Grim Quest – Old School RPG

The Game

Grim Quest – Old School RPG by Goran K is a game that’s popped up as recommended several times in my app store and I decided to give it a go – I just wish I’d done so sooner. As the game’s name suggests it’s an “old-school” RPG game that focuses on exploring dungeons, turn based combat and purchasing/upgrading spells, skills and equipment. The game also features has crafting as a method of creating powerful buffs and potions. You can also accept and complete bounties for XP and gold.

Each dungeon is essentially a square grid – these vary in size. Each turn you can choose one of the adjacent squares to move into it – at that stage you can either encounter enemies, a random event or the exit to the dungeon. You are discouraged from walking back over already revealed tiles as there’s a good chance you will get ambushed. While navigating the dungeons you need to keep an eye on your health, sanity and supplies. I quite like that there’s no mana to maintain, spells are just based on a number of charges that resets before each battle. If you’re low on sanity your fears will start manifesting themselves into monsters that attack you; run out of health and you’ll be kicked out of the dungeon. You will also find various items that buff you for that specific dungeon run. There are a decent variety of dungeons, monsters and a great selection of skills and spells to learn and combo.

Worth it?

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that this game was made by one person, which instantly propels it to a whole new level of excellence. Simple/minimalist graphics combined with classic mechanics and a great amount of depth make for a pretty amazing mobile gaming experience. You can pick this game up for a casual dungeon crawl or run after run attempting to beat a dungeon boss. There’s an ad-free version for £5.49, but it must be said the ads are essentially non-existent – apart from a bottom banner and the option to watch ads for cash every time you return to town (you don’t have to do this if you’d like an extra challenge). Personally I do feel that that price is a little steep – if it was 15-25% cheaper, I feel I’d be a bit more inclined to purchase it. There are some quality of life improvements that could be made like an option to sort your stash or being able to see the spell description at the Alter of Oblivion.

Overall it’s a brilliant game with familiar classic mechanics, simple but effective aesthetics, customisation options and a huge amount of spells, skills, crafting and enemies to take on. It’s also quite a challenge, especially early game until you’ve got some upgrades and good spells. The game will keep you thinking – just one more dungeon, one more level. It’s great for both short and longer sessions of play. A must see for any RPG/Turn-based aficionados out there.

Tips

  • AOE spells and attacks are very helpful
  • Hold on to ingredients that can be used in the cauldron
  • Make sure you always have as many bounties as possible on at a time
  • If you have an item already in your possession/stash you can complete item bounties
  • Items can be used to buff yourself on a particular dungeon run (very useful for boss levels)
  • Always check the vendor for steel ingots or other upgrade materials
  • You can reset/forget spells and skills at the Alter of Oblivion (Level 1 spells cost 0 to forget, but higher level ones will cost more)
  • Reddit Guide for beginners: https://www.reddit.com/r/GrimQuest?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

Useful Links

The Gauntlet: Roguelike Turn-based RPG

The Game

The Gauntlet by Cutlass is a minimalist turn based RPG. A simple, retro feel and a great time waster. The game is focused on combat over 100s of floors of monsters. You can also permanently upgrade your heroes or purchase new ones with your

You can pick what difficulty gauntlet you’d like to start, after which you select your fighters – initially there are 4 classes available and more can be unlocked through cash or in-game currency. The 4 base classes are Warrior, Thief, Mage and the Knight – each offering different stats and its own skill tree. Once you’ve selected your 3 fighters you are plunged into the gauntlet and you’ll start fighting waves of enemies. The game will cycle through your characters allowing to choose your moves – attack, defend, use items or cast spells. Beat all the floors and you’ll have mastered that gauntlet.

Worth it?

Overall it’s a brilliantly nice and simple game with a unique art style and solid gameplay. There is potential to expand on the game by having equipment for the different classes, more achievements, challenges or perhaps even some different game modes. Each new class costs $1.99 or 50 000 souls, which are fairly easy to collect from a few successful runs. This means there’s no pressure to actually purchase classes, but buying them is a great way to support the developers. There are also no ads, which is awesome. When you need to do something else you can just exit or pause the game and it will save your progress, convenient for when you’re out and about and just need something to do for 5-10 minutes. The game is worth a download, just don’t get too distracted because you will keep thinking “just one more floor” and we all know how that goes.

Tips

  • Use items to restore health/mana, also items are per character rather than a shared pool of items
  • Clear smaller easier units before focusing on the boss
  • Mage is useful against phantom characters, who don’t take damage from physical attacks (they do take damage from various spells though)
  • Knight has a “Provoke” (Taunt) ability that will make enemies more likely to target it

Useful Links

Minimal Dungeon RPG

The Game

Minimal Dungeon RPG by CapPlay, is just what the title says – a minimalist dungeon crawler with RPG elements for mobile. The game will present you with various blocks that you must tap in order to overcome the obstacle they represent. Sometimes they will be enemies, other times they will be some sort of resource. There are also blocks with padlocks on them, these are unlocked using either silver or gold keys, often these will have better loot than the standard blocks. There are also blocks which will offer you keys, loot or skill points in exchange for cash. Each dungeon level will have a series of rooms that you will need to navigate before reaching the final boss for that level. Beat the boss and you’ll progress.

Your character has 5 types of skill points, but you can only invest in 3 – HP, ATK or DEF – all of which fairly self explanatory. You will also be able to equip loot that you find, be it a weapon, chest piece, helmet or shoes. Equipment uses established RPG colour and naming hierarchy (Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary). There are also set bonuses for some legendary equipment that will give you extra bonuses. The game has a main story mode and every 5 stages you will reach some sort of base, where you can go on an adventure (independent of the story, for grinding), grow seeds (you can spend fruits on stats upgrades), replay old levels or buy items. You can also go on a one off adventure, which is essentially a single floor of a dungeon and you don’t regenerate health over time, sometimes these can end a lot quicker than expected.

Worth it?

Overall a brilliantly simple and fun game. The core game play loop focuses around tapping and exploring the dungeons, but the variety in layouts and available tiles, as well as loot, all keep you coming back for more. There are points where the story will become challenging and you need to break away to grind up a bit. The game is very non-intrusive when it comes to gatchas and videos, although could potentially benefit from a daily login type reward (currently checking on your seeds is your main motivation to check back regularly). Occasionally there are parts of the dungeon that may be locked off by a video, I’d say it’s really down to you on whether you feel like watching it at that stage, but if you don’t you aren’t really missing out on all that much. There are some premium currency options, but these are generally unnecessary. The game looks, sounds and plays great and is perfect for anything from quick time-killing session to an extended dungeon crawling marathon, as it has that “just one more room” appeal.

Tips

  • Don’t buy equipment from the random vendors unless you really need it
  • Always pay for extra skill points in dungeons
  • Explore the full dungeon before proceeding
  • Fish in multiple spots at once, while the animation plays out
  • You can leave a story mode dungeon and go back to the base without losing progress
  • If you are stuck you can grind levels and equipment in adventure mode
  • In adventure mode your health doesn’t restore, use springs and herbs to maintain your health points

Useful Links

Heroism

The Game

Heroism by MINMAXIA is an Early Access game available on Android. It’s a brilliantly deep roguelike(ish) action RPG game with some idle game elements (although it’s not really an idle game). The game has a cool retro pixel style, multiple classes to choose from when creating your hero including some more unusual choices like the Chicken King (and his army of chickens). If you’ve played games like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon you may notice some familiar elements. The game has a lot of classis RPG elements like attributes, active or passive skills, companions, randomised tiered weapons and armours. It’s got it all. There’s also an impressive variety of points you can gain in order to invest into upgrading yourself, your companions and your rewards. This is where the idle elements come in as you can just keep upgrading and upgrading so that when you’re exploring a dungeon you make more and more – you guessed it to spend on more upgrades.

The core game play loop is focused around you exploring dungeons in order to complete various quests a la collect an item, rescue someone or clear all monsters. You can use on screen controls or tap to go to a location – you will encounter mobs and loot on your way through the dungeons. If you play with some of the settings (there’s a lot of settings options) – you can extend the range of your auto attacks so that you path towards any enemy within that range. This allows you to play the game sitting back while your character does the hard work of chasing down mobs, however this may not be the fastest way to navigate the dungeon. As you explore the dungeon each grid space has a “Heroism” orb on it. Personally it took me some time to grasp how all of these various points (there’s also experience, kill streak, progress points, death points) are accumulated and I think I was a bit confused by the similar shape of the Heroism and Experience Orb. However once you do get the hang of it collecting them and investing them strategically is highly rewarding. Even death gives you points to invest in death driven events.

Worth it?

Heroism is a brilliantly simple and charming game that’s definitely worth a play. It’s good as both an active game or more of a sit back and enjoy the ride type of game (almost like an idle) as you watch your hero destroy enemies and explore dungeons. It would be great to see how much more can be done with the game – things like making the story missions a bit more special, almost like adding cutscenes or special events to them to make them feel a bit different. It would also be great to see some new types of missions added or even other towns with NPCs as more of the map is discovered.

Overall, it’s definitely worth checking out – it can be quite addictive as you keep thinking – just one more dungeon. There’s so many different types of points to upgrade and invest in, some really interesting settings and options too. It would be great to see even more done with the game as after a while the core gameplay loop does get a bit repetitive, but the increasing difficulty after each main story mission and the various types of dungeon will keep you on it for a while. There’s virtually no gatcha elements, you can watch ads if you like, but they are very non-intrusive, you can purchase an ad-free version for £3.79 as a great means to support the developer.

Tips

  • Extend the range of your auto-attack in order to go directly to any enemies within the dungeon
  • If enemies are very easy, you may want to increase the minimum enemy level
  • Invest in the range of your auto collects
  • Necromancer and Chicken King are great for passive play as their minions will do a lot of the dirty work
  • Progress the main story quest whenever you can
  • Get a companion as they’ll help collecting loot and clearing the dungeons faster
  • If you do a rescue mission you can then go into another dungeon and the person you rescued will help you out

Useful Links

Stardew Valley

The Game

Stardew Valley is a modern gaming masterpiece made by a single person – Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. The game is one of the ultimate open world, farm, spelunking, life simulator RPG. Yes that is a lot of things and this game does them all. You start out having inherited a plot of land from you grandad – a farmer. Upon your arrival the farm is in quite a state, your long term goal is to turn it into a cash cow (you can have cows) and don’t forget the cash crops as well. From the very start the game allows you to do your thing and introduce yourself to the inhabitants of Stardew Valley, the first few days have a bit of guidance but from then on it’s mostly up to you to figure things out by exploring the world around you.

The primary game loop focuses around farming and spelunking in the caves where each level increases in difficulty. Some days there’s so much farm work to do that you won’t have much time to do anything else. In the winter you might find yourself spending a lot more time there. There are occasional quests on the town board with a time limit and there’s a series of main quests that develop over time and depend on your actions, decisions and interactions with the other townsfolk. The main quest alone will keep you playing for around 50 hours or upwards of 2 in game years – and that’s just the surface of the game.

This game is packed with mysteries and achievements to collect and discover. Your relationships with other townsfolk can get deep; you can even get hitched and have kids, if that’s your thing. You could also just string along all the singles in town until they all find out… If you’re not all about that you can just spend your days fishing and forget about the hustle and bustle.

Worth it?

Ranging from £7.99 on mobile to £34.99 on Switch the game is available on virtually all platforms and put simply it’s worth it. The game is frequently on sale and while the upper end of that price range is a bit too much, anything less than £15 is a steal. The mobile versions are extremely good and a touch cheaper, albeit a bigger phone is useful

The game will keep you in for hours and even after you play through the main story you can always start another farm on one of the other farm layouts. My first playthrough is over 70 hours long. The game is packed with secrets and unique interactions and scenarios. You will want to keep upgrading and improving your farm – it just keeps you coming back thinking “just one more day”.

Overall if you’re after a farm/life/dungeon RPG game this is it. The game is still regularly updated with new content and fixes. Put simply, this game is a must.

Tips

  • There’s so much to this game that I would simply recommend checking for specifics in the Wiki linked below.

Useful Links