Guild of Honor! Launches on Google Play

Guild of Honor! Launches on Google Play

Oct 21, 2015

Netmarble has just published a new RPG called Guild of Honor! to Google Play.

Guild of Honor pulls from the lore of the battle between the Gods of Light and Darkness that began from the beginning of time. Endless entertainment awaits with an intense storyline, stunning 3D graphics, spectacular skill effects and large scaled, strategic guild combat with up to simultaneous 100 players.

Without the threat of Light and Darkness, modern day human civilization has flourished on the Varlos Continent. However, with the battle emerging once more, how will the Light alongside humankind win the war against the evils that threaten their land? With the emperor of the Arel Empire and the last human lord, Castlotte, leading the forces, players have the chance to take over the roles of warriors in order to fight off the Darkness. There are over 360 different types of warriors available in Guild of Honor, including specialized magical and healing warriors. Guild of Honor also offers many unique challenge modes such as Arena and the Chronicle of Trial, a wave based enemy mode.

The game is free to play with in-app purchases.

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[via Netmarble Press Release]

SoulCraft 2 Review

SoulCraft 2 Review

Jul 10, 2014

Soulcraft 2 takes a leaf out of Diablo’s book. Its story revolves around the endless war of Heaven vs Hell. Heaven sends some badass angels down to smack around Lucifer himself until he cries uncle. Meanwhile humanity is attempting to discover the secret to immortality. This would halt the flow of souls to the angels and thus rob them of their power.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-01-02-58Soulcraft 2 is a fairly average hack and slasher. The player moves with a virtual stick and a few buttons to control attacking and special skills. Soulcraft 2 is split into missions that boil down to either killing a lot of smaller demons, or fighting a boss. Most of these missions are quite short and never get more complicated than just hanging around and killing everything.

Soulcraft 2 features two currencies, Souls and Gold. Gold is a premium currency and must be used to unlock most items before they can be purchased with Souls, which are picked up during gameplay. Needing to pay to unlock equipment before even getting to pay for it by other means is a bit ridiculous. Buying the second cheapest gold pack awards the player permanent gold membership. This removes ads and doubles the number of Souls dropped by enemies.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-02-28-27Soulcraft 2, while its base gameplay is decent enough, lacks what makes a dungeon crawler great. Namely loot. The fun of dungeon crawlers is finding that next bit of swag that makes the player just that little bit tougher and able to take out more enemies. Finding a new flaming sword, cold resistant armour and so on is fun and keeps the player playing to see what comes next. Enemies in Soulcraft 2 very rarely drop loot. Only a few enemies even have the possibility of it and I saw no loot drops during my time with the game. Since the player spends most of the time with the same equipment due to the lack of loot, this can cause Soulcraft 2 to get rather dull.

Soulcraft 2 is very glitchy. Switching away from the game or receiving a call almost always causes the screen to simply go black, forcing the player to terminate the app before it can be played again. Levels sometimes load up as glitched messes and bouts of random lag are common. This detracts from the game a great deal. These issues are on a Samsung Galaxy S4, so owners of older devices should beware of Soulcraft 2.

When it is not glitching out, Soulcraft 2 looks quite nice. The character design nails the heaven vs hell vibe and there are plenty of intimidating enemies and killer angels to see. Combat looks pretty good too, with plenty of nasty looking animations. The sound gets the job done as well, but isn’t exceptional.

Soulcraft 2 isn’t a bad game. Its bugginess and lack of loot detract from it a great deal, but its reasonable gold membership is a pretty good deal. Hack and slash fans could do worse than taking a look.


Heroes and Castles Review

Heroes and Castles Review

Jul 7, 2014

Heroes and Castles is a new Action RPG/strategy game where chopping though a huge undead horde is just another day at the office.

Players can pick from one of a well-known cast of RPG favorites. There’s the stealthy assassin, the healing paladin and the tough knight, among others. Each is very different and provides a different style of gameplay.

Heroes and Castles mixes RPG gameplay with a pinch of strategy. While the player moves and fights much like any other button mashing action RPG, the game is set up so they cannot survive alone.

Screenshot_2014-07-02-20-30-21Troops can be recruited to aid in holding back the shambling undead before they beat their way into Hinton castle’s strangely wooden walls. Quite a few troops from weak archers to armor clad, pike welding badasses can be recruited to both serve as a distraction and kill enemies in their own right. Using troops well is the key to success.

A few buildings can be constructed as well. The most common one are gold mines that generate money to train new soldiers, but arrow towers and a few others can be built. After each battle gems are earned that can be used to boost skills and learn new ones.

Screenshot_2014-07-02-20-13-02Lamentably, some really interesting gameplay ideas are undone by the incredibly high difficulty of Heroes and Castles. The first few levels are simple enough, but from about level 4 onwards the game becomes a whole different ballgame. Enemies arrive in droves. The introduction of armored enemies who both dish out and take a lot of damage makes the game much more difficult. Their armor makes them nearly immune to attacks from nearly every troop type, including the player. The only troops that can counter armored enemies are very expensive pikemen that cost more than an arrow tower each.

Rarely can the player afford enough pikemen to have much chance of winning and it is obvious that Heroes and Castles is steering the player towards purchasing in app purchases which boost abilities and make the game slightly easier. There is a lot of in app purchases in Heroes and Castles. This would be more acceptable if the base game did not already cost money.

Graphically, Heroes and Castles is quite simple, but with the large amount of characters on screen during a major battle this is understandable. The game would just not have a stable frame rate otherwise. The sound is similarly second rate. Combat sounds more like banging forks together and voice acting is very poor. A strange omission is the lack of death cries for both enemies and allies. This makes it difficult to tell if troops are holding if the player cannot see them. The music gets the job done, but it is a much better idea to turn it off to better keep track of battle.

Heroes and Castles delivers a unique experience for mobile and some interesting gameplay. Unfortunately it then shoots itself in the foot with in-app purchases, poor presentation and very high difficulty. Only rich strategy fans should apply.

MinuteQuest Review

MinuteQuest Review

May 14, 2014

A game where gamers have to complete the first section of the game over and over again? That couldn’t be possible any fun. Or can it?

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A couple of years ago, PSP owners enjoyed multiple cross sections of a typical rpg in Half Minute Hero. On Android, developer Mitsuhiro Okada brings a similar experience with MinuteQuest. But instead of using real time strategy elements or shoot ‘em up gameplay, Okada concentrated the game to two actions only. Walking and slashing. MinuteQuest is a 2D action role playing game, where gamers take the lead in an adventure that repeats itself over and over again.

The core of MinuteQuest is dying, standing up, die again. This process repeats itself over and over again. Being a rpg, players will level their character up by defeating monsters in real-time combat, but later on the enemies will get tougher and tougher. So the player’s goal is to get stronger with every enemy it kills to gain enough experience to defeat the tougher monsters later on. But death is inevitable and the same road must be taken again when death is there again.

I like rpg’s and I don’t mind a little bit of grinding. In a game like Monster Adventures, I didn’t like it. In Pokémon I love it, in Skyrim I couldn’t get enough of it and now I feel the same. Comparing MinuteQuest to Skyrim may be nuts – but, is it? MinuteQuest takes the core of an typical rpg and presents the player just that. Sure, there isn’t a vast world to explore, but there is special loot to uncover, there are monsters to be slain, there is experience to be gathered and there is an adventure to complete. So technically, Minute Quest is a cross section of modern day rpg’s and it’s really fun to play.

It doesn’t have the lasting appeal of those RPGs, however. Playing this game for hours straight will make the player mad, but playing it just a couple of minutes makes it really fun. The hero walks by touching the screen and fights by tapping it – the controls couldn’t be any easier. And it should be like this, because simplicity is one of the pillars of this game. That doesn’t mean players won’t have to deal with stats and hit points bars, because they’re all represent to make the experience complete.

MinuteQuest is one of those surprisingly fun titles that won’t come out on game consoles or handhelds anymore. It’s a short, but definitely a delightful and funny experience and provides the player everything it could expect seeing the screens in this article. Any rpg fan could give this game a try; within no time, they will find themselves hooked. Just like me.

Monster Adventures Review

Monster Adventures Review

May 6, 2014

Yes. Pokémon. Zelda. What an awesome combination. But will Monster Adventures deliver on its promise?

When a game developer compares its own game with games like Pokémon and Zelda, my interest is genuine. But I’m also a bit cautious, because deep down inside I know things will fall short compared to what I hope them to be. Monster Adventures is one of those titles. Its developer, Foursaken Media, compared it with the monster catching from Pokémon and the adventure of a Zelda game – but truth be told, it doesn’t come close to both games.

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What does it offer? Monster Adventures is a sweet looking action role playing game with indeed monsters to be caught and trained and randomly generated dungeons to explore. If anything, a comparison of the mix up between Skylanders (without the awesome toys) and Mystery Dungeon is more likely, because than you really know what to expect. You set out on adventure from this dull town you’re from and will soon conquer the world, monster by monster, dungeon by dungeon.

But it will take a long time. Monster Adventures is designed around grinding – making your monster stronger by defeating other monsters and making him more powerful via special Essences. Eating fruit is another way of upgrading the monsters. Both methodes can be used after collecting enough of the two types of in-game currency. Currency players can collect or buy – the latter clearly being the way to play this game, because the grinding part really gets annoying for a while.

Those Essences are actually what makes Monster Adventures real fun. With it, you can change the physical appearance of your monster and give it more special powers. However, the designs of the monsters are very basic – just like the game as a whole, actually – so designing your monster and seeing him grow overtime, isn’t that spectacualar. It’s too basic and falls short on expactations it gives the player beforehand. But yeah, it’s a fun mechanic nonetheless.

Monster Adventures isn’t the game it said it would be – it is not Pokémon combined with Zelda. What it is, is a solid but standard and repetitive action rpg with shallow mechanics like sculpting your own monster. It may be fun to do, but the game falls short on all expectations to really give a big okay on this one. Besides: combining experience points gathering with two types of in-game currency is a tricky way to make people pay more money for the game, because we all know grinding for ever is really dull.

Only One Review

Only One Review

Feb 21, 2014

Only One starts off in dramatic fashion: a giant sword floating in the air, giving off a radiant aura. It descends to the ground, and is picked up by the protagonist, standing on a giant circular platform where the only exit is a steep drop to one’s death. He screams to the heavens:

“I will become…the only one!

It’s a bold intro, yet a bit silly because the voice acting sounds hardly professional, but it perfectly encapsulates the Only One experience: it’s a bit silly, a bit crudely-made, but a lot of fun.

While it’s easy to call Only One an RPG, it’s more of an arena survival game with fantasy tropes. Players try to last as long as they can, leveling up each time they take out an enemy wave, be they warriors, archers, wizards, or anything else that wishes for the player to go from Only One to Absolute Zero. Players are equipped with a sword, can collect a shield to take additional damage, and collect power, the game’s currency to spend on health/shield upgrades, passive abilities, and active abilities that can be triggered to help deal with enemies, such as a freeze blast. Players have 70-plus levels to work through, with checkpoints every 10 levels, and a boss fight at the end of each ten-level gauntlet.

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The sword action that serves as the heart of Only One‘s combat always feels a bit awkward because it’s such a limited motion, but players just have to get acclimated to it and how they can attack enemies with it. The touchscreen controls work decently enough: there’s a virtual floating joystick on the left side and action buttons lined vertically on the right.

The game supports HID gamepads, which I highly recommend using. Google Play Games is supported, but not cloud saving, which is unfortunate – I’d love to jump from my tablet to my phone and back easily without using Helium (which doesn’t work on one of my tablets). As well, while the game doesn’t have the greatest production values – it’s simple pixel art and sound effects are lovably crude – some older devices may struggle to run the game at maximum frames per second.

Sadly, the most fun part about Only One is one that isn’t necessarily in the player’s best interest: knocking enemies off the edge of the map. Sending an enemy to their doom by hitting them backwards is fun! Doing so by using the Force-push ability: even more fun! There’s also the bonus points that come from doing so. But because enemies drop power coins that inevitably go flying with them, this really isn’t in the player’s best interest to keep doing. Perhaps if the rewards were automatically collected? After all, fighting near the edges comes with its own risk: that players could fall off if an enemy knocks them off themselves or if the level starts to shake.

But that the enemies do try to do that shows just how smart the AI is here: it’s not comprised of geniuses, but it is full of enemies that do intelligent things. Like, for example, running away from the guy with the sword when they’re the last enemy standing instead of just standing there and taking damage like a fool resigned to their fate. Or a wizard with a teleportation ability that uses it when knocked off the arena. Hooray for intelligent systems!

Really, Only One is so much better than it should be based on how it looks and sounds; but thanks to the depth of its combat and fun features, it’s a must-play.

Twitch Live Stream Recap: Action RPG Showcase with Only One, Dungeon Highway, and More

Twitch Live Stream Recap: Action RPG Showcase with Only One, Dungeon Highway, and More

Feb 14, 2014

Missed our latest Twitch stream? Well why aren’t you following us on there? Click here to watch most recent whole episode or watch highlights of the individual games we played below, on a dungeon-themed stream.

Only One: This action-RPG arena survival game looks crude, but throws a tough challenge at players. Also, the ability to force-push enemies off the edge of the arena, which isn’t a very productive way to win, but a fun one!

Dungeon Highway: This free 3D endless runner is brutal: running into a wall causes our poor running protagonist to split in half and slide along the floor. Thankfully, this wizard has the ability to fire powerful magic spells while on the run, so anything organic in his way will fall. Deal with that!

The Enchanted Cave: This game features a bit of a roguelike touch, but its battle system may be a bit of an acquired taste.

Deep Dungeons of Doom: I finally take this former Ouya exclusive for a spin on Android, learning how its battle system works and how to master the deep, doom-filled dungeons.

Spellsword Review

Spellsword Review

Dec 31, 2012

For those who are all about swords, and magic spells cast from swords, then Spellsword, Everplay and Fire Fruit Forge’s arena-based action-RPG brought to Android by Miniclip, is worth seeing.

Spellsword takes a bit of a different spin on the traditional Super Crate Box formula – which really needs to arrive on Android proper at some point, not just via PlayStation Mobile – by making magic cards the item to be constantly picking up. These cards all have different effects, like summoning fireballs, poisoning enemies, or shooting out ice shards. They’re also far more powerful than the plain vanilla sword is, so collecting them is key. Success is defined by more than just card collection though, as there are plenty of enemies to take down. They drop rupees, which can be spent on upgrades to make the cards better, and items for increasing health or modifying stats. There’s a secondary dragon coin currency that also appears periodically which is used to buy certain other items.

The game’s two-pronged structure works well for it. Mission mode does well to introduce players to new elements, as well as providing short bursts of challenge to tackle. Meanwhile, endless mode serves as the culmination of those efforts: a chance to put one’s skills to the test in the three arenas, with three difficulties each. The two modes also inform each other: endless mode hands out a lot more rupees, but the best way to unlock new cards and content is by progressing through mission mode, so balancing out the two is necessary. The pixel art is very colorful, and character armor can be viewed on the characters themselves when equipped. The soundtrack is particularly memorable as well; the songs are basic but I found them sticking in my head long after playing.

Spellsword is not most the intricately-assembled game ever. There’s a lot of slowdown on newer devices. The game doesn’t really inform the player of when they have taken damage. The Nexus 7 controls are a bit too big perhaps to be comfortable for most; I felt like they were usable but I would prefer less thumb stretching.

For those looking for a great pick-up-and-play arena brawler with enough RPG elements to satisfy long-term desire, then Soellsword is a must-have free download.

Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering Review

Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering Review

Sep 12, 2012

Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering takes the one-on-one arena combat inflenced by Infinity Blade and deftly adds its own touch to it. The goal for the player, who chooses their class at the start of the game, is to romp their way through the land, making their way to defeat Sovering, a big bad demon doing big bad demon things. Along the way, a creepy little girl comes along who may be possessed and spouts off the kind of dialog that a creepy possessed girl usually would.

The combat is turn-based with timing elements, as players deal out a blow in one of three zones, with an oscillating block zone to avoid. Experience and loot is earned after fights, with level ups allowing for stat upgrades, and coins able to be spent on new weapons and armor. Along the way, players will free up lands, which have coins to collect, and new enemies to fight in order to protect the residents of that area. Scarabs that are collected as loot can be used to find hidden treasure. Completing achievements unlocks new areas. There’s even a puzzle mini-game for collecting additional loot that is unlocked at one point.

Some games do the whole Infinity Blade style of one-on-one combat in a way that is very similar to that, but Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering goes a long way to feel like its own game. The three zones of combat, with enemies able to block attacks, adds a layer of strategy. Then there’s the addition of magic, the combo abilities that can be powered up, the multiple fury attacks that use up different amounts of the ability, and the interactive tapping elements that pop up in battle. It feels multi-faceted, like there’s legitimate strategies that can be executed instead of just trying to read diversionary tactics from the enemy. It’s absolutely fantastic.

My problem starts with the facat that there’s little that the playercan do to block or dodge normal attacks; fury can be used to reduce the damage on them but otherwise, the player is kind of helpless. The enemy levels accelerat ea t a point where the player gets left behind. While there are spots where enemies closer to the player’s level can be played around the map, this is still something where eventually crystals will be tempting to the player. Now, they can be occasionally gained as post-fight rewards but the odds of winning them are about as often as a crane game. So buying them is the easiest way to obtain them, along with the health potions and powerful items that will turn the tide toward the player.

Hypothetically, through a lot of grinding, everything could be unlocked for free, but it would be a lot of it. Being able to re-fight earlier tiers of enemies would make the grinding problem go away. I don’t have a problem with giving money to this game, something I found rather engrossing and fun (though its instability on the Nexus 7 was aggravating – new areas would often crash, and it is a crapshoot if it will launch after locking the screen). I’m surprised that it was free-to-play, as this could have easily been worth a premium app price. Plus, nothing essential is locked away behind IAP, there’s the option to spend either coins or crystals. It’s fairer than many games have done.

Juggernaut: Revnege of Sovering is overall a great exmaple of how free-to-play can be done. This is a premium app experience that’s a free download, and generally is built around rewarding those players that decide to spend money, even if it throws some encouragement out do so. Still, this is something that I found absolutely fun to play. Love this game.

Epic Raiders Review

Epic Raiders Review

Sep 11, 2012

Dragons. Castles. Maidens in distress. Swordsplay.

Nah, I am not referring to an episode of the Kardashians. No. this is way better, and will leave you happier for longer. I’m talking about RPG thriller Epic Raiders. It definitely has the house pedigree (Gamevil has plenty of mobile game development experience) and the gaming juice to match.

The first thing I liked about the game was the intro. Instead of written text, I found the graphical story block refreshing (kind of like Angry Birds). I like paradoxical “over-the-top simple” nature of the moving picture. The dragon went to the castle, got the princess, and the princess needed to be rescued. I had to assemble a medieval-type team of combatants to rescue her.

Boom.

Right after the intro, I was greeted with another pleasant feature: a hands-on tutorial. Using two characters, I learned the basics of fighting, health regeneration, single and group character movement and how to use extras like attack napalm and defense power-ups.

On the surface, I found the basics of gameplay fairly easy to get used to, particularly after the aforementioned tutorial. As a knight, I had to protect my saint (which was a key health regenerator for my team). Using basics lines, I could lead my fighters to intercept and attack opponents intent on destroying my saint. Vanquishing the waves of monsters got me gold coins and experience stars, and the points allowed me to level-up. Gold also allowed me to recruit more people to my team. I was also able to use my winnings to improve my people. There was quite the selection of customization options. I did find, however, that the more crowded the screen got, accuracy of touch became tougher. I did get my saint injured a few times by mistakenly leading her into the thick of battle.

There were bonuses tossed at me at various points for playing; for example, I got 1000 gold coins for playing one day, and more for keeping the streak alive on succeeding days.

Epic Raiders has multiplayer capability, which gave me the potential to play with family and friends, and a dungeon mode.

I thought that Epic Raiders would be a bit more catchy if it give a bit more carrot and less IAP stick. My impression was that in-app purchasing was a necessity to make progress, versus speeding progress. Yes, you can play to earn loot, but to break through, you need real cash.

All in all, Epic Raiders is full of fun, and takes a break from the norm. It competes well with other titles, has some snazzy media, and morphs into a real adventure, especially if you are willing to spend.

Legends Arcana Review

Legends Arcana Review

Apr 27, 2011

Finding an effective control scheme is one of the biggest challenges facing action games on mobile platforms. Even a game with a strong set of gameplay mechanics can fall apart if the controls aren’t responsive and intuitive. The creators of Legends Arcana set out to bring the action RPG genre to the Android platform, and despite a few issues, they did a fine job of it.

The gameplay consists of going from dungeon to dungeon fighting monsters, and gathering loot so that you can level up, and fight monsters in more difficult dungeons. In other words, it’s pretty standard fare for the genre, but the controls bring everything together nicely. There’s a small ring in the lower left hand corner of the screen, and by rotating that ring, you move your character around the screen. The experience is very similar to that of using an analog stick on either the Xbox 360, or the PS3, so veteran gamers will be able to jump in without a problem. On the right hand side of the screen, there are several buttons you can customize to use any of your abilities, as well as a basic attack button. Despite your character occasionally getting lost behind your thumbs, the control scheme is extremely intuitive and effective.

The gameplay in Legends Arcana may be rock solid, but the story driving that gameplay is paper thin. You’re working to pay off a debt you racked up after a drunken evening of debauchery, and that’s more or less the motivating force for a good chunk of the game. The lack of a larger story doesn’t break the game in any way, but if you’re looking for something plot driven, you’re going to want to look somewhere else. This game is driven exclusively by the action.

Despite a lackluster story, Legends Arcana still does a great job of keeping the player engaged by offering new loot, and new abilities at a good pace. You’ll find new swords and armor throughout the world, and you’ll get new abilities each time you level up. There’s always new loot, or a new spell right around the corner, and that constant dangling carrot does a great job of keeping the player engaged.

Unlike a lot of recent high profile Android games, Legends Arcana offers graphic settings to suit just about any device. On high settings, the game looks pretty good, but you might run into some frame rate issues on low end phones. The game still looks OK on medium settings, and it should run fine on most phones, leaving low settings reserved for the lowest of the low end phones.

Legends Arcana combines solid gameplay, great controls, and adjustable graphics to provide a strong gaming experience to Android users. It’s easily one of the strongest action RPG games available on the platform today, and it’s worth checking out if you want to do a little dungeon crawling on the go.