Posts Tagged old school RPG
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.
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.*
Released: 2012-10-24 :: Category: Games
Penny Arcade and Zeboyd's latest and greatest RPG of Weirdness has made its way to the App Store, and it's quite fantastic, despite a rather overbearing interface.
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As Spiderweb Software’s fantasy epic hits its 18 year anniversary, the final game’s App Store debut is looming on the horizon. But it’s not just the second iOS release for the series, not counting Avadon as it’s a separate thing, it’s the final chapter to a second trilogy. That’s six games, total. And I was lucky enough to be able to ask series creator Jeff Vogel about it.
First and foremost, what made you all decide to create a role playing game in the first place?
I’ve been obsessed with role-playing games since I first learned to play Dungeons & Dragons, around 32 years ago. Sometimes there is something about a genre that just grabs you and doesn’t let go.
I have to ask, when you all began work on the first Avernum, did you have plans for a 6-part series?
Avernum is a rewrite of my very, very first game, Exile: Escape From the Pit, which I started in 1994. When I began it, I honestly thought it was just a hobbyist thing, and I didn’t look for one second past the first title. Happily, the world I created turned out to be very versatile and have a lot of stories in it.
And why six games specifically?
Two trilogies. I think three games is a really good length for telling one epic story. So the whole series is two almost self-contained arcs.
I imagine you’ve learned quite a bit from working on so many titles, and not just the Avernum series. Were there any particular bits of experience you’ve gained along the way that have been more useful than most?
I have learned so much since I started, and 18 years in, it feels like I learn more every year. Things about how to design, to code, to test, to market. It’s a huge, complex field, and there is no shortage of mistakes and foolishness on my part I need to correct.
In that vein, have there been things that you know now that you wish you knew back at the beginning?
I wish, when I started, I knew to pony up the money and find good freelance artists. I made a lot of the art in-house, and I should have had real people doing it. Especially the interface.
Have there been any unique challenges in developing any of the Avernum titles for iOS as opposed to Mac or PC?
Adapting from a mouse/keybords interface to a touchscreen was difficult and required a lot of thought. Touchscreens don’t work as well for hardcore, tactical games. Happily, people seem to be happy with the interface we developed.
I imagine iOS distribution is fairly different than Mac/PC. Have you found there to be any specific hurdles in releasing, selling, and supporting a game on the App Store?
Marketing. Visibility. It’s a hugely, HUGELY busy and competitive platform. It’s so hard to stand out from the teeming masses. Happily, we are about the only ones writing this sort of game for iOS, which helps.
Has there been more notable success on one platform as opposed to the others?
Avadon: The Black Fortress continues to do really well for us. I recommend it. It’s fun.
Now that the final game in the series is coming to iPad, might there be plans to bring earlier titles to the platform?
Yeah, a few. I’m adapting Avernum 6 now, and I hope to have it out in October. However, the older games use an old code base that would be extremely difficult to adapt to iOS.
On a similar note, are there any plans to make the series available for iPhone?
No. The screen is too small. I will need to rewrite the engine from scratch to adapt to it.
I hope to someday write games for the iPhone. I’m really thinking about it. But that sort of thing needs to be baked in from day 1.
Lastly, how’s Avadon 2 coming along? I noticed the little blurb about it on the website. Will that be available for iOS alongside the first one?
It’s going. Slowly. I want it to be out next summer, but I’m having a little bit of mid-life burnout. But it is happening. And it will absolutely be out for the iPad.
Megara Entertainment, crafters of the rather popular Fabled Lands, has just released their latest stand alone “choose-your-own-adventure” rpg. The Keep of the Lich-Lord is adapted from a tale of the name from the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, penned by none other than illustrious interactive fiction authors Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson. Expect much decision-making and dice-rolling, naturally.
All the expected and classic gamebook gameplay is present and accounted for. Players can choose between two distinct classes this time around (Rogue or Paladin) and enjoy close to 100 color illustrations along with the orchestrated score. This isn’t a mere straight port, however. Megara has added some new story twists along the way, so even battle-hardened veterans might find a few surprises. Heck, they could even stumble across a new magical item or two that could make a huge difference down the line.
iPad-owning gamebook fans should head on over to the App Store right now and grab The Keep of the Lich-Lord for the measly $4.99 asking price. I mean, it’s not like that newly-resurrected necromancer is going to change his mind about tearing the land apart, right? At least, not without a little “encouragement.”
Ash was one of the first RPGs I downloaded when I was a new initiate to the wonders of iOS gaming. I recall being thoroughly impressed by the quality. Well, that quality just got a boost. The original game was released with graphics licensed from RPG Maker, but SRRN Games has replaced all of it with totally original artwork. The new style shares a few basic similarities with the older one, but overall it’s a huge visual change. Especially the character portraits.
Another less obvious but still notable change has to do with the random encounters. One of the game’s initial shortcomings was that there were just so freaking many of them it kind of made getting from point A to point B a pain. This has been rebalanced, so now random encounters are a bit less frequent. They’ll still happen, and they’re still essential to not being caught in a boss battle with one’s pants down, but the decrease will go a long way to making the game more accessible and overall more fun.
Last and most important, Ash is getting an 80% prince drop for the holidays. What was once a great RPG that could be had for $4.99 is now a great RPG made slightly greater and available for a buck. One dollar. $0.99. I’d gladly recommend this game to any RPG fans at $5, but $1? That’s, like, “don’t even think about it just buy it” pricing. So yeah; don’t even think about it, just buy it.
The sixth volume of the Gamebook Adventure series may not innovate, but it sure as heck entertains.
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