Posts by tag: rpg
King’s Bounty: Legions comes with a lot of history, and almost lives up to it. The original game was released back in dawn of time circa 1990, and laid down a lot of the ground rules for what would evolve in to the long running Heroes of Might and Magic, a series which has eclipsed it’s predecessor. A Russian publisher, 1C brought back the franchise eighteen years later, with the excellent PC game King’s Bounty: Legend and it’s direct sequel, Armored Princess.
I played both of those compulsively for weeks, so when I saw that there was King’s Bounty game available on android I jumped at the chance to to return once more to the world of Endoria and see if it was possible to recapture some of that turn based strategy magic.
A fine balance has to be achieved when you decide to go the freemium route in a dungeon crawler. If you’re too generous then the player will simply grind through enemies in order to get better loot; this is after all the appeal of these games anyway. Make progression too hard however, and you risk subverting the enjoyment of your hack ‘em up, and relegating it to the ‘play to win’ category. Many players of Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter 3 felt that the pendulum had swung to far in favor of in-app purchases, unsettling the tried and true compulsion loop of incremental improvements to carry your character just that little bit further each time. Dungeon Hunter 4 redresses a lot of the complaints leveled at that game, but the question is; does it do enough?
The first game in the Final Fantasy franchise was indeed intended to be the last. Director Hironobu Sakaguchi had decided to say farewell to the industry after a run of failures at Square Enix (née Square) after on last try, but the the game proved such a success that a genre defining series was established. The first two games haven’t aged as well as some of the later releases but Final Fantasy III was the game that set the standard and laid down many of the tropes that have become so iconic of the series such as the job system.
This remake comes to Android via Nintendo’s DS, a great proving ground for touchscreen gaming, and is a fully re-conceptualized world. Gone are the naive 2d sprites of old, replaced with, well, some equally naive 3d rendered graphics. There’s clearly been a lot of work and thought gone in to interpreting the old style and updating to modern standards, but it falls short of what we know is possible on android. Whether this was because it was originally conceived with Nintendo’s less robust hand held in mind, or because Square (assisted by Matrix software) were keen to maintain the feel of the original is moot. What we get is charming, chunky and a little rough around the edges and even though the technical side doesn’t hold up, the design of the world and the characters themselves are as good as you’d expect.
Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet – Everything You Loved On Steam Perfectly Transitioned to Your Tablet
On Gamewoof, lots of ports of PC and console games have been reviewed and discussed for Android devices. Most of them however, either even out with or fall short from their non touch screen counterparts. Few, if any, have matched and surpassed the original. Then there is Paradox Interactive’s Magicka game. Magicka is one of those games that gets lots of love from those who’ve played it; a fantastic little adventure game that does a lot with less. Magicka boasts more DLC than a Capcom game, yet it hasn’t achieved super commercial success. But then, you probably haven’t played released Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet for Android yet.
The controls for the initial version of Magicka are pretty simplistic; it’s nothing more than a user casting 8 different elemental spells to combat against monsters. These elemental spells can be combined to create bucketloads of different spells and effects. It’s a simple concept that opens the door to being a rich and full experience, challenging players to think quick and smart in order to deal with the various monsters and creatures your wizard will combat. That mechanic is translated onto the tablet as seven different spells the users has to work with that are selected by touch and then released upon whomever one wishes, even yourself if you so chose in certain situations. The speed and smarts demand on the player are increased due to the touch screen controls as it allows the game to make the enemies come at you a little quicker.
A few years ago I met a guy who told me that he was working on the PSP version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. He explained that their plan was to do away with the open world structure of the PC and console iterations, but would rather have the Imperial city as a kind of hub level, with the different lands accessible from there. Even in this reduced state, it was an ambitious undertaking for what at the time was still a reasonably powerful handheld device. Needless to say the game never saw the light of day; reducing a game of such epic scope not only to a smaller screen, but to machine more comfortable with PlayStation 2 ports was a bit of a tall order. Now that technology has caught up with the ambitions of game designers, and the most recent android devices more than capable of handling whatever processor hungry apps we throw at them, Crescent Moon Games is trying once more to give the mobile gamer that fully immersive, and fully featured, RPG experience in the shape of Ravensword 2: Shadowlands. And for the most part they succeed. Mostly.
Over the years we’ve all been indoctrinated in to thinking we know how games work, and most of the time we’re right. Can you really say that one racing game controls radically differently than the last one? Steer left and right to go in the direction you want. Press button to go forwards. We’ve become accustomed to a certain way of doing things in games that they just seem natural.
Once Mario 64 cracked the 3d platformer, no one messed with the formula, and when Medal of Honor appeared on the scene, it laid down the rules for twin stick FPS’s, which have stayed intact to this day. So when a game type so entrenched in popular gaming as the match-three puzzle, is rejigged the way that the brilliantly titled (and search engine unfriendly) 10000000 does it, the new spin on the genre had better be worth breaking from what we’re used to, or risk alienating it’s audience.
Eighty Eight Games’ first foray in to the games market distinguishes itself immediately with the retro styled graphics. I don’t mean cute enhanced fake 16-bit cartoony sprites or even the sparse pixel art of a Mega Man. 10000000 goes all the way back to something akin to what you would find on an old Atari console. It challenges you to like it from the outset, and if you’re not open to the ultra blocky art style then you may be turned off enough not to experience the game. If however you’re like me and grew up on the likes of Pitfall and Jet Set Willy (yup, that’s a real game) you’ll get that tingle of nostalgia as the chirpy chiptunes kick in and your character jumps out of bed with a digital “boing.”
InXile, developers of Bard’s Tale, made Kickstarter history when they secured over four million dollars to fund the incredibly ambitious Torment: Tides of Numenera, the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most fondly remembered and respected hardcore PC RPGs of all time. While the Torment games deal in a very traditional form of Western role-playing aimed at those who have a lot of time to invest in an epic story of conflicted characters and mind bending worlds, Bard’s Tale offers something almost completely at the opposite end of the spectrum, allowing InXile to indulge the sillier side of fantasy gaming. Loosely based on three classic–read: old–games of the same name (all of which are included in the package) The Bard’s Tale was initially released way back in 2004 for PS2 and the original Xbox, which should give you some idea of what to expect. While it failed to set the world on fire, it was reasonably well received and has now become somewhat of a permanent fixture on the top ten Google play charts, due in no small amount to the deep discounts it has had since it’s first appearance.
Angry Mob Games made their name with two Predator themed games which were as violent and gory as you would expect from the franchise. So it’s little wonder that they’d want to show their lighter side once in a while, and with its sense of humor and kid friendly graphics, Muffin Knight is that game. Muffin plays homage to the classic arcade platform games of old, like Snow Bros, Rodland, Rainbow Island and the like, from back in the days when platforming meant literally jumping on platforms suspended in the air. Muffin Knight successfully updates the genre with crisp and colorful 2.5d graphics and an overabundance of imagination.
The game opens with a cute introductory animation that subverts the standard hero’s journey setup with unexpected comedy. A boy finds a basket of muffins in the woods and somehow causes them to explode across a variety of differently styled levels. For this he is transformed in to a knight, and if he ever wants to regain his true form (why would he?), the boy must recover the missing muffins that we find out belong to a Fairy Godmother. That we first encounter her emerging from behind a bush, pulling up her underwear should give you a hint at where this game’s sense of comedy lies. With the almost completely nonsensical plot out of the way it’s straight in to the first of nine stages.
It’s not difficult to find a good match-three game these days. Every mobile marketplace is flush with different iterations on the theme, some keeping it simple and streamlined and others adding on additional systems to give the endless puzzle more purpose. Dungeon Raid takes the latter approach and does it’s best to enable the mind to run away on a fantasy RPG adventure while the finger drags across groups of identical tiles to delete them.
Although initially compelling me to strategically match tiles for hours at a time, the addiction to random items and upgrades eventually abated, revealing a somewhat broken system that required more time investment to see than necessary. Okay, that sounded really negative. I had fun with a lot of Dungeon Raid, I really did, but once I started to peek behind the curtain, I didn’t like what I found.
A lot of games to take inspiration from a couple different existing mechanics and blend those into a unique experience. Nimble Quest is a a wonderful example of just how great a game can be when the creators know exactly what should be brought over from their sources of inspiration, what should be left out, and what needs to be added to make it feel fresh. Nimblebit’s newest creation is equal parts Snake and Secret of Mana, sending the player on a quest with a single hero who fights monsters in arena after arena, gaining followers who trail behind and help with combat along the way.
Nimble Quest started off on exactly the right foot, presenting one of the best uses of the 16 bit style I’ve seen since modern pixel art became popular and a great chiptune soundtrack to boot. The rules being mostly apparent (don’t run into walls, enemies, or your own train of cohorts) made the tutorial pretty quick as well. Swiping to change direction is easy, and the heroes all attack automatically when they are within range of the skeletons, spiders, zombies, and other enemies, so getting into the action was a breeze. Once I reached later levels and my party grew beyond a few fighters, though, I began to see the strategy that elevates this game far beyond a simple Snake clone with a visual twist.