Does the world need another Zenonia?
In many cases, sequels are great. Sequels provide a baseline set of expectations; a gamer can purchase a sequel and know going in to the game what kinds of themes and mechanics they should anticipate. Sequels can also be dangerous, allowing developers to return to the well without bringing anything new to the experience.
Zenonia 5 hits all of the high points of its predecessors, but fails to expand on the existing formula. The action RPG brings the same fast-paced action of the previous Zenonia games- you can expect to frantically tap the attack button as you battle countless waves of enemies. The game has several character classes and plenty of unlockable skills, loot and items, but doesn’t go to great lengths to explain much of it. The quest structure of Zenonia is still in place, and players are pushed quickly from task to task to further the storyline. The game is certainly functional, and continues to provide decent RPG gameplay, but the release of Bastion shows that games of this type can be held to a much higher standard on iOS.
I played as one of the game’s ranged classes, and was constantly wishing that I had more robust control options. The player can only shoot in the cardinal directions, but the game would play much better if controlled like a dual stick shooter. Instead, the ranged classes feel more like afterthoughts, as the game’s mechanics are better suited for running directly at enemies and tapping like mad.
Also upsetting is how Zeonia 5′s IAPs are structured. The game is entirely free, but upon death you are presented with the option to revive at a cost, or to continue with severe handicaps placed on your character. The overall effect is to make Zenonia 5 feel like an arcade title, constantly asking for your money in exchange for a continue. This kind of mechanic is frustrating in a lengthy role playing game. I would much rather pay money up front for a well-balanced gameplay session, but as with many games, Zenonia 5 lets its financial goals govern how it treats the consumer.
I wasn’t expecting Zenonia 5 to progress much beyond the other entries in the franchise, but having my suspicions confirmed doesn’t make the game any better. If you have played all of the Zenonias and can’t wait for more then you’ve already installed the fifth one and enjoyed it. Casual fans may want to think twice before becoming too invested in this new release.
Zenonia 5 is available for free as a Universal download