Posts Tagged Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD

 

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning

appstoreevo01The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 – Moving Right Along

appstoreevo02aappstoreevo02bThe following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.


Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »

From the first moment video game consoles began to appear in homes across the world, there were people who longed to take the experience with them wherever they might go. And as rapidly as technology might improve, it’s still not easy to replicate the console experience on a handheld device. But it is possible, even on gadgets that weren’t created with video games as their primary function. With that in mind, we present an iOS title that many of us here at 148apps believe is worthy of being called a console-quality game.

*NOTE: “Console-quality” refers to the quality of the experience, not just the graphics. This is about the depth of gameplay, content, and in some cases how accurately it portrays the ideals of its console counterpart.*

The Backstory
An unlikely hero with a tragic past. A mystery to unravel. Revenge to be had. After some fiddling with avatar creation Aralon: Sword and Shadow begins with a bit of a foggy back-story about the main character’s father and indications of political corruption. Players work their way through a few tutorials masked as quests – thankfully no “kill the rats in the tavern cellar” tasks – then set out on their quest of discovery and redemption. And what a quest it turns out to be.

The Gameplay
Aralon: Sword and Shadow is the very thing many iOS owners have been clamoring for; an open-world fantasy RPG. Enemies, treasures, and hidden areas are strewn throughout the land just begging to be defeated, found, and explored respectively. There are plenty of skills to learn and master, many of which depend on a character’s class. Factions are available for joining. Potions can be crafted from plants and other items harvested throughout the environment. Quests of all sorts can be found and taken just about anywhere. There are even a number of side tasks such as fishing to keep players distracted. In essence; it creates one of the most expansive, content rich worlds ever seen in an iOS game.

How Does It Play?
Aralon: Sword and Shadow is a fantasy RPG set in a massive fully-explorable world, with day/night cycles, mounts, few boundaries, and is playable in first or third-person. It sounds quite a bit like an Elder Scrolls game, doesn’t it? Well it kinda is. Virtually every aspect of Aralon’s gameplay is reminiscent in some manner of Bethesda’s acclaimed series; from the traversal to the crafting. The land may not be quite as large or borderless as those found in Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim, but the spirit of exploration is certainly comparable.

Touch controls and hardware constraints aside, Aralon: Sword and Shadow basically is an Elder Scrolls game for iOS devices. The world is huge and full of secrets, there are lots of items to acquire and enemies to vanquish, and most importantly it’s incredibly easy to spend hours doing non story-related tasks. And honestly, I can’t think of a better game to call a console-quality iOS game.


$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

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