Monthly Archive: January 2012

Review Spotlight: Crimsonheart – [0.99] by (ANB Soft)

Action RPGs have flooded the AppStore over the last couple of years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my case, it’s driven me back towards Turn-Based RPGs, which I use to love as a young teen, but kind of feel out of until earlier this year. Anyway, with the insane amount of Action RPGs available to iOS gamers, it’s hard to think that any of them can really bring anything new to the table, or generally impress gamers to the point where they’re given hope for the genre again. Enter ANBSoft. Their title, CrimsonHeart, might just wind up being the game that changes your perspective.

CrimsonHeart puts you in a world where Humans and Demons have fought for control of the world, with Demons trying to control the Humans with force, and the Humans trying to fight them off with intelligence. Dragons act as judges, having both intelligence and strength beyond that of both races, they limit themselves from getting involved. Dragons are immortal, but fall into deep sleep every 200 years, which is when the fighting between Humans and Demons is in total chaos. You’ll play as Pochi, a young warrior who has all of this going on around him, and Ann, a young mage, who has no memory of who she is, or what is going on in the world around them.
The game starts you off in a Prologue , which is the game’s beginning tutorial. Here, you’ll control Sire Ka’arin, a level 90 character who will not die during the gameplay in the Prologue. You’ll be able to control your character with a joystick in the bottom left corner, and attack with a button in the bottom right, along with having 4 spells and spell attacks around the basic attack button, all of which use SP, which is displayed in the top left along with the character icon and HP gauge. In the bottom center of the screen is where you can find the healing and SP potions. One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that your character has 360 degree movement. It feels very natural at first, but if you play CrimsonHeart for a while, and then go back to almost any other Action RPG, the movement will probably end up feeling clunky and un-natural. It’s a very big plus for CrimsonHeart’s gameplay.
Now, CrimsonHeart does have your typical main quest, then talk to people throughout the villages, and complete quests for them to get little items, or some extra experience, and that’s fine. But what also really helps out with leveling up and becoming stronger, are the additions of the Arena, Forging Equipment, and the Card system. With the Arena, you’re able to pay to battle it out against a certain amount of enemies. Once you beat all of the enemies, you’re sent back to the village where you entered the arena from. As you level up, and progress through the game, more arenas are opened up and made available for you. What’s nice about this, is that if you’re having problems with a certain part in the game, instead of going out and grinding in the fields, you can just pop into an arena a couple of times. The experience gained is carried over back out of the arena, as well as all of the equipment you might get from the battles. As for Forging Equipment, you can visit a blacksmith, and give him items to forge, which has the potential to make them stronger. There is also a potential that they will become weaker, but it’s a great thing to try out if you’ve got a bunch of extra items that you’ve picked up from going on quests. You never really know what you might end up with. The blacksmith is also able to craft items. If you have enough materials, he will be able to make some very strong items for you to use. The Card System is one of the more interesting mechanics of the game. If you’re familiar with Infinity Blade II’s Gem System, the Card System shouldn’t be too hard to grasp. Every town has a Card Master. This Card Master can combine cards, which can result in rare cards, and yes, getting a RARE anything in an RPG is always great, and the Card Master can also attach the cards to items that are not equipped, making them stronger.
The graphics and animations are also a huge selling point for the game. The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen within the genre, with loads of detail, and an insane amount of color. As you attack enemies, how much damage you’ve done shows up above their heads, a-la Borderlands, which I always thought was a very cool graphic addition for games. If the enemies hit you, the same thing happens, but the numbers are in red instead of a pale yellow. The environments are very well done, with great path layouts, and wonderful objects scattered around the worlds. The trees, water, grass, bushes, rocks, flowers, everything that’s in the game adds to the overall atmosphere somehow, which does help immensely when becoming immersed within the game. The world that ANBSoft has created is beautiful, and the creatures within it are all designed perfectly. On top of this, the animations for moving, walking, running, dashing, attacking, everything is so fantastically well done that after playing CrimsonHeart, pretty much all other Action RPGs are dull and boring by comparison.
With all of these great selling points, it’s easy to see why the regular price for CrimsonHeart is $4.99. But right now, it’s on sale for $0.99! Did I also mention that the game is UNIVERSAL? So if you’re a fan of the genre, or use to be a fan of the genre, and have been disappointed over the last year by the onslaught of Action RPGs released in the AppStore, CrimsonHeart is definitely a game that you NEED to check out. ANBSoft has become a development team that I will be keeping a very close eye on in the future. If their next games are even half as entertaining as CrimsonHeart, they’ll be worth buying. Also, a huge THANK YOU to the developers, for re-igniting my love of Action RPGs. I really can’t thank you guys enough. I hope those of you who end up checking this out will feel the same.

Legendary Heroes (Maya Games)

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived. The thrilling aspects of an Action RPG and the genius behind real-time strategies have been combined into one awesome game. Surely, you have heard of the massively popular free-to-play computer game, League of Legends.  With LoL, Riot Games not only championed the free-to-play structure but also built on the “battle arena” gameplay of DoTA.  In Legendary Heroes, Maya Games has brought this same gameplay and a somewhat similar monetary structure onto the iDevices. This game does not disappoint.
If you are not familiar with games like DoTA or League of Legends, here is what you need to know about the style of gameplay.  In Legendary Heroes you have 3 heroes on your team. You can control each of them (1 at a time) and the other 2 will be AI when not in your control.  The goal of the game is to protect your “source” or base, and destroy the other team’s source. Before you do this, you have to destroy all of the other team’s towers. To help you do this, these little guys called “minions” are automatically spawned and pretty much charge the other team and fight to the death. There is quite a bit of strategy involved if you actually want to do well. For example, you don’t want to sprint ahead of your minions and go tank one of the towers. More often than not you will be left with a minuscule amount of health and will be easy prey for the enemy.

If you have ever played a game like DoTA or LoL, you are probably thinking to yourself, ‘How the hell did they take into consideration the fact that you are constantly clicking your mouse to move your hero?’ Sure, you could just translate the mouse clicks into screen taps and tap-away at the screen to move your hero, but the controls let you drag your finger around to move your hero. This works very well and it gives you pretty solid maneuvering skills.  One thing to not is that screen space is very limited on the iDevices. In Legendary Heroes the on-screen UI is minimal so you won’t need to worry about having a cluttered screen. While playing a round, you have access to a mini-map that shows where you and your teammates are (fellow heroes and minions) along with where your enemies are, as well as a few skill boxes and your hero info.  The way this is all set up makes it very accessible and above all comfortable to play.

In terms of the Free-to-play structure, Maya Games has done an excellent job of keeping it balanced and reasonable. It’s always good to have options, especially when it comes to IAP’s on iOS.  It has become apparent from previous games that if there isn’t some alternative to the IAP’s many people will be infuriated beyond reason.  It’s safe to say that in Legendary Heroes the IAP’s are in no way necessary. Basically, there are two types of currency, gold and crystals. Gold is gained by completing a mission, and crystals are gained by accomplishing all of the tasks/goals withing a mission. The currency is used to unlock power-ups and heroes. In total, there are 32 power-ups and 8 heroes to unlock. Of course, time is the only thing standing between you and the unlocks, and if you want to speed things up you can choose to stock up on the currency through IAP’s.

An important thing to note is that power-ups and skills are not the same.  While you play the game, your heroes will level up. Killing enemies and enemy structures will give you experience. When you level up, you get points that can be used to upgrade your hero’s skills. Each hero has 4 unique skills ranging from leap-attacks to teleportation. These skills are one of the keys to success in a mission. On the other hand, power-ups have temporary effects like extra health, bonus attack power, or more speed. These must be purchased each time before a round and are one-time uses. If you are confused about the power-ups just think about them like health potions. When you use them once, they are gone.
Maya Studios has taken the successful gameplay and free-to-play structure of League of Legends and essentially “ported” it over to iOS. The fact that they were able to make it flow so well on the small touch screen is nothing short of amazing. Of course the game is not perfect, and the lack of a multi-player mode could make or break its success. Future updates are on the way with new heroes and hopefully new game modes. At the price of free, there is no reason not to pick Legendary Heroes up today and try it for yourself.

Get it on iTunes: Legendary Heroes

Definitely Over 9000 – SCB iOS

So, I’m sure all of you guys and girls are having a lovely time with the brand new Super Crate Box for iOS.  As you know, Vlambeer said that a content update would be on its way if the global crate count broke 5 million. Well, it has been a mere 2 days since the launch of Super Crate Box on the App Store, and despite the fact that SCB missed the Game of the Week feature, over 7 million crates have already been collected. Yes, over 7 MILLION. You don’t even need to know calculus, or math for that matter, to figure out that that is a LOT of crates. (And yes, it is over 9,000).
A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t be ashamed if your asplodes when you see the number.

JAZZ: Trumps Journey – An Upcoming Platformer with an unique musical twist

JAZZ: Trumps Journey is an unusual game that strays from the accepted norm in the AppStore. JAZZ is a platformer with a strong emphasis on music. Namely the jazz that New Orleans is so well known for.
You play as Trump, a famous jazzman in the early 1920’s who is trying to create his own jazz band.  There are platforms, bosses, warpzones and all sorts of other platforming ingredients that can be found on your journey, including a beautiful lady whose heart you have to win.
But what really differentiates this game from the crowd is the way music is incorporated into the game.  In the beginning the background music consists only of percussion. When you find your first band member the music changes to incorporate the instrument each band member plays. The music gets richer as you find new members to add to your band and was composed by real musicians in a recording studio. Music also plays another part in the game, specifically as a tool used by Trump to stop time.
The graphics are inspired by old pictures of New Orleans in the 1920’s.  In the screenshots it is increasingly apparent that a lot of time was spent perfecting them and keeping the graphics true to their orgins.  The story is also rich as it is based off of the biography of Louis Armstrong, a very influential musician back then.
The game also delves into controversial topics such as racism and injustice. I applaud the developers efforts to be as realistic as possible and show the way things were back then, rather than sweeping those issues under the carpet. I am certainly looking forward to this game and will be available on January 19th for download.  It will be released for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the Mac AppStore. I imagine it will be universal and work on most devices but we will have to see.  We plan to have a full review up for the game around the time it launches so stay tuned!

Paper Monsters News!

You’ve probably heard about the new platformer by Monsters vs Wizards and Crescent Moon Games.  Paper Monsters began as a simple, paper-style action platformer, but it has since grown into a full-blown future classic. The game sports cutesy artwork with 3D models but 2D gameplay.  The all around appeal aesthetic appeal of the game seems reminiscent of console hits like Little Big Planet and Paper Mario.

So far what we’ve heard about the game sets it into a world of its own as an iOS action platformer. Apart from the amazing artwork, there will be several power-ups including a dragon (fire-breathing of course), a flying bug suit, and a submarine. A submarine power-up can only mean one thing…underwater levels! And there is much more than just underwater levels. The themes that will be included on release are grass-world, snow-world, underwater, and some underground sections. On top of that there are 16 enemy types and awesome boss-battles (with funny cut-scenes to boot).

Paper Monsters has just about everything you can ask for in an iOS platformer. It even has hidden treasures and secrets, cloud saving, and iCade support!

When Paper Monsters gets closer to release, hopefully we will get some hands-on time.  Until then check out the new site that Robots vs Wizards set up, PaperMonsterLand. At the site you can find quite a few screens along with more than enough info about the world of Paper Monsters to get you as excited as we are. There isn’t an official trailer released yet, but check out the teaser for now.