Posts by tag: rpg
When it comes to RPGs there are a lot of nuances that people either love or hate. I’m talking about the multitude of fetch quests or how strangers always seem to come to you for help. Like for any genre it is good to kind of poke fun at these points every now and again. Paradox Interactive seemed to take it upon themselves to do just that with their highly praised game Knights of Pen and Paper. While Knights of Pen and Paper has been out for quite some time and even has upgraded (+1 edition), the gameplay and humor stands as one of the most engaging and fun turn-based RPGs out there. In fact, it made our list for Top 5 best Android turn-based games which we published earlier this year.
If you are disappointed that Nintendo games, particularly the famous series The Legend of Zelda, have yet to come aboard the Play Store, then you might want to try Swordigo from Touch Foo. This Android game, which debuts via Humble Bundle, is a side-scrolling platformer with action-RPG elements. It lets you explore a fantasy world of dungeons filled with monsters and treasures.
For some reason I am drawn to downloading puzzle RPG games. I love games with dynamics like Bejeweled or bubble shooter. However, there are inherent problems that I’ve found with every puzzle RPG game I’ve downloaded. They all are the same with minute differences. This is the same case with Pet Monster Gem: Puzzle Shooter, in which I thought the puzzle shooter dynamic would be interesting and make it more unique. Instead, I got an almost direct clone of Monster Match that shares all its faults and more.
If you’re going to steal, then steal from the best.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: you are a lone warrior who enters a grand gothic castle to defeat the evil within by negotiating a maze of interconnected rooms, filled with secrets, monsters, and a lot of platforming. Castle of Shadows is unashamedly inspired by Konami’s platforming RPG classic Castlevania, which in my book is no bad thing seeing as we have yet to see an appearance by the vampire slaying Belmont family on Android.
You are the exquisitely monickered Montanto Cyprus, a man not unfamiliar with the wilder side of fashion. With of all the scowling grimdark emo boys that usually get top billing in this type of game, it refreshing to see a main character that eschews the traditional lank haired gothica for a touch of Liberace. With his sailor’s cap and long flowing red cape, he defies the forces of evil through the very power of costume jewelry alone.
It’s a typically eccentric Nipponism that adds a touch of character to the otherwise rote design of the rest of the game. That is not to say that no thought has gone in to making Castle of Shadows–it certainly measures up to some of the earlier Castlevania games–but it does dwell on familiar aspects we have all seen before.
The oddball hero is only matched by the game’s confusingly bad translation which renders the plot almost uninteligable, which is a pity because there’s a lot of dialogue. Considering that this is a 2.0 re-release, it might have been wise to address that.
The old school platforming–where platforms really are just that, suspended in mid air–is spread over small discrete areas which can be tracked on a map, although there is no fear of getting lost, as the game is decidedly linear until later in the game.
The biggest distinguishing factor is the combat ratchets up the adrenaline compared to Konami’s game, by liberally cribbing from that other perennial grim-athon Devil May Cry. It’s the game’s one moment of inspiration that elevates it beyond just another wannabe cash in. Combining a side scrolling platforming RPG with relentless hack and slash action game boasting a wealth of combo moves gives CoS a real edge. The screen is at times brimming over with enemies so that it virtually impossible not to hit something and initiate an epic combo as soon as you swing your sword. The virtual stick responds well most of the time, with jump and attack mapped to two other buttons. The standard sword swipe can cut through dozens of grotesque enemies, hit point numbers bleeding off them like a number fountain. Holding up and attacking initiates a vertical move that can be capitalized on to start a juggling combo. Aerial combat is equally well served with every blow keeping Montanto aloft, before pressing down unleashes a devastating floor slam.
The enemies are equally up for the task, relying on more than just sheer numbers. Although there is a lot of blade fodder, the occasional rock golem, or armored knight gets in the way and puts up a more substantial fight. Later levels introduce teleporting enemies and even floating eyeballs that resurrect fallen monsters, making them a priority target as soon as you enter a new area. Thankfully there’s plenty of opportunity to level up. Each new level adds hit points and stat boosts, which the game deems to be so vitally important to the player that it interrupts the action to give you a rundown of just how well you’re progressing each time. It happens with such frequency that it becomes an nuisance. And it’s not just Montanto’s leveling that gets a screen filling news bulletin, the equipped weapon also gets an intrusive splash. Occasionally during a particularly intense section, it possible to have play halted twice within seconds for a useless update.
Boss encounters are a highlight, and push your platforming skills to the limit, and require a combination of dexterity and tenacity, but never use cheap moves, which good to hear as it’s the problem we see so often in other free to play games.
The RPG aspect of the game is mainly based around the many new weapons that Montanto finds in his travels. Each new weapon has it’s own attributes, including some devastating and inventive special moves which are limited by a brief cool down period. It’s in getting the most out of these swords that the pay model comes in. You collect generous amount of gold in game to upgrade your blades, but there’s always room for improvement.
From a visual side CoS is no slouch. Bearing in mind the obvious homages to franchises past, the levels make the most of their 16-bit era styled looks. The animation is detailed and fluid, and full of invention. The levels never quite match the best of modern 2D sidescrollers and rely a bit too heavily on cut and paste elements, but the general tone, despite being overwhelmingly gothic, has a decent amount of variation but the game is so focused on the combat that any short cuts are quickly forgotten under the spectacle of sword-swinging acrobatics.
Castle of Shadows manages to become its own peculiar beast, built from the remnants of other games and stitches them together convincingly enough that you often overlook its flaws. By building from a solid framework, it allows itself to go to places that almost seem out of place within the framework that had been set out for it many years ago, but this weird hybrid of measured RPG platformer, and balls to the wall action really impresses, and is above all a lot of fun.
Card based strategy games have had something of a renaissance on mobile platforms. I’m not talking about the endless Mobage offerings that offer no real gameplay, just an excuse to empty your wallet, but the more considered, well thought out games like Ticket to Ride or Magic 2014. It’s the perfect medium for board games to find a new lease of life, where a decent rule set can be made immediate and visually and compelling. Decromancer falls clearly in to this new strategy wave, and is as good a representative of what’s possible, as any full priced game.
The plot revolves around having to escort a Necromancer diplomat on an epic voyage after having been ship wrecked. It’s not long before you are thrust into battle, with the almost universally hostile inhabitants of a strange land where all the animals are sentient.
You are given a limited deck of cards, each representing a particular type of troop. These can be long range like the archer, immobile defensive walls, healers, or standard soldiers. You can check out the stats for each card, but you won’t know what their worth until you play a game against an opponent.
Battles take place on a tile 4×5 grid. the bottom two rows are your, and the enemy at the top. You can summon three cards each turn, slowly building up your army, and place them where ever you want on the board. Obviously working out the best formation goes a long way to securing victory; put the siege walls up front, and archers behind. Any tiles that remain exposed are open to attack, and lead to your army losing morale points, and when these hit zero you must retreat. There’s a great depth to the strategy, and as the battle unfolds, new tactics must be employed and your troops redeployed. New cards must be bought with looted gold, and there always seems to be something available to bolster your deck.
The story plays out over a large map, as you move from encounter to encounter. As this is a free to play game, there are wait times which can be skipped with purchased ‘spells’. Cleverly, even the F2P elements are woven in naturally as travel time, but it can lead to a very slow game if you’re just trying it out before committing to a purchase. Despite the stilted pace, it’s a very satisfying game, that will make you lose hours honing your strategies, and refining your army.
Relatively newcomer developing studio, Whalenought Studios, has been working on their game Isle of Bxnes for a while. After extensive alpha testing and getting feedback from the Android gaming community, Isle of Bxnes is finally released. However, it might not be available for your device. For instance, it is not compatible with my Nexus 7 and I’ve heard other comments about it not being compatible with the whole Nexus line. But don’t fear! These concerns have already been raised to Whalenought on Reddit and Twitter and they have mentioned they are working on getting full Android device compatibility for Isle of Bxnes.
If you haven’t been following the progress for Isle of Bxnes, you are in for a treat. Whalenought Studios describes their game as a mashup of Diablo action with FTL progression. Specifically, in Isle of Bxnes you take control of a tribe in their trek going eastward. Along the way you need to stop at various islands in order to gain resources to keep your tribe alive. Where it gets interesting is in the fact that these islands are not happy places, but rather full of cannibals, enemy tribes and wild beasts. Furthermore, if you die on an island that is it. Isle of Bxnes is unforgiving and features permadeath. To help combat this, though, Whalenought Studios implemented a neat legacy system where you can be reincarnated as one of your sons and have random traits assigned to you.
There is also a huge emphasis on resource gathering and management in Isle of Bxnes where you will need to actively gather resources and then make decisions on what to use them for. This could mean using them to heal yourself so you can last longer in a fight or use them to raise offspring to further your tribe’s line. All of this and more is included in the game and depicted in beautiful hand drawn pixel art which feature thousands of animations. Isle of Bxnes is $2.99 but features no more IAPs or pay to win scenarios. What you see is what you get and it looks amazingly detailed and addictive.
I have been one to always love trivia. As a kid and even now Jeopardy was on my always watch list and now I try to hit up my local bar’s trivia night every week. So when I found Quiz RPG: World of Mystic Wiz I was stoked as the game seemed to combine my love for trivial knowledge in a loose RPG like structure to make it interesting, and that is exactly what you get with Quiz RPG: World of Mystic Wiz. The RPG elements are in similar style to Puzzle and Dragons or Monster Match in which you form parties of characters from card decks that correspond to elements. Whereas in Monster Match making matches would attack the enemies on screen, in Quiz RPG: World of Mystic Wiz correctly answering trivia questions does.
Excalibur is just about the best side scrolling beat’em up I’ve played on Android so far. There’s so much going on with this game it would shame for anyone to miss it.
The set up is standard stuff. You’re a knight in medieval England at a time when the legendary King Arthur has left a power vacuum after his death, and various factions vie for the top spot. You’re tasked by a cast of familiar faces including Merlin and Morgana to hack and slash your way across the country, destroying evil with your arsenal of special moves, reaping loot, and experience as you go.
The game eases you in slowly to the complex RPG systems which govern your progress. Not only do you have to keep an eye on your own stats, which can be boosted with an Skyrim inspired constellation skill tree, but there’s equipment, enchantments, and even faerie companions to consider.
It can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially with multiple currencies, and power ups that you expect from a free to play game, but the sheer wealth of content packed in to Excalibur, means that you’re at least never bored.
Though not the most complex fighting system on offer, Excalibur does a decent job of recreating those brawlers of old like Golden Axe, or more accurately the Legends of Mystara D&D games. Graphically it’s no slouch either, with a smooth yet fussy graphic novel style artwork.
The online features are unsurpassed, with multiplayer, PvP arena battles, and a fully featured lobby where all the other players can be seen going about their quests. You can even invite people to come along with you on your own adventure to even the odds a bit.
Make sure you look out for the gift codes that are out there, which will give you a significant helping hand and send you on your way to reclaiming England from the treacherous forces of evil.
William Gibson has a lot to answer for. With his 1984 (how apt) book Neuromancer, the author not only gave us the term ‘The Matrix’ to refer to the online world, but established a new genre of fiction that mixed high tech corporate espionage, dirty Film Noir aesthetics, and speculative science fiction that wasn’t so far from the reality that would come to pass. The crudely named ‘Cyberpunk’ tapped in to the the pre-millenial fears of the confluence of man and machine. Now that particular prophecy has been fulfilled, with all of us shackled to our mobile devices, it seems appropriate to revisit that frontier world of shadowy hackers, street samurai, and body augmentation.
Shadowrun Returns was an absolute success story when it was funded through Kickstarter to the tune of $1.8M, far above its $400,000 goal. Jordan Weisman, who created the original tabletop role playing game that spawned a Snes/Genesis adaptation and a ill-received (and long forgotten) FPS, spent five years trying to get this latest incarnation of the ground. The dedication of developer Harebrained Schemes, is evident in the sheer quality of the triumphant return of this beloved franchise.
From the very start you know that you’re in the presence of a labor of love. The writing is is of a very high standard, mixing the oblique, yet believable slang of the streets of Seattle in a time when magic and tech vie for dominance, with the hardboiled dialogue of Chandler, or Elmore Leonard. That’s not to say that the game is without humor, in fact the sprawling dialogue trees that come up with every interaction with n NPC, give you more than enough opportunity to crack wise. There’s a lot of text in this game, so if it hadn’t been as slick and readable as it is, the game would have suffered, but instead it elevates what is a very linear story.
The game opens with the classic set up of a ‘dead man’s switch’; you get a call from an old buddy informing you of his recent death. He’ll get you out of your recent financial if you can solve his murder. Gotta love a character so paranoid that they pre-record their own eulogy.
From then on you delve deeper in to a sleazy world of prostitution, organ trafficking, virtual reality, crazed Doctors, Elves and Trolls. This element of fantasy-or meta humanism in the game’s lingo-adds a novel approach to the Blade Runner inspired distopia. You can choose from a broad selection human, post-human and meta-human as your main character, each favoring different attributes, but all able to take advantage of Shadowrun’s cornucopia of guns, gadgets and spells.
I went for an Elf Decker, the Shadowrun version of hacker, with a mean facial tattoo, which went well with his Hawaiian shirt. From all of the options available when rolling your character (this is very much a traditional RPG) I thought that having access to, and power over, the matrix would allow for the most fun. I envisioned that in this tech-enhanced world that it would give me an edge. Early on I invested a lot of cash in to decker hardware, and a lot of ‘Karma’ in the appropriate skill tree. I was going to own this world, and they weren’t even going to see me coming.
Then I got in to a gun battle and died, repeatedly. For all the customization options, and the promise that you can make any character type you want, whether it be a melee class, magic user, or a combination of any of them, if you don’t make sure that you’re a sharpshooter with an Uzi, you’re going to find life on the street tough.
It was a bit disappointed that I could find ways to circumvent direct confrontations. I’d gone in with ideas that I could tackle this game like the similarly themed Deus Ex series, which did allow for that adaptability. Unfortunately chances to really take advantage of toying with the game world through your cybernetically enhanced body mods, are few and far between. Conversely if you choose to go down the gunslinger path, you’ll come across missions later on that absolutely require you to have hacker skills. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Shadowrun wants you to be a well rounded character, that is as equally at home behind a barrel of a gun as a keyboard, which has the effect of limiting individuality, and makes the experience somewhat flat.
Once you learn to adapt to this odd balancing issue, and forgo any ideas of min-maxing, Shadowrun does a great job of drawing you through it’s story. The plot wouldn’t be worth much if the action suffered. Thankfully the turn based combat is a lot of fun.
Combat only occurs in certain situations, often triggered at important story beats. Each of your crew, which could range from five to a solo effort, has a limited amount of action points to either move, attack or perform a special action like healing. You should take advantage of environmental cover as best you can, because your opponents will use everything they can to terminate you. Battles are both tactical and fast paced, and if you’ve assembled the right team, you should be able to narrowly make it out alive.
Shadowrun is an absorbing adventure, with great characters and years of world building behind it that gives the game a solidity, and depth lacking from many others. A few quibbles aside-namely the sparse autosave-Shadowrun is in the top tier of mobile RPGS, and if you fancy walking neon splashed streets with a katana in one hand, and a data jack in the other, just looking for trouble, then it’s about time you became a shadowrunner.
Eastern RPG fans rejoice, for one of Square Enix’s most beloved franchises that isn’t Final Fantasy is heading on over to the Google Play market this winter; the Dragon Quest series!
Dragon Quest 1 through 8 have been confirmed by Square Enix to be coming to Android, and are coming to markets outside of Japan, including the United States. Additionally, Square Enix has also announced a brand new Dragon Quest game for Android and iOS called Dragon Quest Monsters: Super Light. The speculation is that this new Dragon Quest game may contain IAPs, judging by what Square Enix has said about this title.
Dragon Quest was more commonly known as Dragon Warrior back in the days of the NES. The series has lived on throughout the console generations, even appearing on Nintendo handhelds. The artwork for these more recent games have been done by the same artist behind the Dragon Ball series. This announcement marks a first for this series coming to mobile devices however.
Given the pricing nature of the Final Fantasy games, players shouldn’t expect to get these cheap. Some Final Fantasy games on the Google Play market place fetch for as high as $20. There isn’t any solid word on how much they will cost, but we will let you know once we’ve gathered more information.
Source: Square Enix Japan