Level up: RPG iPhone apps worth fighting for

Nov 9, 2009
Games

Role-playing games are time-consuming affairs, requiring a formidable investment of energy and patience, not to mention accountability to the dungeon master and other people involved in the game. But for anyone who works a real job, who has time for that? Fortunately, the iPhone is a veritable bag of holding when it comes to role-playing […]

Role-playing games are time-consuming affairs, requiring a formidable investment of energy and patience, not to mention accountability to the dungeon master and other people involved in the game. But for anyone who works a real job, who has time for that? Fortunately, the iPhone is a veritable bag of holding when it comes to role-playing game apps, with the potential to transport you into plenty of worthwhile RPG worlds.      

Dungeon Hunter ($6.99) is a rich point of entry for seasoned veterans and newbies alike to RPGs in general or playing RPGs on the iPhone. It recalls classic PC hack-and-slasher Diablo, but fortunately cleans up a lot of that series’ outmoded elements while also adapting the title perfectly for Apple’s device. You quest as a warrior awoken from the dead, who must confront the queen he loved who has somehow turned evil since your rigor mortis set in. Different character classes, immersive skill trees, and auto-targeting for combat makes the journey to the final showdown that much more riveting.

Underworlds ($2.99) also strikes at recreating Diablo’s magic, but is a little too faithful in that it emulates some of its less forgivable traits like clumsy controls. If you can get past that, Underworlds is an RPG that seeks to have the player feel accomplished at every turn by lobbing quests at you non-stop from the very beginning. The graphics are a little jagged and the game can occasionally freeze, but there’s still a good adventure to be had.

Zenonia ($2.99) digs deeper back into RPG lore by being in the style of beloved Super Nintendo action role-playing games like The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past or Secret Of Mana. Despite its respected roots, Zenonia’s generic tale of a boy named Regret raised by a respected knight gets a little too bogged down trying to please both newbies and RPG pros. There’s an annoyingly long tutorial and introduction, and with the repetitive quests, which go no deeper than kill/collect five to 10 of anything the game feels like throwing at you, it feels deeply at odds with the sheer amount of tiny menus the game expects you to peruse. There’s a good adventure here, but one best suited for stop-and-start sessions during a commute

Defender Chronicles – Legend Of The Desert King ($3.99) is also perfectly suited for stop-and-start sessions, but it’ll be damn tough to put down. More than a tower-defense game with RPG elements, Defender Chronicles has wave after wave of orc hordes try to get past your archers, warriors, and other soldier types stationed at strategic points along a large mountain. Your soldiers can be upgraded, and if their health plummets, too low they’ll duck into their barracks to recover, leaving your defense open for a critical few seconds. The gameplay remains the same from one level to another, but it’s endlessly compelling all the same. The fact that your character’s advisor sounds a heck of a lot like Sean Connery is just another reason to want to pass onto the next level to be debriefed again.

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