So I’ve been doing a lot of research into this and stayed up probably too late some nights reading and trying some games out. I still say Undercroft is the best computer RPG experience on the iPhone for those of us who’ve played the classics. Those of use who remember the original AD&D and the Red Box and the Blue Box, hell Tunnels and Trolls.
I got that computer game somewhere at my mom’s house, never did finish that one…
Anyway so once you beat Undercroft, what do you do besides blog hoping that JAGEX notices and makes a sequel/expansion? Well you can go back to playing the original Final Fantasy on the iPhone or you can look around for other options. I previously linked to this webpage, but it is the source for RPG game listings on the iPhone. Apple’s iTunes Store search can be frustrating at times.
I wrote the guy, but he has yet to respond.
I ended up trying Perilar or however you spell it. I should have tried the light version first. Many have poked fun at the graphics, but I remember the original Ultima, Bard’s Tale, etc. etc. So like I said I gave it a try. It is not a forgiving game. The goal is to go as long as possible without dying. Nominally you’re on some quest to save the Kingdom, but what is your motivation for leaving the town, to get to the next town? I never made it. I tried twice first as a human thief then as a dwarf fighter. Both times I eventually died. My thief lasted longer, but I played more aggressively with the fighter. He made it to a dungeon or something dungeon like, from which I couldn’t exit even when I returned to where I entered…
The game just isn’t that much fun. You exit town, fight some bats or green slimes, or coyotes. True men don’t kill coyotes! Then you find some gold maybe or some crappy equipment. One quirk or game design decision is you don’t know how good the gear you find is. Based on a two or three word description you have to decide if it is better than the gear you have. I think you have two or three types of gear, a weapon, a armor, and a magic talisman perhaps. I never found much but cloth caps and copper daggers…
So, disappointed I tried again and settled on Rimelands: Hammer of Thor. From the screen shots it looks like a Diablo clone, but it doesn’t play exactly like Diablo. For one, it isn’t an action RPG. You can run around, but when enemies approach the game slows down and you fight in a turn based tactical style. This confused and annoyed at least one reviewer, but if you understand, that the game is the designed this way, it is fine. The game actually rolls dice and you can compare your roll to your opponents sometimes and you can use mana and re-roll. You can use mana to use special powers, it is very Diablo influenced. You don’t have a class, though you can take trips down various paths (Warrior, Mage, Assassin). My character was mostly Warrior with some Assassin. Magic didn’t seem to do as much damage as the other two forms of attack early on.
I had to become quite the potion junkie, until I finally found some better weapons. You are limited to 9 health potions and 9 mana potions. However you can tactically withdraw from most combats and run back to town and buy more. The enemy will have the same amount of damage as you inflicted before and will likely follow you to the elevator. That’s right, although Rimelands takes place far in the future after humans have messed up the environment and caused another Ice Age, during which man lived underground and magic and fairies took over the surface, the elevators in the million year old survival shelters which you spend most of your time exploring, still work!
The game has few puzzles, mostly it is get a mission, go to a “Vault”, go get something in the Vault, return to town and get a reward and another mission. All was going well until my grandmother was kidnapped, no I’m not making this up. Your grandmother sends you on many of your quests. So I tried to rescue her, but I was a little short on funds and low on potions and took a beating. The game auto saves for you whenever you enter a new area, so you can become locked into combat with a boss…
This isn’t the problem I finally encountered which halted my progress. I died trying to rescue my grandma, so I took a break from that quest and went on another one. On this quest I found lots of good stuff, the best stuff yet. So once I was re-armed and re-potioned, it was back to rescue Gran. Even though I had ran away from that encounter, and even though the quest is still listed as active and incomplete in the UI, I can’t journey back to where she is being held captive. It is greyed out like all the Vaults I have completed. All I can do is go between the human capital and the Faerie capital. In short I am screwed and the game has stranded me mid-quest with no place to go, no way to gain experience, and I’ve done talked to all the elves, gnomes, and humans that exist in either town.
It appears I’ve discovered a bug.
I’ve had a lot worse go wrong since then with my various electronic devices, but that is the subject of my next blog post. In the mean time compare some screen shots of Perilar and Rimelands. Also Perilar is a 2 Mb download, the biggest app on my iPhone is Carcassonne at 110 Mb.
Today while investigating solutions to my various computer and home theater problems I noticed Neverwinter Nights 2 on the shelf of the Apple Store. So playing an RPG on my MacBook Pro is an option. However I had just bought, this week, Red Steel 2 and although the last expansion to Civ IV is out on the Mac, Civ V will be out soon so that will be my next Mac game and computer game period. In the mean time, I hope Rimelands gets an update and I can get my home theatre fixed so I can play my Wii.
Update March 3rd 2013
I don’t have time to play video games much, I certainly don’t have trouble wasting my time, but I do try to use some of it productively while unemployed. I still subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds and one turned up this list of the 25 best RPGs on iOS. I think the iPad with its larger screen and hopefully solid battery life is a better gaming platform than my iPhone, especially for more involved games.