App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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A long time ago there were these two guys who liked video games and had some fun collaborating on web comic strips, also about video games. And somehow they’ve managed to turn their comic into a fully-fledged media icon. A video game in some form or another was inevitable. Now the third installment of Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness has made its way to iOS and, aside from a few minor quibbles, it’s an RPG well worth playing.
Gabe and Tycho have been running a sort of paranormal detective agency for several games now, but thankfully prior experience with the earlier two titles isn’t necessary. One or two references might fly overhead but overall it’s a very neat and tidy self-contained story involving the resurrection of ancient evil among other things. Being familiar with Penny Arcade in general will certainly help with a number of the inside jokes and enemies (for example, the Crabomancer), but even someone who’s never heard of Deepcrow can enjoy this weird and wonderful tale.
Much of Rain-Slick 3 is a refinement of Zeboyd’s atypical RPG mechanics and classic 16-bit era tropes. Magic charges up during a fight as opposed to existing in a constant pool, but at the same time enemies get stronger with each passing turn so saving up for those strong attacks while avoiding the threat of pummeling becomes a delicate balancing act. Thankfully all health, magic, and items are reset to their starting values at the end of combat so there’s none of that irritating potion/healing spell micro management.
I wasn’t all that surprised to find that the visuals, while still fantastic, have suffered a little in the transition to the iPhone’s tiny screen. It’s all still here and all still great, but some of the finer details are lost and some sprites appear a bit too jagged. What bothers me much more is the UI. It’s functional and never gets in the way of the gameplay, but those three buttons and one stick really clutter up the screen. Especially the movement stick. Including the option to make it “float” (i.e. only appear when the screen is tapped/dragged on) certainly helps, but I feel like the stick doesn’t even need visual representation to begin with. At least not anything that massive.
Rain-Slick 3 is a fantastic, refreshing RPG on its own and well worth a look from any genre fans despite a couple of setbacks. Genre fans who are also Penny Arcade fans would be foolish not to buy it right now. Heck, even someone who already owns the PC or Xbox version will love being able to play on the go. It’s clever, hilarious, and most importantly tons of fun. Who doesn’t like fun?