Version Reviewed: 1.64.38
App Reviewed on: iPad Mini Retina
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
In HonorBound, players choose between one of 5 characters before setting off on a quest to take back a land that has been plunged into chaos - all to the tune of an epic score composed by Game of Thrones' Bobby Tahouri.
Traditional RPG elements such as turn-based play, team and character modification, and a lengthy story mode are all present here and carried out in such a simple and aesthetically pleasing manner that it never impacts on the playability or fun factor of the game; especially for unseasoned players such as myself. It feels very stripped back, particularly during battles, but never so much that it feels limited in any way. Upon leveling-up their Leadership players can unlock new allies (or ensnare them if they're feeling particularly 'kidnappy'), and new abilities and improved stats for their characters.
The emphasis in HonorBound is not centered around exploration. In fact, HonorBound is more of a rail-bound experience since players simply have to tap the forward arrow to navigate until the next interaction, confrontation, or end of each stage. It limits the experience slightly as the arrow-tapping becomes laborious and monotonous as time goes on. Fortunately though, there are multiple paths to follow, with greater rewards coming with greater enemy resistance.
Since it's a freemium game there is an energy system in HonorBound, and time restrictions for receiving research results from the scholars and barons in the academy. While levelling up does replenish the energy bar it isn't enough to prevent those much-resented pauses to progress that come with a freemium game. It's important to note that HonorBound is strictly an online game, so it may alienate those with wifi-only devices hoping to play on the move. However, once they are online players can take their team of misfits into battle against their friends in a risky but rewarding Arena mode, promising great XP gains to the victor.
Ultimately, HonorBound is a great introduction for the uninitiated in the ways of the iOS RPG, while having enough customisation possibilities, emphasis on narrative, and overall depth for veterans to sink their teeth into.