Version Reviewed: 1.0.12
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:3/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]
The huge catalog of iphone games tends to cross every possible genre, so it's always interesting when you find a type of game that's under-represented for reasons other than control input issues (not that real control issues stop some games from release). I've seen quite a few MMORPG's on the platform, but the vast majority are MAFIA-type games or real-time strategy and don't sate the desire of an iPhone gamer who wishes for traditional turn-based RPG fun. CozyQuest is an answer to this need that is being built from the ground up and provides some of the best developer feedback around. While it needs time before it can completely dominate its space, there's an awful lot that's done right.
There's much in any game like this that doesn't need to be explained in a review as it's familiar to any fan of the genre. As such, I'll try to limit my review to where CozyQuest stands out or falls short.
User Interface and Server Response
Interacting with the main panel of Cozyquest is a lot like operating the Springboard of your iPhone. Each section of the world is represented by square icons with rounded corners. These sections are often traditional RPG stores such as the blacksmith, the inn, the apothecary, etc. as well as chat rooms, an auction, a game update listing and news postings. Everything in these sort of areas works about like you'd expect. While navigating this you always have the option to inspect/use your character's stats, items and skills or to "Adventure" which basically means returning to the home screen. Quest areas are slightly different, in that there's the addition of a banner-type button to either continue searching or return to town. Occasionally these buttons require a swipe to access, which can be a little annoying.
When I first started playing Cozyquest about two weeks ago, I was a little dismayed with the time it took to do anything. An attack or selection would regularly take three to four seconds. This can really be disconcerting when you're trying to level-grind. However, as I continued playing, the lag has completely resolved itself and now I only experience the occasional hesitation. It's nice to see things improve so much over a short time. There are still some slowdowns during peak hours and I'm sure there will be growing pains if the game takes off. Still, it's these little things that give a lot of hope for a game that's fun to play as is.
Classes and Races
CozyQuest starts out with the creation of your character. Like any other traditional RPG, character creation will dictate your path and overall experience within the game. There are five races and five classes (Merchant, Mages, Warriors, Priests and Rogues). Right now the race you choose doesn't have any real effect on your character (though race specific skills are scheduled for addition soon).
Class balancing seems to be a work in progress, but, in general, Priests, Warriors and Rogues seem to be the most complete. I couldn't play several classes due to the amount of time required but it seems that things in this area are changing as rapidly as everything else.
Gameplay and Longevity
CozyQuest's developer puts a strong emphasis on traditional RPG values. In other words, you won't be able to pay your way to a higher attack power and massaging of stats/cheating of any kind is discouraged. This is refreshing in a gaming world where everything from gold to experience have become commodities with real-world value. The only way to grow in the game is to play the game. I'm sure that black markets will eventually find ways to get around this (they always do) but, for now, the direction of CozyQuest is tightly focused. This contributes to the game's overall gameplay by assuring that the people in the game have (at least some of) the same values.
Just as with every other aspect of the game, Quests appear regularly. The developer seems to have a real interest in making sure that new content constantly appears. As long as this practice is maintained I can't see there being any problem with replay value. When I opened CozyQuest during this review a second town was added, something that was scheduled for the next version update. In addition to this, right now the game seems to be single-player (there is a chat in-game) with indications that parties are coming. No doubt, if well implemented, that'll increase replay value.
My overall experience was very good once I had leveled up a few times and learned a skill. I found myself getting more and more involved as the game progressed. This continued until I had to back off and get back to other commitments. So yes, CozyQuest has that sticky quality that it needs to hold on to its players.
Developer and Community
One of the most impressive things about Cozyquest is the frequent updates and communication of planned updates. This is, I guess, not as uncommon in the computer MMORPG space, but it feels good to have that openness on the iPhone where a lot of games don't seem to have roadmaps. Every time something is added to that list and checked off it increases the user's confidence in the dedication of the developer. The developer also seems to be slowly building a community and to be very active/responsive in forums.
The artwork in Cozyquest obviously took a lot of work to create. The interfaces look appropriate for the genre and there are a lot of little, nice touches throughout the game. My only caveat would be that the art style doesn't stay very consistent. Rats, for example, look like something from Don Bluth (which I love) while other monsters lean toward traditional fantasy photorealism. This sort of back and forth doesn't greatly detract from the game, but it does make things feel thrown together at times. I'm hopeful given that the Character page has seen vast improvement over the time that I've played.
Cozyquest steps over into the realm of hardcore, dedicated gaming. It's a well-done foundation for a game that promises to grow by leaps and bounds in the future. Lately, every time I login there are noticeable changes. You may be hesitant to make the purchase right now, but, if you're interested in this genre at all, you'll want to keep tabs on CozyQuest in the months ahead.