Developer: Magma Fortress
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Hoplite enters its sword, shield, and spear into the roguelike arena. While the genre is rather trendy and the descriptor has been used to describe games that have nothing in common with the original Rogue, this is a bit more in line with that original turn-based dungeon crawler, and is a fantastic simplified mobile entry into the genre.

Hoplite-3Hoplite-7Players control a hoplite, armed with a sword, shield, and spear, descending into a 16-level dungeon in order to return the golden fleece and get back safely. The dungeons are hexagonal and all action is turn-based. When players move, all enemies move as well, with different attacks from certain ones. They all follow certain rules, and players must navigate the levels trying to avoid taking damage and to neutralize the threats as they try to escape to the next, with shrines that can heal, grant additional hearts, or special abilities like additional range with the spear.

The spear is one of several attack methods, this being a ranged weapon that must be retrieved after thrown. A shield can knock back bombs and enemies that are nearby. Players can also jump two squares to help escape from oncoming enemies. But most kills will come from sword stabs, which are generally governed by the rule of being adjacent to an enemy, and moving to another adjacent square, though I have noticed some exceptions with attacking archers.

Hoplite-5Hoplite-4The game is short and sweet; built for players to be challenged by it and to dive right back in. Each level, while procedurally generated to be different each time, is like a puzzle to be solved. Players must figure out where to move and when to attack in such a way that keeps them alive. Taking damage means that going to the altars might require not taking a useful upgrade. Learning how each enemy can affect the player in the current situation is very important: ranged enemies can be one’s ruin. Thankfully, even failure encourages players to jump back in because it’s such a short, replayable experience. It’s perfect for mobile, but doesn’t let up on any challenge.

The one issue with the game is with the interface: in the launch version, some touches do not register and thus players need to often tap multiple times to register that, yes, they want to move here or throw their spear there. The visuals are appropriately spartan, but the music does a good job at setting the mood.

Fans of roguelikes looking for something they can pass the time with would do well to go with Hoplite.


Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,