A solar eclipse fills the sky and an eerie scream howls out through the darkness. The player then finds themselves transported to a giant hall with 4 other couples (who have also been transported to this mysterious place) where a giant figure that looks like Death appears. The figure known as "The Agent" informs the couples that they have all been invited to the Ark Arena and that they may be bestowed with immortality and eternal youth.....after fighting the other 4 couples to.......the death.
The overall story is interest with plenty of plot twists and intriguing character developments. The minor character back stories are fairly cliche. The main story was the real draw, especially when told throughout the 4 different perspectives of the couples.
I really appreciated the fact that (almost) everything thing in the game had a meaning/purpose, from the various random battles (and monsters) to the dungeons and characters involved. Even the "level grinding" had a significance to the story.
The only criticism I can make is that the characters and story weren't developed enough. The devs could've easily added more dialogue/text to flesh out the characters and story more. I wish the
This is some of the best visuals I’ve ever seen on a portable device! Everything looks amazing from the detailed character models to fluid enemy animations.
There are two distinct visuals. One is the typical pseudo-static character portraits for visual novel style dialogue and the other is the 3D models for exploration/combat. The VN portraits are superb. The shading and detailing in every character is both beautiful and meaningful (i.e. shading to show age). The 3D character/enemy models are very detailed and vibrant. The environments are distinct and robust in color. The lighting in particular makes the amazing visuals jump out even more than they already do.
The character/enemy animations may be fairly simple in nature, but they are expertly executed. There is a problem with the larger enemies though. Watching an attack animation against/from them causes a significant graphical slowdown to happen, causing a drag in the animation execution.
If you’ve ever played one of the original Final Fantasy games, then you know what to expect here.
The game follows the typical character controlled exploration and turn based combat. The player controls the character(s) during the exploration portion by doing a sustained sliding motion on the touch screen (initial tap, then slight drag of the finger in a particular direction). The battles play out like most JRPG fans would expect.
The battles are the traditional turn based set-up where characters/enemies take turns (based on agility levels) attacking each other. There are a few slight tweaks to that formula. One tweak is that players can decide to do solo actions or paired actions. It’s just as it sounds; solo = 1 person, paired = 2 people. There are a few pros/cons for using one type of action over the other. Paired attacks are more powerful and beneficial abilities like healing or support magic (increased defense, speed, etc…) benefit both members…but they also take damage as one target instead of only one party member taking the damage.
The minor tweaks are interesting, but don’t really shake up the tried & true formula. Personally, I’m tired of using this old school combat set-up, but I won’t deny that this system is effective.
The controls are straight forward. I never had any problems choosing attacks as the icons are fairly large and spaced out nicely.
There are a few puzzles mixed throughout the various dungeons. These puzzles have different set-ups. Some involve sliding blocks around to activate switches, while others involve tapping blocks to swap positions with the character. The various puzzles are fairly easy, with only a handful requiring some thought. There were a few problems I had and they all involved activating blocks by accident. The problem lies in the movement of the player around a room full of movable blocks/switches. Basically, I would being moving my character when I accidently activated a block, that either hit my character (resulting in restarting the puzzle) or I would lose a number from my movement counter (less numbers = less moves = restart the puzzle). I tried being careful, but some of the puzzle rooms had little room for movement (without triggering something).
Score: my personal view: 6.0/10, the rating for it's quality/execution: 9/10
The music is great. It is a mix of strings/piano/horns and rock. The musical tracks set the various moods/themes quite well. The boss battle beats are bumping and the slower tunes are solumn and emotional. Not all the tracks are memorable/enjoyable, but overall the level of quality is high.
The sound effects are good, though some of them like the
It's a catch-22 when it comes to replay value. There are 4 different playthroughs available (w/ a 5th option later), but they all follow the same set-up and 4 recycled dungeons. Each of the 4 different perspectives on the main story is cool and each of their unique back stories is interesting, but the idea of having to playthrough the game 4 (almost) identical times is a major drawback. I had to force myself to continue replaying the game after the 2nd perspective.
This game has a lot to offer with an original story and good amounts of customization. This game has enough charm and value to warrant the initial 5 playthroughs and a few additional run throughs afterward.
Final Score: 8.5/10
This game has a few minor "problems", but the overall package is very polished and enjoyable. I would highly recommend JRPG fans and/or portable gamers to check this game out. If you enjoyed the old school JRPGs of yesteryear then I'm sure you'll love this game. I would argue that this game has much in common with the games from Square's 90's era RPG's.