Point & Click Adventure games have never really been a favorite of mine. Until lately. Bulkypix release, Yesterday and Cyan World’s realMyst definitely peaked my interest. But not until I had the extreme pleasure of experiencing Amanita Design’s amazing game, Machinarium, did I actually think that I could become a huge fan of Point n Click titles.
The first thing I noticed when starting up the game, was the fantastic graphics. The beautiful, amazing, mind-blowing, hand-drawn graphics are outstanding. And the way that the movable objects and computer graphics interact with the hand-drawn graphics is simply stunning. The animations are spectacular, and coupled with the music and sound effects, it all creates one incredible atmosphere, and portrays a great deal of emotion throughout the game. If you’re curious, the game is an exact port of the PC/MAC and PS 3 versions.
Starting off, your character, Josef, is tossed into a dump. You’ll need to collect pieces of your body before you can move on. As you’ll quickly realize, there is no dialogue, or long text to read through. Everything is portrayed in thought bubbles with action sequences. This leaves basically all of your gameplay time free for solving puzzles and exploring the environments, which you will do a lot of. Machinarium has your typical search and collect mechanics, but also has you solving puzzles across environmental areas, as well as combining inventory items and mini-games. But it’s all brought together in such an incredibly flowing motion, that you’re never taken out of the immersion of the game.
Now, I’ll quickly admit that I haven’t had the pleasure of playing many Point & Click games, but from what I have played, the puzzles that you need to complete in Machinarium are incredibly creative, and at times, can be fairly difficult to figure out, and some of them can seem downright unfair. Even with other titles within the puzzle genre, I’ve never come across this level of difficulty. However, not once did it become difficult to the point that it was frustrating. If anything, the difficulty ended up driving my addiction and love for the game every step of the way.
If it does get frustrating, there are actually two different hint systems available. Tapping the question-mark in a bubble will give you a pop-up thought bubble nudging you towards the next item you’ll need to pick up. The other hint system is a sort of walkthrough. You’ll need to first complete the mini-game in order to open the walkthrough ‘book’, and then each move that you need to make in order to complete the game is drawn out for you. However, going through all of this to get to the walkthrough is enough to keep you from going to it, and it does kind of ruin the game if you keep going to it over and over again. But it’s there if you need it, so there’s not going to be one spot where you get stuck and just end up not completing the game, which is great.
The story isn’t immediately clear when you start up the game, but as you progress, and find out that you’re not alone, and that this machine world is full of quite a few different robots and machine-beings, all with different personalities of their own, all expressed and conveyed in a way that everyone and anyone, no matter their past, cultural background, or language, can completely understand and feel comfortable with knowing what it going on with all of them. And as you progress, and get to know and help these other robots throughout the world, the story opens up, and your main objective becomes clear.
I can not recommend Machinarium enough. Especially if you’re a fan of Adventure or Point & Click games, but even if you’re not. This is one title that has a very good potential of turning you into a fan of the genre. Priced at $4.99, it’s an incredible buy. Not many iOS games even come close to being on the same graphical level, and there’s very few titles that come close to being as immersive and entertaining as Machinarium. It’s a must-own game for everyone who has an iPad, and I hope that Amanita Design decides to port over more of their titles to the iOS. We’d be lucky to have them available to us.
Puzzle platformers are pretty hit n miss on the iOS. There’s not too many that really nail the platforming gameplay with a good mix of the puzzling mechanics. Beautifun Games SL first AppStore release, Nihilumbra, definitely does a good job of mixing the two, as you guide Born, a strange creature, unfamiliar with the world around him, while he tries to escape The Void. A darkness that is chasing him, as well as sending out weird and complex creatures after him.
The first thing that really caught my attention with Nihilumbra were the graphics. Surprisingly beautiful, the developers have managed to make the hand-drawn environments fit in with the artificial graphics, while keeping everything incredibly life-like. As you begin your journey, you find out that Nihilumbra isn’t you’re typical puzzle platformer. Not only do the levels run consecutively, but it also focuses on telling a story as well. Actually, a major part of the game is the story telling. Some screens have nothing but a flat path and text instead of platforms and enemies.
There are two control options, virtual controls with left/right and jump buttons, and tilt controls, which have you flip your device upwards in order to jump, leaving no buttons on the screen. The physics and inertia, like all platformers, are also incredibly important, though with Nihilumbra, the game focuses on using these two mechanics to drive the gameplay.
As you progress through the game, you’ll come across areas where you’ll unlock new colors, with a total of 5. You’re able to choose these by touching the icon in the top right corner, and then can color the platforms of the environment. Each of these has a different property, for example, blue; Blue is like ice. If you make the ground blue, you’ll go a lot quicker while sliding on it. Green is bouncy, and carries the inertia that you have when you hit it on forward, so if you jump from a high platform onto green ground, you’ll bounce back up to that same height. Brown is sticky, and lets you stick to surfaces. You also have a certain amount of these colors which you are able to use between checkpoints. At every checkpoint, the colors will be returned to your orbs. You can also use the ‘void’ color to erase any colors that you put down.
However, all of the colors don’t only effect you, they also effect every moving object within the game. The enemies, boxes, projectiles… everything, and Beautifun Games has done an outstanding job creating puzzles centered around enemies, their projectiles, boxes, as well as the environment.
The game’s description in the AppStore says that it has 10 hours of gameplay. But chances are, you’ll be able to complete the game in about 2-3 hours. Where the real challenge and 10 hours of gameplay comes in is after you complete the game, and unlock Void Mode. Here, you have less amounts of the colors, and the puzzles become incredibly difficult.
Nihilumbra is priced at $2.99, and is Universal. The controls are re-sized on the iPad, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with controls that are out of reach. There is no GameCenter support, but this isn’t really a game that needs it. With the game focused around the story, and just completing the game, there is no score, and no time limit. It would have been nice to see some achievements, but the feeling you get when completing Void Mode is definitely worth more than 50 GC points. Beautifun Games has definitely made their mark on the genre with Nihilumbra. It’s fantastic graphics, and great gameplay make it a puzzler unlike anything else in the AppStore. It may come off a bit preachy at times, but it does an incredible job of creating an immersive gameplay experience, one that all fans of puzzle and platform games should not miss out on.
Point & Click Adventure titles are a perfect fit for the iOS, and with more and more of these titles being ported over from other platforms, fans of the genre couldn’t be happier. The most recent addition to the genre is the PC title, Yesterday, developed by Pendulo (The Next Big Thing, the Runaway Series, Hollywood Monsters and Igor), and published by Bulkypix. It revolves around a non-governmental organization’s volunteer, Henry White, who’s trying to help find out who is behind a series of killings driven by a Satanic psycho.
Yesterday isn’t your typical Point & Click Adventure. Revolving around murder, Satanism, insanity, the homeless, and more, Yesterday is more of an adult-themed title, which definitely sets it apart from most titles within the genre.
Even though the atmosphere, environments, and story all revolves around darker subject matter, and looks like it might fit perfectly as a Velvet Acid Christ music video, the character models of Yesterday are fairly cartoony, looking like something you might find on Cartoon Network. Even though this is the case, it doesn’t detract from the amazing atmospheres. The characters, though seeming callow most of the time, provide a rich and immersive dialogue, creating a wonderful story to experience while solving the various puzzles and exploring the dark environments throughout the game.
The controls are typical of any other point & click title on the iOS. You’ll tap where you’d like to move your character, tap on objects or areas you’d like to check out more closely, and when the items in question are shown on the screen, you’re given a magnifying glass and hand icons, with the magnifying glass icon giving you more information about the objects, and the hand letting you interact with the objects.
If there are objects which you can interact with, they will be moved to the bar at the top of the screen, so that you can combine them with other found objects, or use them later on, while dragging them from the bar to an object in the environment lets you use them.
The puzzles contained in Yesterday can be pretty challenging, but helping out with what objects can be checked out is an icon in the lower left corner of the screen. Tapping on this icon lets you see what all objects and items can be looked at more closely in each screen. Checking out everything you can within the environment, combining multiple items and using them to activate various objects in the game is required to progress through the story. But like most point & click games, figuring out what goes with what, and where everything can be found and/or used is where the real challenge lies.
Mixed in with the game’s object matching mechanics are little parts within the dialogue which help add to the game. For instance, towards the beginning of the game, you’ll need to figure out certain chess moves in order to move on in the dialogue. Fortunately, if you’re not into chess, and answer wrong, you can keep tapping on the answers until you get it right. Even though this does sort of beg the question as to why these were included in the game, but they’re nice to see regardless.
Yesterday is Universal, and priced at $4.99. If you’re a fan of the Point & Click genre, it’s definitely one of the best titles available for the iOS, and since it’s published by Bulkypix, you can pretty much guarantee that if any issues arise, they’ll be fixed or dealt with in a timely manner. The only thing missing from the game is GameCenter integration with achievements. But non-the-less, Yesterday contains a fantastic story-line with incredibly immersive atmospheres, and characters that draw you into the story. It’s a title that I’m very pleased to have on my iDevice, and hope to see more titles from Pendulo ported over in the future.
It’s not too often you can come across an RPG title which is unique and has an interesting story. Winner of Bytten.com’s ‘Most Addictive’ Game Award for 2012, Fall of Angels, developed by Kevin Mitchell (who previously worked for Eurocom Entertainment Software and IBM) and Lee Pattison, is one of the few RPGs available in the AppStore which falls away from the typical cutesy plots and cartoonish graphics resulting in a terrific turn based/real time RPG with a memorable story, unique graphics, and great gameplay.
Starting off, you’re shown a cut-scene with some sort of object appearing out of nowhere and shooting through the sky, crash landing somewhere off in the distance. Next, there’s a dialogue sequence between a soldier and commander who’s forces are trying to break through the borders of the land where they believe the object has landed. You come in during the battle as Sariel, a member of CEL, an elite worldwide force working for the religious powers within the world of Fall of Angels.
The controls are presented nicely, and easy to use; A floating joystick, run button in the lower right corner, and the menu button in the top right. Battle controls are clean and also very simple to use; Tap on the character you want to use, tap on the action, Attack, Skills, Action or Items, and then tap on the enemy you want to take action against. If you would like to use your typical attack, you can just tap on your character 3 consecutive times, and he’ll automatically attack the enemy.
The fighting is Turn-Based, but only to an extent. Your character’s can only attack after a cool-down, but there is no break in the battle. If you don’t attack right away, you could wind up being hit numerous times before you get a hit in. This makes the battles more action oriented, and pretty unique. Each of the battles you enter is basically voluntary. You’re able to see each of the enemies and animals on the map, so there are no hidden/random battles.
Graphically, Fall of Angels looks like an old-school PC title; 2D sprites set against 3D environments. This does make for some hard to find pathways that are hidden behind trees or walls, but I’ve never wound up feeling lost or stuck. The environments are nicely detailed, and easy to tell apart. Animations are decent enough, though the running animation looks pretty weird, and some of the stances that the characters take look awkward. But it consistently gives you the feeling of an old-school RPG, which I absolutely love.
As you make your way through the game, you’ll be able to collect tools which you can equip and use to complete puzzles, and side-tasks, as well as collect various objects. The interactive puzzles are a nice addition to the game, and even though they take you out of the core gameplay, they don’t distract from the immersion.
Priced at $2.99, but on sale at the moment for $1.99, and available for the iPhone/iPod, you’ll need to play in 2X mode if you’re on your iPad, which is kind of a bummer. The environments don’t wind up being pixilated, but the character sprites do. Hopefully an HD or Universal version will be released in the future. The developers have said that Fall of Angels is only the beginning of a wider story arc that’s already been written, which is great to hear. The AppStore could definitely use more RPG titles like this. If you’re a sucker for old-school RPG games, Fall of Angels has one of the most interesting stories you’ll find in an iOS title, and interesting combat+puzzle mechanics. It’s one you should definitely check out.
Strategy Games are really hitting their stride in the AppStore, but one of my favorites has always been Tactical Warrior by James Pawliuk. Earlier this week, the two man team consisting of Mr. Pawliuk and Brandon Alter released their 3rd iOS title, LostStar Tactics, a turn-based strategy RPG with some great gameplay, nice graphics, and an interesting story to go along with it. But does it warrant purchasing when so much of the game is identical to Tactical Warrior?
When compared to Tactical Warrior, the whole set-up of the game and gameplay is almost identical. Moving costs stamina, unless you move to an orange tile and each attack or special ability you use costs stamina, while resting offers your character recovery of stamina. Each character, as well as enemy, has stats which you’ll need to learn so that you can know what attacks will work well, and what attacks will result in almost no damage at all. Even the party screen is an almost identical clone of Tactical Warrior’s.
The character designs and environments, however, are fairly different. The characters have quite a bit of details, with some wielding some pretty badass looking weapons while the environments lean more towards lightly forested and murky areas, though the environmental objects still play a roll in where you’ll move your characters and how you attack with them.
While exploring the outer reaches of space, you wind up finding something extraordinary. The planet Moridia, which legends say is home to mythical knowledge and treasures hidden in a mysterious ‘nebalua‘. An energy pulse takes your ship out while exploring, resulting in a crash landing on the unexplored planet. Now it’s up to you and your team to survive the attacking life forms, and find a way back home.
Starting off, you’re able to choose between 3 different groups of fighters; Mechanic, who’s main focus is summoning – Warrior, who focuses on powerful attacks – and Councillor who focuses on flexibility. You’re also able to choose between Easy, Medium and Hard Difficulties.
The game is set up kind of like a card based strategy game. Each character is able to equip various cards which allow them to perform different attacks as well as beef up their defensive skills. Once you earn enough experience through battles, you’re able to strengthen these cards up. Some battles will also give you cards as rewards, and sometimes you’ll be offered another character to add to your team. Each time you’re offered a reward, you’re given 3 choices to choose from. In the event of a new member being offered, you’re able to not add a member, and give some XP to your team. All of this makes the card equipping, leveling up, and even item equipping aspects of the game fairly deep.
Aside from the cards, story and character design+environments, LostStar Tactics could easily be a sequel to Tactical Warrior. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Especially when I think about all the hours upon hours I lost because of Tactical Warrior. There’s also the price. $1.99. Hard to beat that, considering Tactical Warrior is $2.99, and worth every penny. But even with the fantastic gameplay, there are a couple of down-sides to the game. The game is not Universal, so those of you out there who hate playing games in 2X mode on your iPad will be pretty disappointed. There’s also no GameCenter, meaning no achievements to shoot for. Also, if there’s a player or enemy at the bottom of the screen underneath the text that says “touch a warrior to view his stats.” you’ll need to move the playing field in order to select them. It’s not a big deal, but something that kept on bugging me while I was playing. Actually, none of these ‘issues’ are really a big deal. LostStar Tactics is one of those games that’s good enough it’s very easy to overlook having to play in 2X Mode, and the lack of achievements or any online features.
In the end, LostStar Tactics is a fairly deep turn-based strategy game with great RPG elements, also with a price that really can’t be beat. Hopefully it gets the attention it deserves so that more work will go into it, and hopefully we can get an HD or Universal version of the game. An online multiplayer mode would be amazing to see as well. But for $1.99, it’s a great buy if you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games. Even if you’re new to the genre, LostStar Tactics would be a great place to start. It’s easy to understand tutorial and simple gameplay that gets deeper the more you explore it is great for newcomers to the genre.
Kemco, developers of the amazing turn-based RPG, Symphony Of Eternity, have returned with an equally amazing addition to the genre, releasing Alphadia. The developers over at Kemco have proven that they know exactly how to make a turn-based RPG comparable to the likes of Final Fantasy, so when they came out of the gate so soon after SoE with their second iOS release, Alphadia, RPG fans knew they had to have it.
First off, the graphics. Alphadia doesn’t fully share the retro look of it’s sister title, SoE, but it does share the retro feeling. Even though the graphics have been redrawn to take advantage of the retina display on newer iPods, the game still feels like a retro title. This amazing mesh of modern and old-school graphics has created quite an awesome looking world for gamers to completely immerse themselves in, with amazing character models, wonderfully detailed environments, and cute character animations, it all comes together extremely well, sucking players into the world.
The story of Alphadia takes place in a world free from war for 100 years. Either bored, or seeing something worth pursuing, the Schwarzschild empire has begun it’s conquest for world domination. You’ll control Ash, his brother, sister, and two mysterious characters, as well as others who join your party along the way, as you try and find a way to stop the quickly expanding Schwarzschild empire.
The story is, as to be expected from Kemco, extremely well translated, and very immersive. Feelings for the characters comes quickly, and the story is the main drive of the game. Where in SoE, the deep upgrade, equipping system was equal to the story, in Alphadia, the story takes the drivers seat, with everything else in the back.
Not to say that the equipping and leveling up system isn’t great, because it is. Each character, as well as enemy, has a certain element that they are familiar with, and have control over from birth. For instance, Ash’s element is fire. This means that almost all of his spells throughout the game will be connected to fire in some way. He is also most resistive to fire based enemies, and can have his butt handed to him by water enemies if you’re not careful. There are gems in the world that you can equip, and which give you either more control over your element, or give you the ability to use other elements, though not as powerfully as you can use your familiar element. All leveling up, and points are handled automatically by the game, so all the player needs to worry about is equipping a weapon, armor, and one accessory. This simplified leveling up and equip system makes the game a lot more accessible to casual RPG gamers, but there’s also formation handling, which can drastically change the outcome of big battles, so the whole formation, equip system is not so dumbed down that hardcore fans of the genre will find it boring and simple either.
Now, if you’re a player who doesn’t really focus on the story, and is more into the turn-based battle systems, you’ll be glad to hear that you can tap repeatedly on the screen to skip through the story, then find out where you need to go using the map along with the quest icon in the pause menu. There are some areas where you’ll just need to explore a bit, randomly running into enemies that do not appear on the field, more like an older Final Fantasy game, until you enter the room with the character you’re needing to find in order to progress. There is a bit of exploration in the game, as you would expect if you’re familiar with Kemco, for instance, the map will only highlight your final destination, but in order to get there, you might need to find a tunnel that’s “somewhere north-east of this facility”, so you will come across plenty of battles to feed your battle system addiction. However, there’s also an Auto button if you’re more interested in the story and larger battles.
The only bad thing I can say about Alphadia is that the battle results screen sometimes feels like it’s getting in the way of the game. It doesn’t matter how quickly or how much you tap on the screen, the battle result screen has a set time that it’s shown.(PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ OUR CORRECTION OF THIS, THE BATTLE RESULTS SCREEN CAN BE TAPPED THROUGH!) This could be fixed in a future update, but right now, it can feel like it’s breaking up the game just a little bit too much. Aside from that, Kemco has given RPG fans another amazingly well done title to completely immerse themselves in. With the launch price of $2.99, it’s a steal, and must-buy for anyone remotely interested in playing a top notch turn-based RPG on their iDevice.
It really seems like iOS RPG games have all pretty much been re-skins of previous releases, all following in the same suit, and getting spoon fed to gamers through the AppStore. There’s hardly any originality anymore, and even if there is, it’s generally only one little aspect. Thankfully, The Game Bakers have come to the rescue with their new release, Squids. It’s a stretch back and flick controlled exploratory strategy action game with a well crafted story, turn based combat, items to equip, and characters to level up. In other words, a new breed within the RPG genre.
In Squids, you’ll control 4 characters as you try and save the depths of the ocean from being overrun by an evil force called The Ooze that takes control of it’s host, and turns it evil. There are 21 beautifully hand drawn and painted levels to try and make it through by choosing which 4 out of 7 characters you would like to use. There are 4 different classes that each of the seven characters will fall under; Shooter: these characters can shoot projectiles at enemies that are within range. Trooper: these characters pack quite a punch. Scout: scouts have a boost ability, which means they can make it into some sections that other characters can not, and will almost always be able to get to the end of the level before everyone else. They can also use their boost ability (which is done by tapping on the screen after you’ve flicked them) to increase damage done to enemies, or hit them a couple of consecutive times. Lastly, Healer: healer characters are generally pretty weak, but if you bump into another character with a healer character, they will heal that character.
Each character has a certain amount of moves they can make, but depending on how hard you flick them, those moves will vary. Each character will start off surrounded by orbs when it is their turn to move. Pulling your character back will show you how many orbs you will use in that one move before you let go and actually perform the move. You also have a certain amount of times that you can use your character’s ability each move, for instance, shooters can shoot projectiles once per move, while scouts have 3 dashes per move. There are jars with power-ups scattered throughout each of the levels, some containing items to help you defensively, some offensively, some health, and some give you back some or all of your movement orbs. These are collected when you pass through them, and do not stop your current move. There are also treasure chests and clams that you can bump into and gain pearls. Pearls are the in-game currency, and are also given out when you defeat an enemy, or accomplish a special move or maneuver, like hitting 2 characters in one shot or bouncing off and around 3 different corners without taking damage. These pearls are collected by tapping on them, so you will not need to waste a move to go back and collect them if you pass them up. There is also a star hidden in each of the levels, which will give you 500 pearls at the end of the level, along with re-filling your movement orbs and ability. At the end of each level, you will get a star ranking. These are given depending on how you preformed throughout the level. If you make it to the end of the level without loosing a character, that’s a star. If you find the hidden star in the level, that’s another star, and if you make it through the stage in a certain number of turns, that’s your final star. Each star will give you pearls, and you will also get pearls for completing the level.
There are IAPs in Squids, letting you buy pearls with REAL money, but with the amount of pearls you get in-game, you are not pushed towards buying those pearls at all. By level 8 my main scout was maxed out, and all of my other characters were 75% leveled up, and I had bought every equip item in the shop that had become available by then, so unless you want to max out your characters by level 2, the IAPs are completely un-necessary.
Now, to get to one of my favorite mechanics of the whole game. The hats that you are able to equip from the shop. Hats are hidden throughout levels in clams and treasure chests, and you can also unlock some hats after beating certain levels. The hats that you find in-game will be free once you get to the shop, and the hats that you unlock by completing levels will cost pearls. But, once you get a hat, you’ll notice they have stats, like heightened strength, defense, HP, but here’s the cool part, you can transfer those stats permanently over to the class of characters that the hat is made for. So if you get a hat that your scouts can equip, and it adds 2 hit points, 3 defense points, and 1 attack point, those points can be transferred over to all of your scouts, then your scouts will keep those points even if the hat is not equipped. It’s a very nice addition to the game mechanics, and really surprised me when I first noticed you could transfer stats over. Right away, it was one of the things I was telling people about, because I’ve never seen this done in a game before.
The game includes GameCenter support with a leader board and 22 achievements, so along with the star rankings, hidden stars, and training level, there’s more replay value than you’d first think with this being an RPG game. Squid’s story is well written and engaging, and the gameplay is packed full of action mixed with loads of strategy. It’s hard to believe the game is only $0.99, with the game lasting about 5 or 6 hours for your first play through, not including the amount of time it‘ll take to go back and get all the stars you missed the first time around or the amount of time you‘ll sink into training or getting the achievements/working up the leader boards. The Game Bakers have announced that they’re going to be releasing an iPad version in about a month, but if you really can’t wait, you can think of the iPod version as a 99 cent pre-release preview. It will be a little blurry on the big screen, but manageable. If you’re a fan of adventure, action, RPG or strategy games, this one is definitely a must buy. The developers are hard at work making the iPad version, as well as making the original even better by taking suggestions.
Squids gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10, along with a strong recommendation.
Casual games with a story don’t really come around too often, and casual games with a long, deep, and well thought out story are pretty much non-existent. This is where Parogames Limited breaks the mold with their recently released title, Parodise. In this action/defense swiping game, you’ll learn about Parodise, your main character, Dumy-667, his supposed partner, Dumy-666, as well as his… boss, Yody, GOD, and Doomy.
To get through each day in Parodise, you’ll need to defend yourself against Doomy, a Dumy who has changed due to an insane amount of bottled up negative emotions, who will constantly be throwing objects at you. To do this, you’ll need to swipe on either the left, right, or both sides of Dumy-667, slicing each of these objects in two with your swords, but waiting until they get as close to your body as you can. Each object you successfully slice will add to your Soul Absorber, which, when full, will let you perform a super slash move that slices all the objects on the screen. Each time you get hit, you’ll loose one of two flames burning on the Holy Fire Defense System. Loose both flames and get hit again, and you’ll have to replay the level, but if you loose a flame, then slice an object, adding to your Soul Absorber, it will re-light the flame. Starting to sound confusing? Just wait until you really get into the story. Along with the Story Mode, there’s also a DOJO Mode, Hardcore Mode, Master Mode, and Panties Mode, each of which is unlocked by completing certain objectives in the previous Mode, thought these can be pretty challenging, and time consuming to unlock, once you do, it adds endless replayabilty to the game.
The graphics in Parodise are done in a nice and polished cartoony theme, with pretty interesting environments. The animations for all of the objects are done very well, adding loads of personality to the game, and everything in it. The music and effects give the game that real casual type feeling, and placed on top of the action filled gameplay actually fits perfectly with the game. This casual game with a deep, humorous, and profound story.
GameCenter is supported, with 63 achievements, and 4 leader boards, one for each of the unlockable Modes. There’s not a whole lot of replay value in the Story Mode, but with 4 endless Modes, there’s plenty to replay. Parodise is $1.99, and Universal, and right now is on sale for $0.99. This has quickly become one of my personal favorite casual games, and is so easy to recommend to everyone, hardcore gamers to casual gamers, this game will satisfy you in ways you never thought a casual game could. It’s addictive, funny, serious, challenging, and after the first couple days and little bit of story, you’ll start feeling for Dumy-667, feeling bad for him, rooting for him, and wondering what the hell is going on, all at the same time. This is one game no one should miss out on. Parogames has shown us with their first iOS release, that they are in this for the long haul, and are willing to put more work into their game than almost every other casual game developer.
I’m not personally a big fan of turn-based RPGs. Though there are a couple that have really had an impact on me, but only a handful. Turn-based RPGs just aren’t really my thing, though the ones that I have enjoyed, I enjoyed immensely. What does this have to do with anything? Well, when I first saw that a new RPG had been released for the iOS, I didn’t even think for a second about checking it out until I heard a friend at work talking about a new amazingly immersive game he just bought. Symphony Of Eternity, released by Kotobuki Solution, just so happened to be that game. I ended up checking out some information that night when I got home, and when I read that it was a lot like the older Final Fantasy games, I immediately became intrigued as the old FF games are some of the very few turn-based RPGs that I have enjoyed to no end.
So, first off, the graphics. Symphony Of Eternity looks the part of an old-school game. However, there’s a modern feeling to it as well. The text parts are accompanied by pictures of characters faces that look pretty detailed, and some of the enemies that you’ll encounter have some pretty nice animations and elaborate graphic styles, as do the environments you‘ll fight them in. The world map, within towns, exploring certain areas, and the menus are all old-school styled though. It’s a nice mesh of old-school and modern styles, and all fits together very well. Nothing feels out of place, and the animations are well done. The music is very fitting of a turn-based RPG game, and actually reminds me a lot of some of the Final Fantasy soundtracks, and just like it did with FF, it adds quite a bit to the atmosphere and feeling of the game.
There are three control schemes; you can tap where you want to move to, or use one of two d-pads. One stationary, and one that centers where you set your thumb down onto the screen. The joystick/d-pads can seem a little unresponsive at times, but really, they just don‘t leave room for error. You will need to constantly make sure that your finger is still within the circle of the joystick, as going out of it even just a little bit will make your character stop walking, and because of this, it can kind of feel out of place until you get use to it. You can change the control set-up at any time from the game’s option menu. There are also options to change the fighting speed, conversation speed, and set the BGM and sound effects volumes. Along with these options, there is a very nice and in-depth help section in the pause menu, telling you how to do everything and what everything does. Accompanied with 5 save slots, and an Auto-Save, it’s very well rounded out in the options aspect.
Now, in the game, you’ll control a party of 3 members, a young man named Kreist, a special golem named Dauturu and a princess who they decide to let join them in their quest, named Laishutia. You’re on a journey to find the weapon, Regratlute, which grants it’s holder any wish they desire. I don’t want to give away much more of the story, because as you might have guessed, it’s a huge part of the game. In fact, it’s very well written, and very immersive. The way the characters interact with one another and reveal their strengths and weaknesses draws you in, and makes you feel for them. The closest game I can compare it to is Final Fantasy 7. The way it’s written, and how the story is presented reminds me of the way I felt when I first played FF7 many years ago, and because of this, it’s looking like Symphony Of Eternity will make it’s mark on me.
The battle system is like your typical turn based game. You’ll be able to choose between using your basic weapon attack, an item (healing or mana potions), a special attack, or choose the characters stance. Once you decide what action you want a character to take, you’ll then either tap on the enemy you want to attack, or on the character you want to use the potion on. Since the characters are pretty close together on the iPod Touch screens, it’s nice that the developers made it so that you can also tap on the character’s stat section on the bottom of the screen. In the characters stat section you can see how much health and mana you have, as well as a bar with a percentage above it. This is your break bar. Like Final Fantasy, this bar is filled when you attack, and when you are attacked, and once it is full, a “Break” icon will appear in the top right corner, which you can tap, and have the character with a full break bar (or choose the character you want to use their break ability, if you have more than one character with a full break bar) attack no matter who’s turn to attack it is. As you can imagine, this comes in handy, and can change the tide of a battle in seconds with the break attack being very strong. Also, if you happen to attack with your characters one right after the other, you’ll get a combo increase on your attack power, which goes up with each successive attack. All of the enemies also have week points which you can see if you decide to use the Princess’s power to do so. Doing this, you can find out what their week points are, and what magic does the most amount of damage to them. This does come in handy when fighting some of the stronger enemies. Once you finish the battle you will be awarded with experience, gold, tablet points and any items that the enemies might have had.
As you gain experience, and level up, you are able to distribute Merit Points among each of the characters. These will increase the characters offense, defense, magic abilities, magic defense, speed, and more. There are also tablets that you can have your characters equip. Each of the tablets gains points after battle, and gives each character certain abilities and has special skills and effects, like increased defense, a special attack, and adding to the character’s HP, all of which grows as you gain tablet points. So, there is obviously a ton of customization to play around with in the game, and all of it, of course, has an effect on how you end up playing the game.
Kemco has done an amazing job with Symphony Of Eternity, and I feel like I owe Kotobuki Solution for bringing it to the platform. I have seriously not had this kind of gaming experience in a long, long time. Everything about the game is top notch, and so incredibly well done, it’s really not so hard to believe that the only other games like it in the AppStore are the re-releases of Secret Of Mana, and the Final Fantasy games, and Symphony Of Eternity fits extremely well within that small class of astounding turn-based RPGs, that are all well worth their premium price-tags, if not more. It is $8.99, and very much worth the purchase. If you’re a fan of RPGs, or really just exceedingly well written, very immersive adventure games with loads of customization, you’ve got to pick up Symphony Of Eternity. It will grab your imagination and suck you into one incredibly amazing world.
Symphony Of Eternity gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10.
Supergay is a game from Klicrainbow, which has a lot of mini-games that you play while going through the story of Super gay & The Attack of His Ex-Girlfriends. Now, when I first heard of this game, I was a little worried that people would take it too seriously, and it really seems like they have. It’s a ridiculously weird comic book type story game that revolves around a gay character, but there’s a lot of humor in it, and a game with humor revolving around gay culture is going to get a few nasty reviews and bad press no matter how well it’s done.
In Supergay, you play as Tom, a scientist who has discovered the secrets to cloning, and is about to be married to his boss’s daughter. But he’s also gay, and just came out of the closet. So, what does he decide to do? Clone himself, of course, so that his clone can go through with the wedding. But things don’t turn out as planned, and inevitably, Supergay is born.
The mini-games throughout the game are decent enough. Some of them will have you fighting off girlfriend clones, while others will have you making the clone machine work, or hiding from the press while making it into the office. There’s a good variety of games, and each of them has nice, tight, responsive controls. Between the mini-games, you’ll have cut-scenes for the story, tapping on the screen to move on in the dialogue. The graphics are, like you’d expect, very vibrant and colorful, and look very polished and professional.
The story in Supergay is actually very well written, and the plot is well executed. Character’s change, drama unfolds, and there’s quite a bit of humor. It doesn’t drag on, or get boring, and as hard as having a story based game is, Klicrainbow has pulled it off extremely well.
There’s not really much more to say about Supergay, except that if you enjoy mini-games, and don’t mind reading a story while you play a game, and are not offended by gay culture, or by a developer making fun of gay culture (which you might take it as), then Supergay is a game that you should have. There is pretty much no replayability though, and once you get done with it, you’ll probably never open it again. No online services makes it tough to keep on your device as well. Is it worth $2.99? Probably not, but then again, it’s very hard to put a price on smiles and laughs these days, and I think $3 for this story game is a reasonable price. Especially since it’s Universal and the last update added 6 new levels, speaking of which, is probably the only reason you’d keep it on your device, the addition of new levels with updates. But Klicrainbow has done a great job creating a world for Tom/Supergay, and I hope to see them expand on it in the future, and maybe create a full-fledged platformer or action/adventure game to go along with this game.