Developer: GAMEVIL
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

With just shy of a half-dozen titles spread out over all manner of iOS devices, I think it’s safe to say that the Zenonia series is something of a commercial success. And with four previous games worth of experience to draw from it would stand to reason that Zenonia 5 is the ultimate culmination of the formula to date. For the most part, it is, although it’s still not perfect.

Much like its predecessors, Zenonia 5 involves one of a handful of a young heroes, an amnesiac fairy, lovely visuals, plenty of action, and a features list that would probably require an intermission if read aloud. The protagonist in this instance can be one of four classes – the Berserker (big sword), Paladin (club, shield, healing magic), Mechanic (firearms), and Wizard (BURN ALL THE THINGS). Each performs pretty much as expected and features a number of personal active abilities that range from giant sword swings to massive lasers. The story doesn’t buck any trends (hero “dreams” the future, meets his destiny, etc), but it does manage to avoid a number of the more prevalent overused RPG tropes.

Anyone who’s played any previous Zenonia titles should feel right at home with Zenonia 5. As is also the case with the series, this new entry is bursting at the seams with content. Multiple customizable character classes (and character appearances!), daily challenges in the Abyss to try and earn rare loot, crafting, mining, fairy training, PvP, and so on. It’s also hands-down the best-looking title in the series to date with plenty of incredibly detailed and colorful environments and characters.

Unfortunately many of the series’ more common issues still persist. The virtual stick controls aren’t 100% accurate when it comes to double-tapping in order to dash, for instance. There’s also a rather unfortunate reliance on Zen (special IAP money) when it comes to buying more inventory space, upgrading equipment and the like. The biggest problem for me, however, and one that will undoubtedly plague other subterranean commuters like me, is that Zenonia 5 refuses to load when there’s no 3G/WiFi signal. I’d chalk it up to simply requiring a connection to play but if the game is already loaded before the signal is lost or airplane more is activated it still works just fine. I’m hoping it’s something that gets ironed out soon because it’s a fairly significant drag.

Ignoring the bizarre internet quirks and slightly disappointing fifth consecutive series of minor missteps, Zenonia 5 easily does the series proud. GAMEVIL’s still got a good handle on one of the top action RPGs in the App Store, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to give that up any time soon.


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