Posts Tagged console quality

The Backstory
Both Zeboyd and Penny Arcade have had a hand in their fair share of RPGs over the past few years, but it wasn’t until recently that the two found each other and created some incredibly sweet (and utterly surreal) music together. This third entry in the Rain-Slick Precipice series marks both the Penny Arcade RPG’s first foray into “retro” territory as well as Zeboyd’s best refinement of their quirky RPG system to date. Ancient sea gods and mimes are just the beginning.

The Gameplay
One of the biggest differences between a Zeboyd RPG and a more typical example is the treatment of the combat. Health, magic, and items all reset after every fight, eliminating the need to constantly micromanage party resources. To compensate for this enemies gain strength with each passing turn, lending a sense of urgency and increased strategy to every combat scenario. What makes Rain-Slick 3 so much fun (aside from the rampant Penny Arcade humor) is the emphasis on multi-classing. Finding the right combination of character abilities can lead to some incredibly satisfying victories, and the way everything resets after every battle makes experimentation far less grueling.

How does it Compare?
The original Rain-Slick 3 made its debut on both Steam and Xbox Live Indie Games, and felt right at home on both platforms. It’s wonderfully retro while at the same time incredibly modern and accessible. And all of that “magic” has been retained in the iOS version. All the humor, the unique mechanics, the splendid visuals, and so on have made the transition almost seamlessly. The only real difference between the mobile version and its console/PC brethren – aside from the smaller screen and blessed portability – is the interface, which has been adjusted for touch controls. And save the rather garish virtual stick, it’s very near flawless.

One of the things I love most about Rain-Slick 3 on iOS is that it’s not an “inferior” version like some ports tend to be. All the bonus content (alternate appearance packs, Lair of the Seamstress DLC, etc) is included, and it’s received just as much post-release support as the other platforms. The fact that it’s a fantastic game even without prior knowledge of any inside jokes or experience with the previous two titles makes it all the more noteworthy.

*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.*


$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-24 :: Category: Games

Swordigo is a Console-Quality iOS Game

The Backstory
A young apprentice’s master is slain and the fate of the world is unexpectedly thrust into the young one’s hands. Classic adventure game stuff. The same can be said for the reappearance of forgotten evils and the requisite epic quest. These are all themes that are fairly typical of the genre but that doesn’t mean Swordigo doesn’t put them to good use.

The Gameplay
Swordigo harkens back to classic 2D adventures. Platforming puzzles, block pushing, melee combat, magic, and the constant acquisition of new gear that bestows new abilities and grants access to previously inaccessible areas are all prevalent. On top of all these classic gameplay tropes is a simple RPG character leveling system that also allows players to tweak their character to fit their play-style. Like to get in close and wreck stuff? Upgrade attack strength. That kind of thing.

How does it Compare?
The classic formula of finding new equipment in order to reach new areas and find more new equipment in order to reach other new areas has been around for quite some time, but there’s one game that stands above the rest and will forever be the standard that all other genre entries are held to. I am of course referring to Metroid. And while Swordigo’s protagonist might not be much of an intergalactic bounty hunter or carry much in the way of high tech alien weaponry (or have been raised by bird-people), he’s every bit a kindred spirit to Samus Aran.

There’s no shortage of games on the App Store that try to utilize the classic back-tracking adventure formula, but few pull it off with as much finesse as Swordigo. iOS users might not be able to enjoy the adventures of Ms. Aran or Mr. Belmont at an official capacity, but it’s nice to know that there are alternatives out there that scratch this particular itch incredibly well.

*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.*



$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-22 :: Category: Games

Mission Europa is a Console-Quality iOS Game

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.*

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-15 :: Category: Games

The Backstory
It’s tough to really pin down the goings-on in fighting games. Story isn’t a particularly big focus most of the time and can lead to all kinds of weird stuff. An evil dictator bent on world domination creating a female clone of himself is just one example. Suffice it to say, so long as there’s a reason for wacky folks to fight the hows and whys don’t matter so much. As is the case with Street Fighter. Ignoring the nitty gritty the important thing to understand here is that Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, and the rest have gathered once again to beat the snot out of each other for their own personal reasons. And our amusement, of course.

The Gameplay
Street Fighter IV Volt (and by extension the original iOS release) had one major hurdle to overcome: controls. Virtual sticks and buttons just don’t compare to physical ones no matter how much someone might love their touch screen. Thankfully Capcom pulled them off quite well. While the overall action is a tad slower than most console offerings the fights are still frantic and movement is pretty tight. Whether it’s learning the ropes in Training, tackling the campaign, or taking on other players from across the globe in online matches there’s something for every kind of fighting aficionado. Having a roster of 22 playable characters is nice, too.

How does it Compare?
With practically an equivalent amount of content to its console counterpart and controls that aren’t a hindrance, Street Fighter IV Volt is as good as it gets on iOS. Aside from the concessions for controls and visuals (characters are no longer 3D, which affects the presentation and story segments) it’s pretty much the same game. It’s even got online multiplayer, which is something not even earlier Street Fighter console releases have sported until recently.

It’s not exactly 1:1, but Street Fighter IV Volt does a downright admirable job of giving iOS users a comparable experience to their console bretheren. It’s got the roster, the moves, the modes, and the multiplayer. What more could a fighting game lover on-the-go wish for?

*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.*

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-06-30 :: Category: Games

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-03-10 :: Category: Games

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.*

$6.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-12-01 :: Category: Games

The Backstory
Sentenced to an eternity in suspended animation for a heinous crime he may or may not have committed, the man known as “Dangerous” is woken up a century later and unceremoniously tossed back into the fray. Actions performed and choices made will help determine the war criminal’s ultimate fate. Where he goes and who he becomes is largely up to the player, but savior or super-villain, there’s bound to be lots and lots of shooting and exploration.

The Gameplay
Dangerous features a massive universe to explore with plenty of star systems – each with their own denizens, commodities, resident dangers, and missions spanning through each of them. Navigation and combat can be handled via manual tilt/virtual stick controls, but things are at their best when using the contextual button commands. Orders can be issued with a tap or two, and most variables (i.e. distance to target) can be adjusted using a simple slider. Experience can be used to purchase and upgrade a variety of useful skills, and any spoils can be re-appropriated or sold in order to purchase better ships, gear, or modifications.

How does it Compare?
While Dangerous may have its roots firmly planted in the space adventure sims of old, the rest of it is very much reaching for the now. The steady pacing, wealth of customizations by way of skills and equipment, huge environment to explore, and especially the almost hands-free approach to performing actions are very reminiscent of the “cult hit” MMO juggernaut EVE Online. In fact, the only things missing – aside from the super-pretty textures – are the other human players and the wacky economy. For all intents and purposes, Dangerous is indeed a single-player EVE Online, and personally I’m inclined to believe that’s a very good thing.

Dangerous did go through some growing pains. The interface, while still not all that pretty, was a horrific mess after the initial release and most of the menus were nearly impossible to read on an iPhone due to size and formatting issues. However, all of the major gripes that have had a noticeable effect on the gameplay have since been addressed. Now Dangerous is every bit the giant space sim it was meant to be, and every bit a Console-Quality iOS 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.*

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-12-21 :: Category: Games

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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