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JadeDragon's game reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

Arvale II: Ocean of Time by PDAMill

Reviewed August 2005, by Marc Morgan

Arvale: Journey of Illusions was about a young gardener turned hero's journey to slay an evil dragon. This time, the award-winning developer PDAMill presents Arvale II: Ocean of Time, a new RPG game with a storyline that will remind you of the Indiana Jones series of movies. You play the role of John DeMenchev, who has been researching the ancient Mazulen civilization for most of his life. He has studied the ancient civilization so much, that he can even read their language. He believes that they could use an awesome power, or something that could change history. After all the years of research, he discovered that one of the Mazulen temples is near his home! He ventured off into the temple, but things didn't go quite as planned…

Gameplay in Arvale II is very similar to that of the original game. It is a turn-based RPG, which means that in battle, you will make a move, and then the enemy will make a move, etc. until either someone dies or someone flees. In battle, there are four things you can do. You can attack with weapons, attack with bolts, use potions, or flee. There are three types of weapons you can use: swords, spears, and clubs. Swords work best against opponents with clubs, spears work best against opponents with swords, and clubs work best against opponents with swords. When you're in battle, make sure to check which type of weapon your opponent has, and use the weapon that can overpower theirs to do maximum damage. The bolts deal elemental damage. There are three elements: earth, fire, and water. Just like how different weapons overpower each other, elements can overpower each other, in this order: water overpowers fire, fire overpowers ground, and ground overpowers water. Remember to use the best element when your opponent uses a specific element to do maximum damage. There are two types of potion that can be used in battle. There is a health potion which will recover a certain amount of health depending on its strength, and boosting elemental potions, which will raise your character's stats for the remainder of the battle. Finally, the flee option will remove you from battle, but it may sometimes fail, which will make you miss your turn. If you win a battle, you will gain experience, earn some gold, and possibly get an item. After a certain amount of experience points are earned, your character will gain an experience level. Gaining an experience level can boost stats in areas such as health, dexterity, strength, defense, aiming, and resistance. Like many other RPGs, (including the original Arvale) Arvale II features a world map that lets you travel between locations such as towns, temples, etc. As you walk around on the world map, you will have random battles with enemies. However, when you are in a location, you will see the enemies walk around, and therefore you can avoid them if you want, and if you defeat them, they usually won't regenerate. There are also items other than weapons, bolts, and potions, such as armor and quest items. To equip armor, go to the inventory menu, go to the armor tab, select the armor, and tap use. Equipped armor will have a red border around the image of the armor. All items, with the exception of quest items and the trusty sword, will wear out after a certain amount of uses. Most of the gameplay is exactly the same as it was in the original Arvale, and is just as great as it was in the original.

The controls in Arvale II are basically the same as in the original, with some minor changes. You can move around using the D-Pad or tapping where you want to go on your screen. If you need to talk to someone, pick something up, etc. you tap the action button, which will turn red when an action is available, or press the select button on your PDA. There are also four buttons at the bottom of the screen, around the action button. They are: inv, stat, map, and menu. The inv button will bring up the inventory screen so you can access items, the stat button will bring up the statistics menu which shows information such as health, your level, experience, and more. The map button will show you a map of the current location, and the menu button will bring up the game menu, where you can save your game, change settings, etc. Generally any item can be used by going to the inventory menu, selecting the tap that corresponds to the item, tapping on the item, and finally tapping the use button.

The graphics in Arvale II are almost the same as in the original. All of the areas of the game were designed well, and everything is easy to see and looks appealing. During a battle, the background will resemble the area you are in. The border has a worn look, and shows your location at the top, and at the bottom it has the inv, stat, action, map, and menu buttons. It also shows your health, indicated by a red bar. Again, like the original, Arvale is presented with a bird's eye view. This works well for this game as this way you can easily see anything approaching, including enemies, and any doors, chests, etc. ahead. There are also cutscenes, which are implemented into the game well. They are not like in-game movies, but are more like the game taking over your actions, sometimes with talking, etc.

The music in Arvale is composed by Jaybot, (Jason Surguine) like many other PDAMill games. It is composed well, and reflects the theme of the area you are in. The music changes for battles, to suit the excitement of battle. There are also sound effects for different parts of the game, such as attacking, opening doors, etc. You can change the volume of the sound and change the quality from the options menu.

Every aspect of Arvale II is amazing. The storyline will keep you wondering what will happen next, the gameplay is simple to get into and addictive, the soundtrack is excellently composed, and the graphics are appealing to the eye. Just like the original Arvale, Arvale II is an RPG that is fun to play for RPG fans, as well as people who have never played RPGs before. All PDAMill games are high-quality and fun to play, and Arvale II is no exception.

Playing Hints and Tips

*Try to gain levels at the beginning of the game, as it will definitely pay of in the end.
*Whenever you have a chance, make sure to buy potions, and any weaponry/armor that is more powerful than what you have.
*Make sure in a battle to use weapons or elements that overpower your opponent's weapon or element.
*At the beginning of the game, do the tutorial when the monkey asks if you want to.

 

Screen shots:

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

The graphics in Arvale 2 look great, and all of the areas are designed well, but there is nothing revolutionary here.

Sound

Like all of the other PDAMill games with music composed by Jaybot, the music has great quality, and you can tell when you are in different places, and in battle, that the music was composed for the game.

Fun Meter

PDAMill has done it again! Arvale 2 is fun to play, even if it's your first time playing an RPG. Arvale 2 definitely lives up to the PDAMill standard.

Addictivity

Arvale 2 starts easy, and progressively gets harder to keep you entertained. The storyline was written in a way that will make you want to continue playing to see what happens next in the game!



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