After the ambitious RPG of Aralon, Crescent Moon Games go back to basics with Pocket RPG…
It is perhaps an odd title for a game that – as of writing – is only available for iPad. You’d need to have pretty big pockets! However, I believe that the purpose of the title is to convey that this is an RPG with more of a ‘pick-up-and-play’ feel behind it… and that’s exactly what this is.
Like your typical RPG you must choose your character type. Here you have a ranger, warrior and a mage. The ranger and mage have long range attacks, with bow and arrow and magic respectively. If you are feeling brave though, then you can choose the warrior who can dual wield close range weapons like blades and axes.
I found in play testing with all three, that both the ranger and warrior are the best. Enemies often come at you from all angles and in great numbers and fighting them off with the mage can be a tad difficult based on the slow rate of magic attacks.
The best option for players is to try out each character type in the first level, because once you commit to the game you cannot change character without starting afresh.
My personal preference was the ranger. The arrow attacks work well, allowing you to keep your distance from enemies and better conserve energy, particularly once you have powered up your character with more powerful bows and arrow types.
There is no story as such, and instead is simply of a matter of defeating dungeons to rid the world of evil. Chit chat is limited to the occasional encounter with a fallen warrior who will alert you to upcoming battles and offer some tips.
The game is broken up into seven quests, with each quest containing three or four sections. The objective in each section is to rid it of as many enemies as possible, all the while searching for loot from destructible objects, chests and slain enemies. The more kills you get the more experience you will generate, powering up your character for the difficult journey ahead. Most sections of a quest culminate in a mini-boss battle of sorts, with the last part being the main boss. Later quests also see you having to protect ancient monuments from attack. They are not essential to the completion of the quest, but success will mean more loot and power-ups for your character.
If you are used to the many dual stick shooters on iOS – such as MiniGore and Guerrilla Bob – then you’ll be right at home with the combat here. The left virtual stick controls the movement of your character, and the right stick controls your aim and weapon. Firing is automatic once you push the stick in the required direction, and there is no limit to your ammunition.
While ammunition is unlimited, your magic isn’t and so you’ll have to wait for it to power back up before you can use it. Making use of magic is dependant on how advanced your mastery of a weapon is, and what special types of weapon and ammo you have selected in your inventory. Once powered up you can unleash more advanced attacks that you have learned and mastered, which in turn will allow you to kill enemies quicker.
There are many different enemy types, some smaller and more agile, and others slower but more dangerous. The bosses pose the biggest threat, being able to deliver greater damage, which is not helped by the fact that you still have the smaller enemies to contend with at the same time. There’s not a huge amount of skill involved, with the majority of strategy being that of managing your inventory well, and choosing the correct weapons. From the loot you have collected on your travels, you can outfit your character with not only weapons but also various ammunition and magical objects. Be it an amulet or a bracelet, these can power up weapons or simply increase your life-force or magical power. Within a quest you’ll occasionally encounter a shopkeeper, who will happily allow you to buy and sell items, but for a price.
At the end of every quest, you have the ability to spend your hard earned loot to power up your character. This includes learning new skills such as new types of attacks and/or new weapon types like poison tipped arrows. You also have the option to master them, powering up each item further. Even if you fail a quest, any loot and experience will still be available to spend, increasing your chances next time around.
I love the graphical style of Pocket RPG. In keeping with the more casual style of gameplay, the game employs a more simple and cute art style. If you’ve played Pocket Legends or even LEGO Harry Potter then you’ll have an idea how it looks. You are presented with an angled 3D (or isometric) top down view of your character and surroundings. The game worlds are not large sprawling environments like Aralon or Sacred Odyssey and instead are tighter maze-like corridors and passages of walls, trees and rock. What reminds me the most of the LEGO games is when you destroy objects they explode with a clatter of coins and other loot.
Despite the more simplistic graphics, there are large load times between areas. However, this is because each area is built using a random generator ensuring that no area is exactly the same. It builds each area from a set of themed blocks as well as random placement of loot and enemy encounters. If you die or wish to revisit an area, then it won’t necessarily play the same. This keeps things fresh despite its small number of quests.
Pocket RPG is a great little entry level RPG, it’s very light on story, so might not appeal to the hardcore RPG player, but it’s intense action, great controls and an easy to use inventory and level up system ensures that it can be enjoyed by all.
Pocket RPG is out now for $2.99. get it on the