iPhone Game Review: ChronoSgear Reviewed by Kong Shi
If you like games that combine match-3, strategy, and RPG genres into one, ChronoSgear can be added to your buy list. The combination of puzzle and RPG genres is definitely enjoyable if made correctly, as seen in the popular PuzzleQuest series. This game?s storyline is not exactly the greatest, the visuals aren?t that impressive, but the gameplay more than makes up for that. By combining puzzle and strategy elements, almost every battle is unique and satisfying, especially after winning a hard-fought battle.
ChronoSgear has two different modes of play. There is a quick game mode as well as a story mode. The quick game mode allows for random battles with fully upgraded armies, as well as a multiplayer mode for two people on the same device. I would love to see multiplayer across different devices using your own characters in the future, as this would add greater replayability to the game. In this game, you are a boy named Starck, part of the Amici family. You perform various tasks for the Amici family, many of them involving fighting family rivals and enemies, where the real fun begins. The story did not draw my attention as some RPGs have, but the gameplay certainly caught my attention.
When you are thrown into battle, you will be placed onto a grid-like battlefield, where you try to match units together into battle formations. There are basic core units, the hero unit, as well as greater and ultimate units. Each turn you get three action points, to spend on moving a unit from one row to another, deleting a unit, or refilling the number of units on the field. By matching three basic core units in a row vertically, then the units will be in attack formation, and by matching core units horizontally, the units will provide defense. Each of the three core units has a timer associated with its formation. The weakest one attacks within a turn, while the strongest one cannot attack until the third turn. This increases the strategy involved with the gameplay because you will need to decide if you want to overrun the enemy with stronger units later, or attack earlier for the win. The hero, greater, and ultimate units are special units which require a longer time to set up, but are much more powerful than the basic units.
While this may seem like a lot to take in, there are various in-game tutorials presented by NPCs within the game, which help to explain all the gameplay mechanics. After taking the time to understand how to play, the result can be very satisfying. As fun as this game is, there are several things that limit its potential. There is a significant amount of grinding to be done in order to progress from one task to another, as the storyline mission bosses are incredibly difficult and usually much higher level than what your character should be. This slows down the gameplay by a lot, as you have to train hard on random battles, and even though the fighting is enjoyable, it does become tedious after a while.
The graphics are not the best, but having a cartoony anime-style art certainly helps its cause. While in game, the background and character models are quite blurry and could have been done better. However, the graphics during battle are slightly better, and the character portraits are even better. It would be nice if this game could utilize the retina display, because with the higher resolution, the visuals on the iPod Touch 4G are not that appealing. Of course, if you like this type of art style, common in many jRPGs, then you are in luck.
The music in this game is not bad. While walking around town, there is a nice electronic music background. This intensifies into a more upbeat, techno style music when initiating battle. It seems that the music does match the mood of the game, since it is set in the future, and the music style adapts well with the battle sequences. After a while, the sound does become repetitive, and I sometimes play with the music off. Currently, there does not seem to be an option to play your own music.
I really enjoyed playing through this game, and fans of PuzzleQuest and strategy-RPG games should enjoy the gameplay. However, if you tend to enjoy the story portion of RPGs, then this may not be the right game for you. Even so, for only $0.99, this game is definitely worth checking out. The depth of the strategy and the excitement of defeating tough enemies in a long battle are extremely entertaining.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - The graphics are not the strong point of the game. However, because of the anime, cartoony art style, the graphics are acceptable Sound: - 4 - The songs do fit in with the environment, particularly the songs played during battles, however it would be nice If there was an option to play your own music Controls: - 4 - The controls are responsive most of the time. I have no problems moving units while in battle. However, there could be more responsive controls while moving around town Gameplay: - 5 - This is the heart of the game. The surprising amount of depth and fun in the battle sequences is what allows this game to shine.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Use the greater/ultimate units wisely. Once you master how to use them, the battles will be more enjoyable, and you will win more often.