Tag Archives: ios

/Scraps: Master of Dungeon

From earlier this month, here’s another review, forever damned to un-publishability, of  a game that I didn’t care for: it’s not bad, but it’s not inventive or interesting or engaging, either.

While unwieldy, Master of Dungeon‘s  title can be forgiven: it’s descriptive and accurate — this is, in fact, a dungeon-crawling RPG. And the specific misuse of English gerunds in the game’s marketing (“Feel the thrilled battle of beating!”) marks it as an Asian product (in this case, South Korean), even before the chibi-sized sprites drive the message home.

Master of Dungeon‘s choppy syntax may be part of its Engrish charm, but in a game with so many systems at play, it’s a nuisance. There’s an in-game economy, of course, with a handful of merchants and mongers in a hub town hawking wares, but there’s also item crafting and deconstruction, two different upgrade systems, and an expansive in-app purchasing scheme. There are two problems here, the first of which is that the writing in Master of Dungeon is butchered badly enough to render any tutorial or instruction inscrutable — the only way to get the hang of these mechanics is repetition and trial and error.

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/Scraps: Kids vs. Goblins

Sometimes, the things you write don’t get published, and they languish in some site’s CMS like a forgotten doll. This is one of those times, from March: a review of an iOS game I didn’t particularly like but found interesting in terms of execution.

Goblin anatomy

The funny thing about Kids vs Goblins  is that it understands something vital about Pokemon that sham companies and cloners like Qeab haven’t taken the time to grasp.

Kids vs Goblins differs wildly in form and function from Nintendo’s oddly prolific pocket monster sim, but it nails the conceit: in the same way that Pokemon sanitizes and bowdlerizes  cock fighting, Kids vs Goblins whitewashes its dingos-ate-my-baby narrative about cannibalistic goblins and the fact that its stars a ten-year-old with a spiked warhammer.

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/Ceci n’est pas une action RPG: On Mage Gauntlet

The consensus on Mage Gauntlet —  RocketCat’s promotional literature, the TouchArcade review that sold me on the game, various forums is that it’s an action RPG. We have, however, been sold a bill of goods: Mage Gauntlet has more in common with River City Ransom than it does with Secret of Mana.

The problem is that the game’s visual style, theme, and mechanics have all been perceived as belonging to the categorical definition of action RPG: Mage Gauntlet takes place in a fantasy setting, and a couple of the underlying systems are governed by a set of stats affected by equippable items. The SNES-inspired art direction only reinforces the misconception.

So it’s true that Mage Gauntlet plays a bit like Secret of Mana, but the granular experience ultimately presents itself much differently.

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