Penny Arcade's On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 ($2.99) by Zeboyd Games (and ported by TinkerHouse Games) is the third installment of the Penny Arcade Adventures saga, which is based on the popular webcomic. The style of Episode Three is different from the first two, since they were action games with a mix of 3-D gameplay and 2-D spaces and cinematics. With Episode Three, you can expect to find pixelated RPG goodness, just like back in the SNES days.
Of course, since this is part of a series, you may think that you need to have played the first two games in order to play this one. That’s actually not necessary, though it may be a bonus. In Episode Three, you join Tycho Ephemerous Brahe, who is a serious scholar of apocalyptic studies turned detective, and his sillier partner, Jonathan Gabriel, as they embark on solving a mysterious case of unspeakable evil in New Arcadia. Isn’t that how it always goes?
For those who didn't already know, this is actually the official iOS port of the Steam and Xbox Plus game. I haven't played the original myself, but for what it's worth, I think that the iOS version plays pretty well. If you have played any old-school RPG games in the past, like Final Fantasy, then you will know your way around Rain-Slick pretty well.
The game starts out by asking you to pick your difficulty level and costume. There are three different costume themes to choose from. You can have Regular (Gabe and Tycho appear as themselves), Gender-Swapped (they feel pretty), and Furry. Both the difficulty and costume can be changed later on in the game through the menu.
Unlike traditional RPGs though, Rain-Slick will have pre-determined paths on town maps that you will need to follow to progress the story. This can be good or bad, depending on how you like your RPGs. I actually like it because it means less time wasted trying to find out where you need to go next. You will move around using a fixed or floating D-pad on the screen. By default, your group will be walking, but if that’s too slow for you, toggle “Run” mode with the button in the top right corner.
Once you enter areas that you are able to freely explore, you will see enemy sprites on the map. Walking in front of them will begin combat, which is turn-based and dependent on character speed, as indicated with the turn meter at the top of the screen. Each character can perform a basic attack, or they can use their class skills, which cost MP points to use. However, on every turn, each character gains one MP, but they don’t carry over to the next battle. Because of this, it’s wise that you use them as much as you can to make your battles easier, especially since enemies actually get stronger as the fight goes on. Upon victory, you will receive experience points and money.
You can interact with other on-screen elements as well, like treasure chests and items related to the story by tapping on it while your character is flashing. Some items will help you out in battle, such as duplicating the items that you have so that they can be used multiple times. The game menu features options for viewing your status, equipment, class (skills), items, recap of what has happened in the story so far, and save/load.
While the D-pad works for the most part, sometimes I felt it was a bit hard to get working properly, especially when it was in floating mode. It felt a bit glitchy, and would get stuck at times. It is also a bit harder to control when you are in running mode, so you may need to switch between Walk and Run quite often.
Regardless, there is plenty to do in this game. They even decided to throw in The Lair of the Seamstress DLC and Fanfiction packs into the initial game, so it’s already a great buy at $2.99. The developers have also promised even more free content coming in the future, so you are definitely going to be getting your money’s worth with Rain-Slick.
I have not played the Rain-Slick games before, but so far I’m really enjoying it on my iPhone 5 (optimized too). The visuals and soundtrack are definitely reminiscent of the old-school RPG days, and I absolutely love the Penny Arcade humor in the character dialogue. The only other complaint I have about it, besides the small joystick issue, is the fact that the text in dialogue boxes can be pretty small, considering how much space there is. I hope that this can be amended in a future update.
If you love Penny Arcade and the golden age of RPGs, then you will definitely not want to miss On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3. You can get it for $2.99 in the App Store as a universal app for your iPhone and iPad.