Tag Archives: Crescent Moon Games

Gears Review: Unique and Quite Enjoyable Ball-Roller

I’ve never been a fan of ball-rollers; they’re extremely frustrating, and I just never really saw the appeal in precision controlling.

Now let’s put Crescent Moon Games into the mix—the creators of arguably two of the best RPGs on iOS—and see if they’ve really reinvented the whole ball-rolling genre on the App Store.

Starting with the bare basics, Gears does basically what every ball-roller’s objective is: roll through the level hopping over obstacles and get to the end safely.  There are usually medals—as in this case—rewarded based on how well you completed the objective (time, how many coins collected, etc.).  Probably the best feature of Gears is its controls: spot on swipe controls that are absolutely brilliant.  The graphics are also not too shabby especially when playing on an iPad 2, and the environment feels like I’m actually inside some forbidden cave.

But Gears is far from perfect — yes, Gears does have its flaws.  For one, the tilt controls are absolutely horrendous; in fact, don’t even bother trying to make them work.  The calibration seems way off, and while it does mention that the game calibrates after the end of every level, you’ll have trouble even getting through the first one.

On top of that, for those that like to take in the environment and take as long as you want on any given level, too bad.  The time constraint does bother me a little since you must start the level over if you don’t finish, and it’s especially bothersome when the time expires right when I’m about to finish.  A new system of giving out trophies in which each one is based on how much time it takes you to finish would be a much better system, as it allows slow people to still advance into the later levels, albeit with lesser medals.

I’m not going to even get started on the fact that it doesn’t include GameCenter achievements.

But while Gears isn’t as perfect or as ideal as Crescent Moon’s past games, it’s still quite enjoyable and a thrill at times.  Getting through the levels does have its moments, and at $0.99, this is the definition of bargain.

Likes

Graphics: Crescent Moon Games has gotten this part down on their past two titles, and this is no different.  While I wasn’t overly impressed with the graphics on my iPhone 4, on the iPad 2, it was an entirely different story.  The graphics were absolutely phenomenal, and the detail was probably more than my eyes could handle.  I give props yet again to whoever does the graphics over at Crescent Moon Games because hey, they’re awesome.

Bargain: For $0.99, you’re getting a not too shabby game.  In fact, you’re getting a game that could as well be priced at $4.99, and I believe people would still buy it.  It’s universal, has GameCenter (although only leaderboards at the moment), and it contains some great content.

Swipe controls: The swipe controls are wonderful; in fact, they’re probably the best controls I’ve seen in a ball-roller.  It feels natural, it’s quick, and it’s comfortable.  Props to Crescent Moon Games for creating such a unique control scheme.

Dislikes

GameCenter: Achievements, anyone?  That’s what I absolutely love about GameCenter and any social platform for that matter.  But Gears’s lack of achievement is very noticeable, and I was actually quite disappointed.

Time constraint: I believe I’ve said everything needed to be said in the beginning of this review, but I’ll say it again: there are times when I just don’t feel like starting a level over.  Seems a bit brutal to me.  And hey, it would be nice to give me some more time to take in the beautiful surroundings.

Tilt controls: Ball rollers and tilting just seems so natural, and people like me actually like to tilt the ball.  But the tilt controls in this game are absolutely horrendous; I’ve never encountered such bad tilt controls.  I feel like I’m missing something in the options or anything, but scouring the entire game has produced no clues as to why these tilt controls are so bad.

Obviously I’m mixed concerning Gears.  On one hand, it’s beautiful, and the swipe controls work great.  It’s a bargain at $0.99 including the fact that it’s universal, and the game does have its shining moments.  Then there’s the other hand, which includes the fact that it doesn’t have GameCenter achievements, has terrible tilt controls, and that the time constraint does bother at times.  Ultimately, though, for $0.99, Gears is a game that’s too hard too pass up.  And considering Crescent Moon Games’s tendency to update its games, I would take a safe bet on this becoming great.

Gears was developed by Crescent Moon Games, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2.  The price is $0.99.


Aralon HD Review: Ravensword, Step Aside

Fully 3D RPGs is one genre that’s not too plenty in the App Store, partly due to the fact that it takes a lot of time and money.  But there are some developers out there that have taken the challenge, Crescent Moon Games being the frontrunner of 3D RPGs.  And they’re back for more with the release of Aralon, and I’m going to say it right off the bat: this is probably one of the best games I have ever played on my iPhone.

The story starts out with you trekking out to Taryn Ridge and talking to Sufok.  You discover that your father was actually the captain of the army until he was murdered by someone within the organization.  As you start taking odd jobs throughout the empire, you’ll discover that the queen was killed by the king’s right hand man Mercificus, as he is actually a demon most likely waiting to take over and pour out his evil over the entire empire.

So basically your job: find a way to kill Mercificus and save the kingdom.

The obvious difference between Ravensword and Aralon are the graphics, as Aralon sports some of the best graphics I have ever seen in an iPhone game.  On top of that, Aralon boasts of an innumerable number of items—weapons, armor, shields, etc.

And even on top of that, Aralon boasts of around 15 hours of gameplay, which I can attest to as being an underestimate, and overall, it’s a huge step forward in not only 3D RPGs but iPhone gaming as a whole.

The story is a little bit hard to follow and feels a bit stretched out, but other than that, this shouldn’t even be disputed on whether or not to buy.  And for all you explorers and boy scouts out there, this should be a dream come true.

Likes

Graphics: This should be a no-brainer; just look at the screenshots and determine it for yourself.  These graphics are striking, almost eye-shatteringly good.  And if you’re fortunate enough to have a Retina-equipped device, get ready for some eye-burning.

Atmosphere: The surroundings and environment aren’t exactly expansive; you’ll have designated roads and such with no real exploring into the mountains.  But the atmosphere and just the Aralon world is absolutely massive, and while exploring really isn’t my cup of tea, you just can’t help but roam around to see what some certain cave contains.

Content: I’ve honestly poured my heart and soul into this game for at least 10 hours, and at level 40 and kind-of almost done with the game (not really), you won’t find many games with this much content.  If you’re buying this for just something to play, then I thoroughly recommend it.  I’ve killed so much time while waiting in lines, waiting in the car, etc.  This is the perfect time-killer and may even be the perfect play-at-work-while-no-one-is-watching game.

Items: The items are all over the place, probably somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.  While that’s probably an exaggerated estimate, there’s definitely A LOT more than I remember from Ravensword.  The item system is very similar to Dungeon Hunter in that it’s the same item with different “levels to it” (i.e. Poor Axe, Good Axe, etc.)

Universal: Everyone loves it when a game supports both iPhone and iPad resolutions, and I’m not exempt from that love.  I absolutely love it and love the fact that the developers included it.  Kudos.

Dislikes

GameCenter: There are achievements, but they’re not really related to any social platform.  In recent days I’ve been more and more enamored by GameCenter, and with this having achievements, it would be nice if these achievements counted towards something.

Grinding: Level up, level up, level up.  Of all the 30 hours of boasted gameplay, probably 20 is spent leveling up to complete the next quest.  If you hate repetitious fighting, then I can’t say this is a game for you.  And if you’re playing for more than 2 hours in one sitting, then it starts to get really repetitious.

Walking: Of all the good things I have to praise about Aralon, walking is one of my #1 pet peeve.  Sure in real life I get my exercise in, but usually in a game, I want to sit down, relax, and not have to worry about exercising.  But Aralon seems to want you to mentally exercise, and walking is a pain.  You can’t run, you can’t ride your horse in the city, and you can’t teleport from one place to another.  It’s just, in my opinion, a complete waste of time.

Aralon is quite simply the best RPG on the App Store.  I can’t really say enough about it, but man, Galoobeth and Crescent Moon have really outdone themselves.  If you haven’t picked it up already and/or is on the fence, just go ahead and pick it up.  I doubt it’ll be $6.99 for long.

Aralon HD was developed by Crescent Moon Games, and I played through version 2.12 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $6.99.


Cescent Moon Unloads Massive Lineup in time for Christmas

Crescent Moon Games, developer of sandbox-RPG Ravensword, and collaborating with development of turn-based RPG Rimelands, will be busy this December as they are working with another developer to bring in great titles for Christmas.

Crescent Moon Games is working with Tasty Poison Games, the makers of Dragooo, and will be publishing a 3D dungeon-crawler named Pocket RPG. Tasty Poison will also be working with Crescent Moon on 3D platformer Ultra Kid: Mystery of the Mutants, along with steampunk-ball-roller Gears.

According to Crescent Moon, Pocket RPG is similar to Torchlight and other rouge-like RPGs. There will be three classes to choose from including the blade master, the dark ranger, and the battle mage.

For steampunk and puzzle-platforming fans, Gears is shaping out quite well. While having great graphics and amazing backgrounds, hopefully the gameplay and challenge will also be there for veteran Marble Madness players. According to Crescent Moon Games, players will be “rolling over gears as they turn, platforms, growing vines, dark caves – all in a beautiful fantasy world.”

Ultra Kid looks to fill in the gap that many iDevices games have overlooked, and that gap is 3d platformers. 3d platformers are some of the best selling and popular games on other gaming platforms, and there are only a few offerings so far like Bugdom 2. Hopefully, Ultra Kid will fill in that gap and provide some platforming goodness when it is released December along with Pocket RPG and Gears.

Gears will be the first to launch, according to Crescent Moon Games, for the iPhone and provide Retina support. Pocket RPG will initially be iPad only and a Retina version will follow.

Crescent Moon is still working on completing Aralon: Sword and Shadow before the end of the year as well, although no specific date has been set.  All games should be out before the month of December ends.

For more information, be sure to check out their games page.  We’ll have more information as they become available.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor Review: Prepare to be Smitten

Smitten, a perfect word to describe how I felt after playing Rimelands: Hammer of Thor.  You may be asking yourself, ‘Does he mean he’s in love with the game or that he was brutally beaten by it?’  Well the answer is both.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is a very traditional style RPG that goes so far to prove that fact that the game shows you the dice rolls normally hidden behind the scenes.  You have three basic talent trees to choose from, barbarian, assassin, and shaman.  While you can mix your talents, based on my experience I would definitely choose one and stick with it.

I have an affinity for magic users and thus chose to play as a shaman.  Not surprisingly the game was more difficult to early on as seems to be the customary format for magic classes in RPGs.  However, I found the difficulty to be incredibly frustrating at times, having to replay almost every fight early in the game numerous times because dice rolls simply were not in my favor.  Despite this I did find myself coming back again and again wanting to take another shot at the fights, knowing that I could win somehow.

Likes

Tutorial: Because of the complexity of the game, it is necessary to have a lengthy tutorial.  While long tutorials are often turn offs for most gamers it is a necessary evil to push through.  Fortunately, the information presented (in a succinct yet detailed manner) is spread out enough that it can be absorbed with relative ease.

Highly Detailed Areas: If you take the time to stop and look around in any given area you’ll find that there is an incredibly high level of detail in every single piece of environment.  Buildings clearly have individual bricks in them, trees have leaves on them, floors have individual tiles, and the list goes on and on.

Dungeons and Dragons style combat: Showing the dice rolls works two fold: Gives the game a much more original visual flare compared to most RPGs, and it adds a great deal of Dungeons and Dragons flavor that the app store is still very lite on.

Combat Variety: No matter how you choose to engage in combat in Rimelands you will be satisfied with the bevy of choices to make with each encounter.  Despite being magic focused I often found myself choosing to fire my gun rather than take a step towards an enemy in order to remain on the offensive as much as possible.  Changing up the combat style from my normal routine like this was very refreshing and greatly enhanced my satisfaction with encounters.

Enemy Variety: Unlike many other RPGs you don’t start out killing rats and work your way up to bigger targets.  There are lots of human targets to engage, but it’s not long at all before you start to see more and more monsters.  The resistances/immunities to specific attacks forces the player to adapt and change their play style much more frequently in order to succeed.

Sound: Sound effects are distinct and very crisp.  Particularly noticeable during the heat of combat are the sword swings and magic spell connects.

The music is fitting as well.  The dungeon music is foreboding and moody while the town music is noticeably lighter but still portrays a sense of uneasiness.

Menus: Not only are the menus simple and easy to use, there is a real classic RPG feel to them as well visually.  Great aesthetic that is just one more example of that excellent traditional RPG quality that makes this the complete package.

Dislikes

Dark Dungeons: Working completely against the great boon that is the highly detailed environments are the often unnecessarily overly dark dungeons that add a good sense of foreboding to the mood of the game, but this darkness is a little too extreme and ends up reducing this effect.

Dpad Responsiveness: The virtual dpad is not as responsive as one would like. Frequently I found myself tapping the arrows more than once to get my character to move. This gets to be a little grating but is only a minor setback.

No Ability to Grind Experience: Due to the incredibly linear nature of the game there are only a set number of enemies to fight at any given time in any area.  This eliminates the option for players like me that prefer to fight many extra rounds early in the game to help establish a level cushion to ease the rest of the game’s flow.  Although the developers considered this to be a good thing, this lack of ability to grind ends up forcing the player to struggle through the game more so than they may prefer.

Small annoyances aside, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is simply one of the highest quality traditional role-playing game experiences available on the app store.  It’s tough as nails, but the combat have you coming back for more.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor was developed by Crescent Moon Games, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPod touch 3G.  The price is $4.99.


First Impressions of ‘Rimelands: Hammer of Thor’

Rimelands takes place in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, in which the world produced so much pollution that it created a thousand year period of winter.  While many people failed to survive, some did through the use of “Steam Fountains”, fountains of energy and heat that moved the machinery and gave the people warmth.

Hammer of Thor is the first in the Rimelands series, and the first one seems to be based just after the thousand year cold spell, in a world that’s starting to recover.

You are casted as a treasure hunter who’s grandma is obsessed with collecting treasures, so your job is to go out there and find as many as possible, along with finding out about your past.

The game as a whole looks great, even though it is a bit pixelated on the iPhone 4.  The controls do need some time of getting used to, but they shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  Combat is based on a turn-based method, meaning you attack, then your enemy attacks.

Your damage is controlled through dice, which show two skulls, one skull, a shield, and an ‘X’.  The two skulls represent the most damage, while the ‘X’ means no damage.  You also have the choice to chose between three paths: a melee fighter, ranged, or magic.

Most of the quests in the beginning seem to be retrieving items from the dungeon(s), along with picking up odd quests from people in the village.  I haven’t gotten too far into the game yet, but from what I see, it looks to be promising.  The only thing that I don’t know is how much content it has, but it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

We’ll be having our review up soon, but for now, be sure to check out Rimelands: Hammer of Thor in the App Store for $4.99.