Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Turn-based strategy games are as common on mobile platforms as feathers on a griffin. In other words, there's tons of research material out there, and therefore no reason for a mobile strategy game to be an unintuitive mess. Unfortunately, "mess" is just the word for Farentia.
Farentia takes place in a fantasy world under the shadow of a powerful wizard that was thought to have been sealed, but then someone left a window open or something and he slipped back in. Alcen, the hero, is a wizard capable of controlling all the world's elements (no relation to a certain Avatar with an arrow-shaped mark on his head).
Alcen is capable of using all kinds of elemental spells, but his real power lies in summoning monsters to do his dirty work for him. Each monster subscribes to a single element, so they need to be used strategically. On the plus side, they're quite expendable and can be summoned over and over as long as Alcen has the magic shards necessary to do so.
Summoning monsters to fight alongside Alcen is pretty cool, but Farentia is flat, boring, slow-paced, and unnecessarily complicated. Attacking an enemy should be a matter of tapping the hero, and then tapping where they ought to move (or whom they ought to attack). Farentia, however, requires a jumble of commands filled with unnecessary button pushes. For instance, to use a summoned monster players must select an attack and then press "OK" before they're allowed to position the targeting reticle on the enemy. It's a pointless condition that results in a lot of self-damage. The game also lacks important confirmation prompts, causing players to accidentally end their turns early in the haze of confusion.
Even if Farentia cleaned up its menus, the battles would remain nonsensical. It's impossible to determine whether or not summons and enemies have elemental strengths and weaknesses. Pokemon rules don't seem to apply. Sometimes a water attack does heavy damage on a fire-based enemy, and sometimes the same attack does bupkus. As a result, battles are a guessing game that drags on forever.
Farentia offers a clunky experience that betrays its whimsical name. Best to side-step around it.