid RPG experience. While the overarching story is a bit generic, the gameplay is there and survives the freemium/IAP infusion. If you’re a fan of classic RPGs and are looking for a new title to grind through, then Dawn of Magic may be worth checking out, particularly with its current deal of being free.