Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March iPhone Review Round-Up

Every month I do reviews for iPhone, last month we I covered Trenches II, Ticket to Ride and Oh! Edo Towns. You can find those all here if you want to check those out, or just search for iPhone in our search bar to find the majority of my iPhone reviews. This month it looks to be RPG month for the iPhone, seeing as how all of my reviews have at least rpg elements and some huge releases came out in March, like Chaos Rings 2. This month I am going to review Battleloot, Rune Raiders and Adventure Bar.

Rune Raiders by Retro64


Rune Raiders is one of the most unique games out of the three. It doesn't follow any generic RPG formula's and it delivers an exciting, but short experience. It is a RPG at it's heart and you go through fifteen levels battling your way past various enemies. or you may engage in a survival mode that can earn you a great deal of money, but will eventually kill off your entire party. Each level is designed horizontally, meaning you move up turn after turn and cannot move backwards. There are many different heroes you can use and they all have their own unique abilities, some of which are obviously better than others, but even the most basic and cheapest of heroes can be very useful. Check out this trailer and see exactly what I mean when it comes to turns, heroes and movement. 

Turns take place every time you move your entire group of heroes, or one, but there are abilities a hero could learn that would allow them to move without taking a turn. They put it all together into a fantastic, smooth and fairly challenging experience, it's not perfect though. Like I said before it's rather short, you can beat it in one day, easily, if you really had the desire to and I've had the game crash on me quite a few times, but no more than most iPhone applications. For $1 it's a good deal if you are looking for something that doesn't follow the normal paradigm of RPG's and turn based games, but keep in mind it's short length and very limited character depth. 
Main Website: http://www.retro64.com/
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rune-raiders/id497702195?mt=8

Violent Score: 3.5 (out of 5) 

Battleloot Adventure by Digital Tales
This game is more of a normal RPG and if you've played Battleheart, another iOS RPG, you might think it's a similar game made by the same developer, but it merely has a similar graphical look to it. You build a party of mercenaries who are roaming the land of Kameloot in search of riches. It is turn based and thankfully they have made combat a bit more responsive than most turn based RPG's. 

You have three people in your party and there are a total of eight mercenaries you can recruit in the game, two of each class. You have to read each mission and see what type of mission it is in order to assemble the best combination of heroes. They use a class system that makes each class weak versus one other class. That also means that one class is almost useless against one particular class, but seeing as to how there are four classes you have a good variety of units to rely on. Check the game out in action on an iPad. The version I've been playing is on an iPhone and it looks fairly identical. 

The combat system also has you collect stars when you get more than six hits on an enemy, as seen in the video above, and when you collect starts you can use them to do special abilities, unique to each character. Each character can also purchase gear when you are in out in the world and there are special skills that may be purchased as well. The quest system is a bit flawed though, unlike combat. 

Each quest in the game tells you a difficulty level and what type of class is good or bad for that quest, which is fine idea just not when they recommend not using a class that is sorely needed. The most annoying example of this was a quest that told me not to be a bring a mage, so I didn't and they ended up giving me 70% of the enemies that are weak against mages and strong against most everyone else. I still beat that quest, but it took far too many turns and it wasn't all that fun. In the end it is still a very good game with a lot of content for a low price of $1, especially with it's splendid animations and the large amount of character customization options. Although, combat isn't all that fun and I've run into numerous bugs in the game. 
Main Website: http://www.dtales.it/en/games.php
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battleloot-adventure/id475728716?mt=8

Violent Score: 4 (out of 5) 

Adventure Bar Story by RideonJapan,Inc. 
For Adventure Bar Story they have made a typical RPG far less generic by focusing it on restaurant management. Things like this have been done before, like Recettear, but not for the iOS and not in this way. You have a three person party like a normal turn based RPG, but each of those characters can only be leveled up by eating food. You have a world map which has dungeons, other towns and your main town on it, all of which will show up over time through story and time progression. In dungeons you can find equipment or items, like potions, but mainly you get ingredients in terms of loot. You take all of those ingredients back to your restaurant in the starting town and cook. You need to cook, financially and to level up your characters. 

iPhone Screenshot 4

Each recipe, as seen above, needs various ingredients and has a monetary and experience value. You can buy recipes from shops or you may try your luck at figuring them out yourself, you can do this by flat out guessing or by looking at partly made recipes that are merely missing one or more ingredients. They made the whole cooking system very well, it is thorough, it is a bit deep, there are a vast amount of recipes to find and they give you a ton of options to sort through them. The system is accompanied by a generic turn based RPG combat system that let's each member attack, use a skill, guard, use a item or run. There is micro-transaction system, but it is hardly detrimental to the gameplay. Death is a little harsh in the game, you can find revive items, but they are rare and the only way to purchase this is with micro-transactions. Once you get out of a dungeon everyone will revive and be fully healed, but during a dungeon you have to be very careful and do your best to make sure no one goes down. 

iPhone Screenshot 2

I very much enjoy Adventure Bar Story, sure the turn based gameplay is a little stale and boring, but working through a month, entering in cooking contests and finding new areas to explore is a lot fun. For $2.99 this game has hours of content and some slightly addictive gameplay. If you are looking to play an old school RPG with a ton of improvements and different ideas thrown in then Adventure Bar Story is for you, but many others may find themselves easily bored by the game if they've played plentiful amounts of RPG's in their lifetime. They are currently giving out 5000 copies of the game for free on their facebook page, so do check that out if your interested. 
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adventure-bar-story/id489454710?mt=8

Violent Score: 4 (out of 5) 

That's it for this month, but for next month I'm already working on a splendid turn based tactics game, Ravenmark, that screams of quality. Thanks for reading and I hope to put out one more post tonight, likely on Legend of Grimrock. 

-Written by Sean Cargle


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