Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we’ll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the TouchArcade forums, where you’ll find a thread dedicated to each month’s featured game. Sign up if you haven’t already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We’ve got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let’s make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!
February’s Play-Along of Aralon: Sword and Shadow (Free) proved to be another popular one, with the forum thread reaching a whopping 15 pages filled with thrills and chills. Some were replaying the game, while others were digging into it for the very first time, but it seemed like everyone had a good time. Once again, a big old thank you to everyone who joined in the fun. February’s winner of the Small and Silly Prize has been drawn from the capricious yet lovable Magic Moogle Hat, and as luck would have it, it’s Krotenbandiger! I think everyone involved in the Play-Along can agree that Krotenbandiger’s adventures were almost as entertaining as the game itself, so it’s nice that the RNG gods smiled upon our proud hero. I’ll be in touch via PM on the forums to get your address so that I can send your prize. To everyone else, a new month brings another chance to win a Small and Silly Thing from Japan!
Well, I hope the first two Play-Alongs were a good warm-up for everyone, because for the March Play-Along, we’re playing something a little longer and toothier. SoMoGa’s fine port of the classic Game Arts JRPG Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch ($6.99) tells an amazingly emotional tale of heroism and love, and it’s this month’s featured game. Since the game doesn’t feature a lot of customization, it will be interesting to see how people make their way through it. What it does have is an excellent story ripe for discussion, one I hope we can all enjoy working our way through together. As was the case in previous months, you’ll need to grab the game from the App Store if you don’t already own it. Then, either log into or sign up for the TouchArcade forums and head on over to the March RPG Reload Play-Along: Lunar thread to say hello. You don’t need to beat the game to qualify for the random draw, but I would like to see at least one screenshot of your progress at some point, okay?
Unlike our previous featured games, Lunar will give you your party and characters as the story dictates. That means you don’t have to worry about what kind of character or party you’re going to build, so I don’t need to give you any advice along those lines. Instead, I’m going to give you a handful of tips and bits of advice to help you make your trip to Lunar a smooth one. For the most part, if you’ve played a classic JRPG before you should be fine here, but there are some quirks and Quarks to get used to. Feel free to wade in on your own if you like, but if you want a little spoiler-free guide to getting started, read on.
Your initial group will consist of the hero Alex and his friends Ramus and Luna. For plot reasons, Ramus isn’t going to be with you a long time, but you’ll want to keep him somewhat well-equipped anyway. In the beginning, Ramus is very helpful as a physical attacker, and he can take blows fairly well, too. Alex will quickly surpass him, particularly since he will learn some useful combat skills. Luna is somewhat weak at the start of the game, but her healing magic can save you money on curative items. Keep her near the back away from danger, and let her use her magic and ranged attacks to their fullest.
The battle system in Lunar is a fairly standard turn-based system, but there is one important difference. Basically, distance matters. Anyone using a melee attack is going to have to close the distance between them and the enemy in order to strike. Sometimes they can do that in one turn and still be able to attack, but it’s often the case that they can’t. If the enemy has a ranged attack, you’ll have to swallow the loss of the turn and get in close however you can. If they don’t have a ranged attack, it’s not a bad idea to wait them out and let them get into range. If you can’t close the gap in a turn, they probably can’t either. Because of the distance factor, it’s important to get to know your special attacks as soon as possible. Sometimes you’ll have to get close quickly.
Nall won’t participate in battles most of the time, but he will raise any fallen party members at the end of each fight. If you need to make a sacrifice play, it’s not the end of the world, in other words. Nall will sometimes raise a fallen character before the end of the battle, but don’t count on it. It’s somewhat rare.
Enemies are visible on the maps in Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch. In many cases, you can avoid them if you’re careful and have good timing. While it’s important to make sure you’re fighting enough battles to keep your level on track, it’s not the worst idea to dodge tougher battles near the start of the game when your resources are limited. You should learn how to herd enemies as soon as possible, as it becomes a valuable skill over the course of the game. The first dungeon gives you some practice with this, as you need to use the charging snowmen to remove certain obstacles blocking treasure and the way forward.
If someone offers to help you out of a tough situation, you should probably take their help. You don’t have to, but you really should.
You won’t face a boss for a while, but when you do, the best thing to do is have Alex first use Vigor and then his Sword Dance skill as many times as possible. Keep him alive with whatever other party members you have at your disposal and he’ll make short work of a lot of tough creatures. Luna can use Cascade Song to boost a character’s stats, and that’s not a bad first move in any serious fight. If a boss survives long enough that you run out of MP for Sword Dance, it’s okay to use a Star Light to restore Alex’s MP. You don’t need to hoard them.
Hopefully those tips will be enough to get you going in Lunar, but if you need more help or some advice for a specific problem, that’s what we’ve got a thread in the forums for! This game has a really special story, and I can’t wait to relive it with those who are replaying and those who are trying it for the first time. Oh, and for those who want to know how much of a time commitment the game requires, the average clear time for Lunar is about 30 hours. You can follow my exploits and join in yourself by swinging by the March RPG Reload Play-Along thread in the TouchArcade forums. I’ll see you there!
Next Week’s Classic Reload: Plants vs Zombies ($0.99)
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