Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Mobile Gaming: A Healthy Dose of RPG

If there’s one game genre that I really, truly love, it’s RPGs. You could take away every other game I’ve got, and I’d be happy for quite a while with the likes of Nethack and Fallout 3.

That being said, I’ve been bummed for a while that there haven’t been any truly good RPGs for the iPod Touch / iPhone platform. Most of the offerings there have been your standard puzzle games that most people like to play, ports of card games, etc. There’s certainly a market for that, but those of us who game for reasons other than burning a few minutes here and there want something more.

That’s where The Chronicles of Inotia: Legends of Feanor comes in. I know that’s a mouthful; just call it Inotia. This is an old-school inspired RPG along the lines of The Legend of Zelda, with a top-down view and 2-d sprites. Playing is pretty simple – you get missions to fulfill ranging from the basic, “gather X amount of Y material for me,” to the more complex and long-term, “save us all from person Z.” It’s not ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s not trying to be. This is meant to be nostalgic for those of us that grew up with such fare, and perhaps an introduction for those who have yet to experience it.

I’ve yet to finish the game, having only played for a couple of days, but I can tell you right now that my experience has been a positive one, and I suspect there will be much, much more gameplay than what I’ve made it through so far (level 18 level 19 and still going strong). The best part? Inotia keeps surprising me. It seems fairly straightforward, simplistic in it’s presentation and application – tap on part of the screen to go there, tap an enemy to attack it, tap your red potions to regain health… so on and so forth. That being said, there’s a big difference between being able to handle one enemy and taking on four, which is (presumably) the max given the game’s grid-based movement system.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve been taken by surprise upon encountering new enemies – pixies, wild boars, orcs – and had to reevaluate my technique in order to have a better chance of survival. On top of that, levels are randomly generated – they’ve each got entrance and exit portals, enemies, and various environmental obstacles, but placement changes. Each time you go through an area, you’ll need to do at least a minimum amount of exploring, even if all you want to do is pass through on your way to the next level. Given the number of times you might expect to die, this keeps things from getting too repetitive, which is a risk in games like this.

There is a bit of grinding involved; there have been occasions upon which I’d like to move to the next area, but I can’t simply because I’ll die to quickly. A little grinding is necessary; there’s no way around it. There are, however, a few strategies I’ve found that work well, including staying near the area’s exit portal in case you get overwhelmed. If done correctly, you get all the extra experience points of fighting a hard enemy with very little risk of dying.

My opinion of the game might change as I continue playing. The flaws, of which there are a few, might bother me more than they do now, or I might encounter altogether new problems. One thing that bothers me right now is that my character’s sprite doesn’t change to reflect the armor and weapon I’ve got equipped. It’s a minor complaint, sure, but I’d like a little visual reminder of the progress I’ve made. Additionally, you’ve got special attacks that you can develop to deal extra damage over your standard swing the of the sword (or axe, or halberd). It would be nice if these attacks evolved a little past what they are now – they look exactly the same, just cause a few more points of damage.

For now, I recommend anyone looking for an RPG for their iPod Touch/iPhone look at The Chronicles of Inotia: Legends of Feanor. I picked it up for $4.99 on sale, regularly price at $7.99. Check back for updates – I’ll be attempting to get in touch with the game’s developers, Com2us, to see what their future plans are for Inotia and the platform in general.

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April 26, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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