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Review: Rimelands: Hammer Of Thor - Its Hammertime!

Review: Rimelands: Hammer Of Thor - Its Hammertime!

November 24, 2010


Rimelands is an interesting semi turned based RPG from Crescent Moon Games. You play as Rose, a treasure hunter with a mysterious past and a penchant for riches. You set out to find pieces of a map for your grandmother.


Rimelands features a long involved campaign, many skills to learn and interesting turn based combat. It also has a decent story and can be played several different ways. The heart of the game is the dice combat system. Barbarian skills make Rosa tougher in melee, letting her deliver hits that make her opponents bleed, stun them, or let her rapidly close the distance with a foe, so you aren't peppered with projectiles before you can strike back. Rouge skills allow you to excel in distance weapons letting you paralyze a foe to the spot or stealthily attack them. Shaman skills are magic skills and let you deliver icy blasts of energy or burn enemies up with fire.

The Good

Rimelands is a glowing example of how to do a RPG well on iDevices. It meshes a actual sense of exploration with some satisfying combat to create a RPG that will no doubt stay on your device for a long time. Rimelands has you slipping into the shoes of Rose, a treasure hunter with a mysterious past and a penchant for riches. You set out to find pieces of a map for your grandmother and this slowly turns into a rather incoherent plot as there is a terminal lack of dialogue in this game, but its serviceable enough for a game that's more about enjoying combat and finding more loot. Much of the game takes place in Vaults, previously occupied by humans long ago, full of enemies and Rimelands uses a unique system to determine your fortunes in battle. When you take action in battle, your stats and equipment come into play, but you also throw "dice". If you are unskilled in an area you get less dice. The symbols on the dice effect if you hit or not and how hard, a skull indicates you will hit, a double skull is a critical hit and a shield or cross is a miss. The enemy also rolls for their defense against your attack and the total number of skulls and evasion symbols determines if you hit successfully or not. You can also use mana, the same substance you use to power your abilities to randomly change one die a round to make the outcome more favorable, although the randomness might just make things worse instead. While this occasionally makes combat exasperating, like an enemy repeatedly getting criticals or blocking your hits, this rarely happens and battles are fair. This system is different from most RPGs and nice and fast, making battles sharp and quick, rather than dragging you down with constant boring battles.. How Rose fights is your choice. The game lets you customize her at each level up with either a Barbarian Skill, a Rouge Skill, or a Shaman Skills. Combat is semi turn based. You move normally in realtime until you get close to an enemy. when combat is joined you walk one step at a time, taking turns with enemies. This works very well, as you simply slip easily into and out of combat with no jarring battle load screens or swirly patterns ala Final Fantasy. Since the game lets you pick any branch at each level up you can create a hybrid character, or simply specialize in one branch to create the sort of character you want to use. Combat is about more than stats too, as you can stun enemies and pick them off with projectiles, charge up to mages and cut them down before they blow you away with magic or even use the environment to your advantage, like retreating to a doorframe or bridge, so you can take on multiple enemies on at a time in the doorway. The game also has plenty of dark vaults and towns to explore. While the game is extremely liner and you're always railroaded from place to place the areas are quite large and there is plenty of passages and treasure in vaults and people to talk to in towns to make looking around a satisfying experience. Rimelands also features a rudimentary crafting system. You can obtain materials from having equipment disassembled at a shop and you can use this equipment with blueprints you find in chests to create new items. There are only three materials in the game however and two are very simple to get. The third, Amber is rarer, but you don't need to spend ages killing enemies in the hopes they drop materials or anything; as long as you have to cash to buy equipment to have dissembled into items you can generally make what you like. The game controls very well. A standard dpad sits on either the left or right part of the screen. When you can interact with something, that direction on the dpad changes to an icon so you can attack or talk to people without having to press another button or have the screen cluttered up with other interface elements. This is a great idea and really makes the game snappier. Graphically the game looks  pretty good, graphics are functional and animations are nice and smooth, particularity the way you start a swing in combat and the game halts for dice rolls, before following though. Magic could look a lot better, as its just tiny wisps of color, but overall the game looks very nice, and also features full screen  illustrations in story scenes.

The Bad

Soudnwise, the game is average. The music is good enough and there is plenty of environment sounds like machinery in vaults. Voice acting however is limited to just grunts in battle and weapons have no kick. Guns sound extremely weak and the game's feel would benefit greatly if they had a meatier sound rather than a little "puff" when you shoot. Melee similarly has a little "tap" rather than visceral slicing sound effects and magic is about the same, mostly consisting of whooshing sounds. The sounds really add nothing to combat and they should be much better. Another minor problem is text detailing weapon effect is extremely small and difficult to see. It would be nice if there could be an option for a full screen view of the equipment's statistics in a larger font. Rimelands also lacks sidequests and most of the time you will just be completing plotline quests and exploring vaults for more loot. This is compelling enough however that its easy to largely forgive the game's rigidness. The game doesn't invite those who are new or not very experienced to the genre. It feels slow moving to begin with, and the dice combat system takes away most of the action. The game style isn't for everyone, but those who are RPG fans will be right at home.

The Verdict

Rimelands is a fun RPG with new ideas and a well though out combat system. It encourages you to play it in different ways and it's presented in a nice, easy to play package that's perfect for the platform. At $5 Rimelands is worth every penny, despite its minor problems and you should pick it up if you like RPGs, tactical gameplay or turn based games. Highly recommended!

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