Friday, March 1, 2013

Aeon Avenger [Kemco + World Wide Software] - $8.99

A couple weeks ago one of our favorite Turn-Based RPG publishers, Kemco, released a new title in the English AppStore. Ever since we got our hands on Symphony Of Eternity, we’ve been hooked on Kemco’s releases, and even though they all look like very well made retro-RPG games done  with something like RPG Maker, there’s no way we can overlook the crazy amount of work, effort and love thrown into each and every title that Kemco has published. This time, WorldWide Software has brought us the awesome Chrono Trigger-esque title, Aeon Avenger. 

Aeon Avenger follows the story of Lake, a young, jobless slacker type who’s more obsessed with gunism than anything else. At the beginning of the game, Lake’s entire town, as well as his family, is killed by a mysterious man in black. This drives Lake to seek revenge. As his journey becomes more and more ‘complicated’ (as Lake likes to say), a woman named Rean who has the power to travel through time joins him in a quest to stop the man in black by going into the past and changing the sequence of events that led to the destruction of Lake’s village. Other party members also join up for short periods of time helping Lake and Rean figure out a way to stop the man in black from ever possessing the power to control monsters by going back in time and finding out how the monsters are able to be controlled. Toss in some Gods, a secret War and quite a bit of time travel in order to progress through certain areas of the story, and it does get a little ‘complicated’. 

Probably the biggest thing that fans of Kemco, and RPG gamers in general, are wondering about is the game’s equipment, leveling up and battle mechanics, as these are different in each and every one of Kemco’s titles (minus Alphadia and Alphadia 2). First off, there are 8 different weapons (Gun, Rod, Bow, Knuckles, Sword, Staff, Flail and a Whip) that you can choose from and each character, though proficient in one weapon, is able to equip them all. You can also equip clothing/armor with some able to be equipped with every character, while others are only for male or female characters. Along with your weapon and armor, you’re also able to equip two accessories. These range from slight perks, like a bump in stats, HP or MP, to preventing the wearer from suffering from various magical effects like confusion, sleep, poison and more. Now, most likely the biggest thing you’ll be worried about are bits. Bits are gems which you can attach to weapons adding on special perks, stats, spells and attacks. This is how your character uses skills and spells. Each weapon has a certain number of bit slots which you can equip bits into. These bits can also evolve, which we’ll talk about in a second, but how many slots a bit takes up is dependant on it’s strength. Unfortunately, you are not able to learn spells or skills, which means that you will not be able to use things like ‘Heal’ unless you have the bit that allows for the healing spell equipped on your current weapon. Because of this, switching out bits and finding out which ones are best against what monsters and bosses will be something you’ll be doing fairly often. This isn’t so much of a hassle, as in most weapon shops, there’s usually another NPC that will let you know what weapons are best for the monsters that can be found in the next dungeon area. 

Another mechanic that’s definitely worth bringing up is the time travel aspect of the game. A lot like Chrono Trigger, Aeon Avenger will have you traveling from the present back to the past and into the future, all to learn more about the world around you, solve puzzles, open areas and generally just progress through the story. One of the features that takes advantage of the time traveling mechanic, making it more than just a nifty part of the story and progression, is that you can evolve bits by placing them in a special area in the past, along with a magic evolution stone, and then traveling to the future to retrieve and equip them. Not all bits can be evolved, but most of the ones that can will play a huge roll in how you battle enemies. 

Graphically, Aeon Avenger looks like your typical retro RPG that Kemco has become known for publishing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re just sick to death of the style. Growing up exposed to the NES, SNES and SEGA, I personally love ‘retro’ graphics. Also, after spending hours upon hours messing around with RPG Maker, I have a newfound respect for how much work actually does go into the making of an RPG, even when given pre-rendered assets (which I’m not saying is what has been done here, as far as I know, World Wide Software placed every single pixel within the game themselves), it’s one hell of a task to take on. Along with the retro graphics, the animations are smooth, and the BGM adds to the retro feeling of the game as well. 

The user interface is reminiscent of Eve of the Genesis, which is no surprise considering EotG was developed by WWS as well. You’re given a menu button in the top left of the gameplay screen which will take you to a menu where you can access your tools (inventory), skills, status (equipment), map, help, settings, title, save and guide. All of the interaction with the menus is pretty straight-forward. It’s not cluttered, and is very easy to navigate. In the settings menu, you’re able to adjust the sound, battle rendering speed, movement speed, text speed, turn the mini map on or off and adjust the virtual control settings. You aren’t able to move the controls anywhere on the screen, but you are able to move them from the bottom corners to the middle of the screen. 

Now, not only are we incredibly excited that we have another Kemco title to add to our collection, but also, this is the first Kemco title that has been released as a Universal app. That’s right, no more 2X mode on the iPad! Along with being Universal, Aeon Avenger also supports the iPhone 5’s widescreen (even though it is not stated as optimized for the iPhone 5 in the game‘s description on iTunes). Priced at $8.99, it’s another great Final Fantasy-esque retro Turn-Based RPG at a fraction of the price of Square’s FF titles. If you’re a fan of the genre, Kemco’s releases are definitely worth checking out and we can’t wait until their next publication hits the AppStore. 


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