App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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It can be tough to know what to expect when jumping into an iOS JRPG. Sometimes a game can looks pretty but feature archaic design and incredibly dull characters. Other times it can look awful and sport a genuinely interesting story. Or, in RPG Symphony of Eternity’s case it can feature some fairly cool mechanics and party options.
Kingdom in trouble, monarchy overthrown, a young girl princess flees for her life only to return in an attempt to bring about order and peace, etc. It’s a fairly common story. In this instance young Laishutia meets up with an adventurer named Kreist and his golem companion Dauturu, then ends up traveling with them as they search for a legendary sword that grants whatever wish its wielder desires. Players navigate environments by tapping on a desired location or dragging to guide their character, all the while having the choice of whether or not to engage the enemy. That’s right, this is one of those RPGs that shows enemies on the screen and lets players attempt to circumvent or even get the drop on them. Once engaged combat is a more-or-less typical example of JRPG mechanics with turn-based attacks, item use, activating special abilities, and so on.
What makes Symphony of Eternity stand out are the smaller details. While the overall story might not be exciting the world itself is intriguing what with the autonomous golems wandering around. The same holds true for the mechanics, which allow players to equip certain characters with special “kits” that can completely alter their class and abilities. Characters can also learn class-specific abilities that stick with them even when they change their specialization, allowing for the creation of some pretty wild combinations.
However, as surprisingly cool as many of Symphony of Eternity’s finer points can be, many of the major points are underwhelming. As I’ve mentioned the story isn’t too terribly interesting, but it’s also not a very attractive game. Oh sure the character portraits look nice and the battle screens feature some nice enemy detail, but the rest of the game looks pretty rough by comparison. Healing party members can also be a bit annoying as I have to tap on the character I want in order to cast a spell or use a potion, but my thumb obscures the screen when I do. A small blurb pops up to show me who I’ve selected, sure, but I think it would’ve been better to allow players to tap on the desired character’s stat box.
I did have a few problems with it but Symphony of Eternity is very much the kind of RPG that’s far more impressive than it looks. Quirks aside it’s nice to play an iOS RPG that does things a little differently. And it’s even nicer to play one that manages the different so well.