Tag Archives: Galoobeth Games

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.


Aralon: Interview with Creators Sam and Jason

Today, I caught up with Sam and Jason to talk about their upcoming Oblivion-like RPG Aralon, a game that takes place in an open world environment with 3D graphics and breathtaking views.  While the game still has a long ways to go before releasing, it’s one game that looks promising.

NoDPad: What prompted you to create an RPG on the iPhone?

Jason: While there are literally thousands of casual style games on the AppStore, we really felt the absence of large scale games with immersive game play. We have always big huge fans of the RPG genre and it felt like there was an opportunity to create a quality, in-depth RPG experience on the iDevice.

Sam: We have both always loved playing RPG’s. Personally, I have played so many I don’t think I could remember even half of them. We wanted to try to create an RPG experience that was much more portable and compact. We wanted anyone riding the subway, bored at a Dr Appointment or with just a short amount of time to be able to fire up a game and have some good old RPG fun. We didn’t want to make the 80th version of Sudoku 😛

NDP: Which games have inspired the creation of Aralon?

Jason: The core inspiration for Aralon came from the Elder Scrolls RPG’s: Morrowind and Oblivion. Some of the game mechanics also draw a lot from World of Warcraft and Dragon Age.

Sam: Jason definitely listed some of the main ones, but we I am sure there is inspiration from so many more games that we subconsciously worked into the game. When you grow up playing and loving these types of games elements from so many games work their way into everything you create.

NDP: What are your thoughts on the demographics of the App Store?

Jason: It seems more and more people are turning to their iDevice as their primary gaming machine. Clearly the App Store is a haven for the casual gamer, but there’s plenty of room for an in-depth gaming experiences too.

Sam: I love the App store and think it is a fantastic idea that every portable device should have. However, I do wish the store was a little easier to search, and perhaps the organization could be a little more user friendly, but I am certain Apple is working on making the store’s interface a little cleaner and easier to use. Sometimes the really good apps get buried by a mount of derivative stuff, and that is definitely regrettable. But word of mouth is a powerful force and I am certain that most of the titles that have a solid foundation eventually get the recognition they deserve.

NDP: What hurdles have you gone through to develop Aralon?

Jason: A well-crafted RPG takes a lot of time to create. We chose to build on the Unity3D engine for creating the game and that has been a great tool for us throughout development. Some of the biggest challenges have been creating the different classes, abilities, and game mechanics and making them balanced but also unique. And of course the process of creating a vast, interactive world with literally hundreds of Npc’s and interesting locations.

Sam: Jason has addressed the technical aspects of creating Aralon. I want to talk a little more on a personal level. We are just two regular guys with ‘real’ jobs and families. We both have wives and kids and have to make sure we get done what we need to do to so that we can support and provide for our families. It has always been our dream to make games, and hopefully this is a stepping stone towards that goal. For now, we are juggling work, school and life on top of trying to create an amazing iDevice gaming experience. Let’s hope we pull it off.

NDP: Why have you chosen Crescent Moon Games to publish your game?

Jason: We wanted Aralon to really shine in every way possible as an iPhone/iPad game. By partnering with Crescent Moon Games, we felt we had the chance to really take the game to the next level of artistic quality and game play polish. They have a lot of experience with the AppStore market and they have been great to work with on improving the visuals of Aralon and making it the best game it can be.

Sam: We both talked to the guys from Crescent Moon games and we really clicked with them. They are super cool guys who just want to have fun and make great games, for us that is enough. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are an incredibly talented team with the ability to create drop dead gorgeous art.

NDP: Do you feel there is a lot of competition for Aralon?

Jason: There is always competition for the attention of gamers, but we feel that Aralon will offer an RPG experience that hasn’t existed on the AppStore before. We have packed so many features into this game: vast outdoor areas and dungeons to explore, character customization, questing, swimming, climbing, horse-riding, crafting, etc. And it all takes place in a handcrafted, open 3D world. There really is no other game quite like it on the iDevice.

Sam: I am a big Milton Friedman fan (nerd alert) and I truly believe that competition makes one better. A lack of competition leads to a lack of innovation and complacency. Hopefully everyone is smart enough to realize that more great products simply expand the gaming landscape for everyone. And it’s the same for Jason and me, more great games just leads to more gamers.

NDP: When do you plan on releasing the game?

Jason and Sam: Right now we are estimating sometime in September.

NDP: Any closing thoughts?

Jason: We just sincerely hope that people enjoy playing Aralon as much as we have enjoyed creating it. We hope to be making games like this for a long time to come 🙂

Sam: Play Aralon, we are pretty certain you will love it because it was created with love. We didn’t set out to create a franchise or a cash cow. When we started this whole thing in my TV room we just wanted to have fun and maybe create a game that 100 or 1000 people would play. We wanted to create something we could call our own, and be proud of it. Over a year later, Aralon is a little bigger than we had planned but our goal is still the same. Make a fun game people will love to play.

Many thanks to Sam and Jason for the interview!  Be sure to check out Aralon on the App Store some time in September!