Micro RPG review
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Micro RPG review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on January 26th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REASONABLE RPG
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This bite-sized arcade game succeeds in part because of its reasonable free-to-play model.

Developer: JoliYeti Games inc.

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPhone XR

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Sometimes it's hard to look at any casual experiences on the App Store as anything other than empty holes that ask you to dump money into them. After all, that is what the vast majority of free-to-play mobile games fundamentally are. Every once in a while though, a game comes along and dispels that notion effectively by showing that a lite, arcade experience can actually tastefully monetize itself and still feel worthwhile and fun. Micro RPG is one of these increasingly hard-to-find experiences.

Small skirmishes

Micro RPG's title suggests this game's key reference points are games like Final Fantasy when it's better compared to something like Tempest. Although it has a fantasy role-playing aesthetic and has turn-based combat, Micro RPG is structured like a linear, level-based arcade game and features combat that tests your reflexes and tactical flexibility.

Each level features your hero standing in the middle of the screen as enemies march toward you each turn. Your goal is to use one of your three equipped weapons to stem the tide of enemies and defeat certain numbers of specific enemies to advance to the next level. Combat is turn-based, where weapon aiming is where much of the challenge comes from. Selecting a weapon causes an indicator to endlessly spin around the battlefield until you tap to stop it, ideally so it lands on a group of enemies your character then attacks.

Little loadouts

Depending on what weapons you are using, landing attacks on enemies looks a little different. At its most basic, a sword can attack multiple enemies in a cone right in front of your character, and catching multiple enemies in that cone hits all of them, increasing damage for every hit. Further along in Micro RPG, you'll get access to other short-range weapons, as well as medium and long-range weapons, that can do things like create barriers or attack in two separate directions.

The mixing and matching of this arsenal is key to making Micro RPG feel like a fun tactical challenge as opposed to reaction-based tedium. It also helps that the game features multiple different characters to play as, each of which has their own special skill to keep you in the fight against the wide variety of enemies in the game.

Waiting for the time to strike

Micro RPG features five worlds, all of which have unique enemies and a boss at the end. For the most part, careful play allows you to make your way through these challenges. It's only if you play for an extended period of time that things get a bit overwhelming and the monetization model really starts to enter the picture.

If you want to power through Micro RPG without waiting for passive currencies to accrue and free daily chests to give you new weapons and upgrades, you may find yourself watching ads to revive fallen heroes, replaying older, easier levels to grind out currency, or even pondering the game shop to purchase a chest or two. Make no mistake, all of this is not great and makes for what is otherwise a pure and enjoyable game feel a bit icky, but I'm thankful that Micro RPG almost always allows me to make some progress before I see any of that stuff.

The bottom line

For what it is, Micro RPG is a fun little game where your actions and decision-making feel meaningful and rewarding despite being such a simple game. There's almost always a limit on how long that stays the case, but it feels like a reasonable amount of time for a game that isn't asking you for money up front.

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