Pocket RPG iPhone Edition ($0.99) by Crescent Moon Games is an epic dungeon crawler that is similar to the likes of Torchlight and Diablo. It started with an iPad version (ironic, since an iPad doesn’t fit in your pocket), and is now available for your iPhone.
Let’s start by going over the classes that Pocket RPG has. There’s three: Blade Master, Dark Ranger, and Battle Mage. The Blade Master is a dual-wielding melee specialist with powerful strikes. The Dark Ranger (the one I’m currently playing) can utilize a barrage of arrows that can bounce, seek, or split to eradicate your enemies. The Battle Mage uses elemental magic (fire, ethereal, ice, lightning) to nuke her enemies. Of course, she is fragile (in World of Warcraft terms, she’s called a “squishy”), but her magical prowess is extremely efficient.
Once you’ve chosen your class, it is time to start your adventure. The quests are laid out on what looks like a world map, but you will have to work through them in order. Each quest will consist of a randomized multi-level dungeon that you must clear one part at a time. What this means is that the experience will never be the same (like in Torchlight), which is definitely a nice touch.
The controls are simple: use the virtual joystick on the left to move, and the one on the right to attack (simply hold it in the direction you want to attack). Health bar will show up on the left, and the class specific bar (mana, rage, focus) will show up on the right. This bar will do different things according to your class type. For example, with the Dark Ranger, the longer he is fighting, the more the Focus will build up. With Focus, he can do special attacks like summoning a volley of ghost arrows, and dealing more total damage. Experience is shown as a tiny bar to the left of your health.
Along your journey, you’ll come across fallen soldiers. Talk to them to hear what they have to say, and also earn some gold. You will also stumble upon crates and pots that you can break for money, and even treasure chests you can open for the loot inside. There will also be statues that you can touch for bonuses like increased damage and more experience for a short amount of time (some potions will do this too).
The loot you collect will be accessible with the button next to the attack joystick. You’ll be able to see your character level, equipped items (weapon, ring, amulet). Your inventory is limited space, and you can sell off your items by dragging it to the coin near your character. There is a merchant located somewhere on the dungeon map as well, so you can sell unwanted items and buy better stuff that way.
The developers claim this is not a “my numbers beat your numbers” type of game. Rather, it’s more about how you use the items you come across that is more important. Make sure to check the stats for each item you come across, and see if it is more efficient than what you have on. It’s how you use the items you come across in the game that matters, not solely numbers (bonus damage, armor penetration, for example).
The other button, located near the control joystick, lets you pause the game, go back to the main menu (your progress is saved, though when you resume, you start at the beginning of the current level), toggle auto-aim, and see your move list.
The enemies tend to come out in swarms, so you’ll have plenty of hack-n-slash action going on. There is a boss fight at the end of each level, so you’ll have to observe the attack movements and plan a strategy to come out alive.
After you clear a quest, you’re awarded with skill points and a lot of gold to spend on making your character better. The skill points go toward active and passive skills that will affect the tides of battle. The gold is used to train your character to be more efficient in the use of weapons and magic. Make sure to use up as much of the gold as you can, because the game will prompt you if you are sure you want to move on to the next adventure when you can still get some upgrades.
Once that’s done, you move on to the next quest. A unique thing about Pocket RPG is that you will go back to starting at level zero on a new quest. You lose your gold, equipped items and inventory too. So each new adventure is a fresh start. It certainly adds a challenge to each new quest you move on to, which is nice.
There is Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, which add to the replay value of the game.
The graphics are great, and the music is just what you’d expect from this type of game. I did experience some lag issues when there was a lot of monsters and attacks on the screen, but it was nothing major.
Fans of dungeon crawlers should definitely pick this up, if not already. It’s definitely worth more than the current $0.99 sale price, so it’s currently a bargain. Hurry up before it’s too late!