While the PC world is full of free-to-play action-RPG games with plenty of loot and quests and things to kill. But getting a solid entry for your iOS or Android device is harder: Spacetime Studios pioneered with ‘Pocket Legends’, then a year ago introduced ‘Arcane Legends’. The ‘Realm of Shadows’ expansion recently launched, and the game is an absolute blast!
Type of app: Multiplayer Online Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Platform/where to buy: iPad; available in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play for Android.
Developer: Spacetime Studios
Arcane Legends has loads of content, including:
+ Free to play forever
+ Unlock and customize class abilities
+ Collect and grow mystical pets that help you
+ Find thousands of legendary weapons and items
+ Play in Co-Op or Solo Mode
+ Plays on iPhone 3GS and up, iPod 3rd generation (16 GB) and up, and all iPad models
+ Optimized for Retina Display and the latest Apple devices
+ Plays Across Wi-Fi, Edge, 3G or 4G Networks
I have always found both mobile online games and mobile hack’n’slash games to present may compromises, and games that attempt both simply present too many compromises. With Arcane Legends I get a game that requires the same compromise as a game like Torchlight on the PC – don’t expect a particularly deep story or questing.
The game presents precious little in terms of plot, more of a typical fantasy motivation element to get you going. You then choose your character type – fighter, mage or rogue. And then after some customization and tutorial you are on your way! OK, I don’t want to downplay the customization because it is very well done – it just isn’t a priority for me as a gamer!
You move around using a virtual analog stick, and as you move from place to place the context-sensitive action button changes. In town it might trigger conversations or allow you to buy things and complete quests. In a ‘dungeon’ area it is all about killing monsters! Depending on your class your action button controls a different weapon type.
As a mage I was casting destructive spells with my wand. You get normal spells, then you can hold down the button to charge things up to really cause trouble!
Frankly the game is loads of fun to just wander around killing things accepting little quests and gaining power as you progress. But what makes it better is the incredible party system. People entering a zone with you appear in a little list and you can just add them to your group. When they leave the zone they drop out.
Of course, since this is a free game, you know there are in-app purchases. These are all about using real-world money to buy in-game currency. You can buy a “Handful of Platinum” for $1.99 all the way up to a “Chest of Platinum!” for $89.99! This level of abstraction makes it hard to know what you are getting for your money. But personally I never needed more money than I could earn in-game.
The new ‘Realm of Shadows’ expansion is also a blast. You get a raised level cap, even more deadly bosses, and new quests that take you to the land of Shuyal. There is a ton of content added on to an already expansive game!
Ease of use/Overall performance: If you have ever played anything in the ‘Diablo clone’ style, you will have no problem here. Controls are smooth and precise and all make sense. The graphics are stylized and attractive, the sounds are workable, and the performance is excellent.
The overall gameplay is well-balanced, thoughtfully designed and well optimized for playing on a mobile device. The interface makes navigating the game a breeze, and the seamless party system makes the online/offline play effortless.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! Arcane Legends is much more fun than I expected, allows solo or group play seamlessly, and provides a reasonable challenge without ever getting frustrating.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing
Source: Free-to-play, personal in-app purchases
Price: Free download
Here is the trailer: