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Rage of the Gladiator Fights its Way from the Wii to iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on November 1st, 2012

I unfortunately missed out on the chance to play Rage of the Gladiator when it was originally released on the Wii, despite my legitimate interest. Luckily I’ve gotten a second chance because Gamelion is porting it over to iOS devices as a fully re-mastered and arguably definitive version.

The basic story is that Gracius, the main character and gladiator extraordinaire, is fighting for his freedom and for revenge against those who’ve slain his father. How? By cutting a swathe through a horde of inhuman bosses. Anyone who’s played Infinity Blade will be familiar with the adapted control scheme (tap arrows to dodge left/right, tap buttons to block, swipe to attack), but combat in Rage of the Gladiator feels decidedly more arcade-like than Epic’s, well, epic. Attack and response time is a bit faster, fights are broken up into three “rounds” much like a boxing match, and there are a number of weapons and skills to unlock and purchase as you progress.

Again, while Rage of the Gladiator is indeed similar to that other popular swipe fighter it’s not exactly a carbon copy. There’s a noticeable emphasis on giving each combatant their own personality, and with the addition of a jump button and some rather complex combo attacks it can be quite the ordeal to make it through a fight in decent shape. It‘s definitely a challenge but every pattern can be learned eventually and it can be exceedingly satisfying to knock a particularly bothersome foe in the jaw with a warhammer in slow motion.

Anyone interested in a first-person arcade-esque gladiatorial beat down should keep an eye on the App Store. There’s no official word on a price but Rage of the Gladiator is set to release sometime in November.

EpicHearts Plus Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on October 22nd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EPIC NANNIES
EpicHearts isn't just another action RPG. It's another action RPG with a story that hasn't been done to death, delightful visuals, and quite the robust offering of content.
Read The Full Review »

Mission Europa is a Console-Quality iOS Game

Posted by Rob Rich on September 28th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HIDEOUSLY AWESOME :: Read Review »

The Backstory
A mining operation on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, has gone quiet. A team is sent to investigate and gets shot down in short order. Players control the lone survivor as he teams up with the facility’s computer in order to piece it all together and hopefully get home intact. A task made all the more difficult by the horrific cyber-zombie-demon-monsters that used to be the miners. It’s the kind of story we’ve seen in Sci-Fi horror before (Virus and Moontrap are just two examples I can think of), but it lends itself incredibly well to the interactive medium.

The Gameplay
Mission Europa (specifically the quintessential Collector’s version) is an odd duck of a RPG. It takes place entirely in first-person, utilizes both melee and ranged combat, features skills and summons that are akin to magic, contains tons of “lewts,” offers a crafting system, and has a pretty creepy atmosphere despite looking like it was rendered in crayon. Most of the time players will be wandering through the blood-stained halls, searching for a hidden item or hunting for a boss, all while fighting their way past the repurposed crew and other monstrosities. All the while finding and refining the abilities and gear that suits them best.

How does it Compare?
Because Mission Europa is an amalgamation of a number of different game types, it’s a bit like a lot of things. The gear collection, refining, and crafting is reminiscent of classics and contemporaries like Diablo or even Borderlands. The first-person combat is similar to an older Bethesda title, say like Oblivion. Meanwhile the oppressive atmosphere and disturbingly dark tones bring cult classic System Shock 2 to mind. The amazing thing is that it incorporates all these concepts, but it does them well, and even cohesively.

I could picture Mission Europa running on a PC quite easily, and it’s got the wealth of content (loot drops, crafting, creepy story, multiplayer, etc) most PC gamers crave. It would be right at home on Steam, too. Who knows? Maybe with a little push Banshee Soft might submit it to Greenlight and put my claims to the ultimate test.

*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.*

Infinity Blade 2 is a Console-Quality iOS Game

Posted by Rob Rich on August 17th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The Backstory
After finally besting the God King and discovering a few unexpected surprises that I won’t spoil here, Siris heads to the Vault of Tears in an effort to learn the secrets of the mystical blade he now possesses. The story in Infinity Blade 2 is more front-and-center than it was in the original, and it’s difficult not to get drawn into the intrigue surrounding the Worker of Secrets and the world of the Deathless. Of course Siris’ quest to free the Worker is fraught with peril and conflict at every turn, and it’s these fights where the game truly shines.

The Gameplay
Stripping away the dark fantasy visuals, Infinity Blade 2 is essentially a game about one-on-one combat, loot gathering, and a bit of exploration. Some elements - such as the treasure maps and online clashmobs - are relatively new, but the core elements of finding treasure chests and unlocking paths to hidden areas has been an ongoing and much appreciated theme that makes the action-less segments far more interesting. Then there’s the action itself, which supports three (now up to four after a recent update) fighting styles and subsequent weapon classes: the sword and shield, two-handed swords, and dual swords (and now Solar Transport Energy Blades). And it’s all rounded out by tons and tons of loot.

How does it Compare?
While the loot does slightly call to mind games like the reigning loot-drop champ Diablo, Infinity Blade 2’s roots are actually grounded in an even more classic title. Remember Punch Out!? Yup, that one. I know they don’t look anything alike, but mechanically they’re practically twins. Both rely heavily on reading tells, finding openings, and taking advantage of weaknesses. It’s every bit a spiritual successor, just with gritty fantasy monsters and immortal tyrants.

It’s funny to think that the mechanics of a 25-year-old game could make such a drastic transition into a more modern title. Granted, the addition of RPG elements, loot, and gorgeous visuals don’t hurt, but it’s a gameplay system that’s been proven. It’s also one that’s just as fun now as it was back then.

*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.*

Aralon: Sword and Shadow Is A Console-Quality iOS Game

Posted by Rob Rich on August 3rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: CONSOLE WORTHY :: Read Review »

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.


Epic Raiders Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 30th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WALK THE LINE
It may not be the first strategy/party-focused/line-dragging RPG, but it just might be the best.
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Knightly Adventure Wants to Make Social Gaming a Bit More Interactive

Posted by Rob Rich on July 23rd, 2012

Freemium social games are all well and good, but a number of them are decidedly lacking in certain places. Namely in action. That’s probably why it’s so easy to take notice when companies like Pangalore announce a game like Knightly Adventure.

Knightly Adventure is indeed a social game, and it does indeed possess a bunch of typical fantasy RPG elements; stuff like medieval kingdoms, quests, hostile monsters, colorful storybook-like graphics, and so on. But while it adheres to many freemium norms, it also attempts to deviate in that one key area. Amidst all the kingdom building, character customizing, friend gathering, and so on is a much more interactive action RPG approach to the quests. With the option of choosing between four character classes (swordsman, wizard, bowman, or knight) available to further sweeten the deal.

This free-to-play cross-platform (mobile, tablet, or Facebook) super-hyphenated fantasy adventure will be setting up shop in the App Store sometime next month. Presumably and preferably soon.

Heroes in Time Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on July 9th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: INTERESTING
Sure the controls sometimes get in the way and many of the mechanics are fairly "standard" at this point, but Heroes in Time is actually a decent RPG with an unexpectedly interesting story.
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Samurai Tiger Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 20th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LACKS BITE
Some legendary warriors aren't all that legendary.
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Glorious Quest Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on May 11th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Glorious Quest has its problems, but it's a fun little pick-up-and-play action RPG.
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ILLUSIA 2 Review

By Rob Rich on April 20th, 2012
GAMEVIL follows up one of their lesser-known titles, but has time (and a bit more effort) allowed the sequel to surpass the original? Not exactly, no.
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Arranger is a Different Sort of Action RPG

Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2012

Hearing about an adventure/music/rpg is enough to pique my interest, and that's exactly what Arman Bohn's Arranger is setting out to be. However, reading over a few of the more descriptive elements has gotten me more than interested. It's gotten me downright excited, actually.

"The game is an Adventure/RPG that combines elements from classics like The Legend of Zelda, WarioWare and the original Sierra adventure games," according to the developer. Now if that doesn't get people's attention then I suppose there's no hope for the world. The mini-game laden adventure is looking pretty fantastic in a simple, retro-esque sort of way. Players will be controlling the tiny musician as they attempt to save the world in a less-then-typical fashion. Rather than direct combat or level-grinding, they'll be gathering a number of musical instruments in order to craft a tune that will avoid whatever this particular catastrophe entails.

Arranger is still a little ways out, being slated for a Summer 2012 release, but it definitely looks like something to keep an eye on. If the trailer below is any indication, it just might be worth the wait. It's also apparently going to have some great music.

Plants War Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STUNTED GROWTH
Plants War is a reasonably fun strategy/rpg-lite hybrid, but it feels like too much content is gated behind freemium economics.
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Crimsonheart Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on February 29th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SO PRETTY
Sure Crimsonheart is another contender for "Action RPG that's like most other Action RPGs on the App Store" from a virtual unknown, but it's a surprisingly solid attempt with some really impressive visuals.
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Prepare for the Ever-Expanding Nyrthos

Posted by Rob Rich on January 18th, 2012

2D action RPGs are always a popular genre. People (myself included) love the simplicity of fighting, looting, leveling, upgrading and crafting. BeerDeer wants to offer players more than that, hence the creation of Nyrthos. It's still every bit all of those things I've mentioned, but it adds a new element to the mix: player influence. It's not something as pedestrian as choosing from a dialog bog and seeing a good or bad event unfold, however.

In Nyrthos, the exploration of the world and availability of new areas is driven by the player base. One example given is that there might be a broken bridge that can be fixed once enough wood is gathered. If enough players decide to commit to the cause, the bridge will be repaired and the area beyond accessible to everyone. Similarly, players can found and manage their own village. They have a great deal of influence on the game world, and thanks to that the possibilities are practically endless.

Nyrthos will be entering open beta in the very near future (Q1, 2012), and anyone interested in taking a look can sign up on the official website. Pricing and release info are still non-existent at this point, which is to be expected, but we'll do our best to keep everyone up-to-date.