|Posted on September 23, 2009 at 12:43 PM|
One of the best gaming devices out there right now isn’t even a game device, it’s a damn phone. I’ve been enjoying much of what my little iphone has to offer in a variety of downloadable games, from classics like Mega Man and Wolfenstien to original titles like Fieldrunners and, the subject of this blog: Zenonia.
Zenonia is a Korean RPG developed and published by Gamevil. Simply put, it is a classic, old-school Zelda-like title that is really one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in a long time. I enjoy things that hearken back to the retro days is A Link to the Past and Secret of Mana, which is exactly what Zenonia does (and even adds in a Lunar-like tone of comedy with rather odd and humorous character names that are meant to be ironic.) It might seem generic, but it’s an addicting generic. My best comparison is to the underplayed Lufia titles on the Super Nintendo. They don’t do anything new, but it’s a lot of fun and hard to pull yourself away from.
In fact, here is the logline: you play an orphaned boy with a mysterious past abandoned in a town. Now grown up, he is out to discover the mysterious circumstances of his childhood and goes on an adventure.
That’s it. For an RPG it’s nothing great. For a little iphone game, though, it’s absolutely perfect. Zenonia is full of personality and is an utter joy to dive into its graphically crisp and colorful world. It’s linear, but there are various missions (usually simple fetch quests) you can go on to gain experience, occasional rare equipment and money. As noted, you start in your home town where our hero, Regret, is pretty much shunned by everyone save for a few nice people. Many have small personal quests to go on outside the village into the surrounding areas, and eventually you’ll come across the ones that will push the story forward and expand your exploration area (you’re limited on how far you can go early on until certain achievements are made). More areas, more towns, more quests and more things to buy become available as you progress. It’s simple, streamlined and efficient. It’s made even more fun by a relatively simple fighting system but a lot of options to upgrade and learn new skills and many new equipment adding bonuses if you wear them.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. One of the consistent problems with iphone games like this is when they have direction pads and action buttons. The iphone doesn’t believe in actual “buttons” so they have to put them on the screen along with the stats all of which take up 1/3 of the screen. Of course when a dialogue box comes up, sometimes with character art even, you have nothing left to really see the game in but a tiny window like a badly broken kaleidoscope. This is a problem I have with a lot of portable RPGs. Everything is just too small to really be effective, especially on a touchscreen, although Zenonia does about as well as you can despite it.
To me, Zenonia feels as though it’s a fan-made game by people who love retro Adventure RPGs. The music, the dialogue, the personality are all light and fun and doesn’t take itself overly seriously but is still compelling. As one of the best reviewed games on the Apple store, and costing only three dollars (plus a free demo) for around 40 hours of gaemplay, you must give this game a try. That’s all I ask...just a try.