tinyBuild and Enter Skies have announced that their gesture-based turn-based RPG Fearless Fantasy is set to come to iOS later this Summer.
Described by the developers as "probably the weirdest RPG you’ll play this year," you play as Leon, the world's most dangerous bounty hunter, on a mission to slay the world's weirdest creatures and save a girl from an awful marriage. As well as the use of gestures to get critical hits, the game also features voice-overs, animated cut-scenes and "mildly disturbing boss fights."
Fearless Fantasy is set to arrive on the App Store later this Summer.
I’m just going to say it: Fantasy Quest has a slow burn to it. Not that it’s bad once things pick up, but until it reaches that point it can be a fairly significant grind. And not the fun sort of grind, either. Thankfully once players get past that initial roadblock they’ll find a free-to-play kingdom building RPG that isn’t all that easy to put down.
Fantasy Quest is essentially two kinds of free-to-play games in one. There’s the town building with all the expectant tax collection and land expansion, and the energy-reliant RPG-ing with a number of different characters and quests. Both feed into each other, of course, with buildings created in town effecting what characters can be hired for a team and goods earned from slaying goblins and such necessary for expanding the town. It’s all fairly simple in practice but there’s also has a sort of refined elegance to the way each aspect plays off of the other, as well as how they’re both very accessible without being mindless.
The kingdom building aspects are mostly typical of a lot of free-to-play games these days with the exception of being able to raid other players’ settlements. Not that this is a new idea, but the way it’s implemented is pretty clever: stamina is needed to attack specific buildings and each hit (damage determined by the questing team, surrounding buildings, etc) coughs up various resources, including Valor that acts as a kind of special currency. What I find refreshing about it is the fact that being raided doesn’t incite rage. Sure I might lose a few coins, but I hardly lose enough to get mad over and raiding other players can more than make up for lost income.
The actual RPG-like quests can be entertaining as well, although they don’t really pick up until after a third party member is acquired. It can be incredibly slow going at first but once that threshold is passed players will find themselves with a competent group of adventurers, each with their own sets of equipment to manage and special skills to learn. It’s a little unfortunate that there isn’t a larger selection of basic units (only one of each type can be bought with non-premium currency) but it isn’t exactly a game breaking detail. A more significant (and literally game breaking) problem is the occasional crash or server hang-up while in the middle of a fight. Again, not so bad when all that’s really lost is a little time and some energy that replenishes at a fairly generous rate, but it can still be irritating.
Fantasy Quest feels a bit like a slow “me too” kind of fantasy freemium game at first, but it really does come into its own once players progress past the intro phase. It’s definitely a good time so long as one has the patience.
Graphics / Sound Rating: User Interface Rating: Gameplay Rating: Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I’m always a bit leery of starting up a “traditional” iOS RPG. It’s not that I dislike the subgenre; it’s just that the results are typically hit or miss. Usually miss. Sticking with the awkward baseball analogy, RPG Aeon Avenger is like one of those overly dramatic moments in a sports movie where the batter looks like they’re going to miss, but they tag the ball anyway. They don’t necessarily hit a home run but at least they aren’t out. Well it makes sense in my mind, anyway.
Aeon Avenger is a lot like playing an awkward RPG styled after Chrono Trigger. An unlikely hero gets swept up in an adventure spanning multiple time periods, never leaving his world, per se, but seeing it in several different states over the centuries. In Lake’s case (yes, his name is Lake) it all begins when his family is slain by a mysterious man who can control monsters. With the aid of a wandering swordsman and a time-traveling sorceress, he sets out to put an end to the mysterious Man in Black, time paradoxes be damned.
Despite a generally simple look and some fairly uninteresting maps, Aeon Avenger does have some pretty impressive sprite work both for the portraits and enemies. It also uses an interesting system that allows any character to equip any weapon type, but they’re also most effective with their preferred implement. Different enemies also have particular weaknesses to certain weapons so it can sometimes pay off to switch things up a bit. In addition to the weapon system there are a number of skills that can be equipped to a given item to grant its wielder additional abilities. Of course not all skills can be used with all weapons but it’s a nice way to really diversify the group.
As I’ve mentioned the maps are rather bland, but the overly sensitive movement controls (complete with overly restrictive hitboxes for the virtual stick) make them even more of a drag to navigate through. After a while I gave up on exploring because it was so bad, and I love exploring. It’s also a shame that the script is so awkward. I didn’t notice many actual errors in the dialog, but it just doesn’t read all that well and the overall story is rather hard to get invested in. And what’s up with having to go into the “Status” menu to equip things? Why not, I dunno, use the “Equip” tab in the “Tools” menu instead?
I can’t honestly call RPG Aeon Avenger the next big iOS RPG, but it’s certainly not a bad entry into the genre. The story isn’t exactly captivating and the combat is fairly standard, but it does make use of an interesting equipment system that’s worth experimenting with.
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.*