As I mentioned before in the Earthworm Jim review, you know the iPhone has travelled a long way when platformers actually work. Golvellius: Valley of Doom is just another example of retro on iPhone, making your iPhone the retro portal to tons and tons of retro games. All we need is SEGA to wake up and smell the coffee, but that’s a different story altogether.
Retro: From the player models to the enemies, the game is completely retro-cized. The pixelated graphics add much to the gameplay, and DotEmu did a terrific job with providing such a retro feel. Even the controls felt somewhat retro when playing the game, and it almost felt like I was playing on the old school NES. Seriously though, retro gamers will find themselves at home with DotEmu’s debut title.
Controls: Controls are simple and easy to use. They’re not complicated and they don’t take forever to learn; it’s simple and workable. The controls consist of a d-pad and an attack button, and I found both to be very responsive to my touch. It’s extremely easy to learn the controls, and once you pick up the game, the controls won’t be an issue at all. It’s sometimes good to go simple, and Golvellius is a great example of simple done right.
Speed: The version 1.1 was horrible, and I was seriously about to write a review for this game at that version. Surprisingly, DotEmu released a version 1.2 update that fixed a lot of the speed issues I had along with performance improvements across all devices. The speed has been greatly improved to be fast enough for the modern gamer and slow enough for the retro gamer.
Difficulty: The game is extremely difficult for beginners, and it even took me quite a few tries to discover the way and defeat the bosses. Some may be turned off by the level of difficulty, and it’s definitely not a game for casuals. I found Golvellius to take up a lot of your time, and the level of difficulty may leave some frustrated. It definitely left me frustrated at times, and it sometimes made me want to quit. The key is sticking to it, but some may just not have that willpower.
Golvellius: Valley of Doom is just good, retro fun. Sure it does get a little frustrating, but those who are patient will be rewarded. I found this problem with Vay, and because I stuck with the game, it turned out to be one of the best retro RPGs I have ever played on the iPhone. Golvellius seems to be the same way, and if you persevere, I’m sure you will be rewarded with a great RPG.