Version Reviewed: 1.0
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When I play Rimelands: Hammer of Thor, I think to myself, "I would've been happy playing this on my PC back in the good ol' days of PC gaming. I've read some reviews of Rimelands on iTunes, and I think that some people miss the point of the genre. There should be some kind of label on the iTunes page stating that this is not a dungeon crawler. If you go in expecting Diablo, you will be disappointed. The combat system is turn based, dice are the backbone of the combat, and you have to stick to your character class. If you go in thinking you'll be a brawler and then decide you want to be an assassin, you're out of luck.
Think of Rimelands as less Diablo, and more of Fallout 1+2. In fact, much of the storyline reminds me of Fallout, even though this steampunk game is based more upon D&D than Mad Max. The story goes like this: the humans in the 19th century pollute the Earth and cause an ice age. To survive, they go into caves (vaults?) to survive. Years later they come out to a world that is inhabited by magical creatures, faeries and the like. They end up fighting over whose world it is, and then there is you stuck somewhere in the middle. Like the poor vault dweller from Fallout, it becomes up to you to save the world. Along the way there are tons of NPC's to talk to, enemy unit types to fight, and weapons to collect... all things that you would expect from a good RPG.
The real winner in Rimelands is the combat system combined with the excellent upgrade tree. At the beginning of the game, right around when you first level up, you decide what type of player you will be. Will you be a brawler, an assassin, or a mage? I always like plucking off people with ranged weapons, so I chose the assassin. As the assassin, each of my level ups enhance my long range/assassin abilities. Some levels will give me extra damage for ranged attacks, while others will let me add to my ability tree, which is full of skills that you can use during combat.
The combat system is probably the most unique thing about the game -- after a long search, I think I've found a game with a D-Pad that works well. Regular movement works with the D-Pad, letting you only move four directions. Once you reach a combat point, you'll see a red halo go around your image in the top left. Instead of shooting you to a silly combat scene, the game instantly has you in combat. Once in combat, you can do anything you want in your turn (there are no combat points), and it is over once you attack or move a space. Special moves take magic points, of which you have a set amount, and that's it.
Once you attack, you get a certain amount of dice rolls depending on how powerful you are and the computer gets a certain amount of defensive rolls, and vise-versa when you are being attacked. The dice aren't typical 6-sided die, they are a combination of skulls (damage), shields (defense), and X's. It all makes sense once you get into the game, trust me.
All in all, Rimelands is the first turn based RPG that I didn't feel constrained by the controls or game speed. On top of that, there is a good story, there are good characters, good combat, good level designs, and good graphics. If you are at all interested in turn based RPG's, pick up Rimelands, you won't regret it.