BattleMage ($0.99) by Nick Joyner is a fast-paced side-scrolling RPG that will appeal to anyone looking for a challenge. As armies of orcs, spiders, and the undead descend from darkness and threaten to destroy a kingdom, it’s up to you to save the villagers with your mighty magic. This game is reminiscent of the original Battleheart in a way, though you are only controlling a single, powerful mage.
I love RPG games — they always provide a nice, lengthy adventure and the worlds they take place in are pretty interesting. However, since I do so much with my iPhone and am pretty busy most days, I don’t always play a full, in-depth RPG game. Despite this, every now and then you’ll get an RPG that can be played in short bursts throughout the day, and BattleMage is one of those types of games. I was intrigued when I saw the trailer for it, and now that it’s here, it doesn’t disappoint.
The art style in BattleMage is nice, having a cartoonish look and feel, which is why I brought up the Battleheart comparison. In a way, BattleMage even looks like one of those Flash games that you can play in your web browser, which isn’t a bad thing in my book. Despite the simple appearance, BattleMage is fairly detailed, as you can see from the various environments, objects, characters, and enemies. The animations are smooth and fluid, as I had no lag on my iPhone 6. The adventurous soundtrack is your typical fare, but it’s still fun to listen to. Sound effects in this game are realistic and enjoyable, especially when you are blasting your foes away.
BattleMage is based on levels, which you can select on the world map. Red dots represent stages that you have not yet cleared, and green means you’ve beat them already, though you can always replay them for experience and gold. The objective in each level is to help your mage navigate from start to finish, rescuing village hostages and defeating the armies of invading monsters with your equipped spells. By killing enemies and rescuing villagers, you will earn experience and gold to use in the shop for gear, as well as upgrades to your spells and abilities. Of course, every now and then you will face off against a strong adversary in the form of a boss battle.
Controls in the game are simple. There is a virtual joystick in the bottom left for moving your mage around. It’s a side scroller, but you can move up higher or lower on the screen, and left and right. As you advance forward, you won’t be able to turn back, so make sure that you are strategically placed on the ground to attack but not be hit. The bottom right area will have three colored buttons — tapping these will activate the spell that you’ve assigned to it in the beginning of the game. As you get stronger spells, you can switch them out. With only three buttons, you’ll need to think of what spells will help you out the most.
When you kill monsters, you get experience, and sometimes they will drop piles of gold. You can also break objects like barrels and mushrooms to find health and mana potions, which are super useful. The gold is used to get robes and staves to equip your mage with, meaning better stats and bonus abilities, like health regeneration or increased gold. As you level up, you gain spell and skill points that can be used to acquire stronger spells and useful battle skills, such as more critical damage, faster movement, and more.
There’s a ton of options for users, and having all of these means more customization for playing how you want, and plenty of replay value. To top things off, there are also 18 achievements to obtain in Game Center.
I’m really enjoying BattleMage so far, as the art style is cute and charming, the controls are simple and intuitive, and the gameplay is fairly simple but challenging. And there are a ton of spells, skills, and pieces of gear to collect, making this the perfect little game to keep you busy for some time.
I highly recommend BattleMage if you like side-scrolling RPGs that don’t baby you with handholding. You can get BattleMage on the App Store as a universal download for just $0.99.