Whether you simply want to take your games on the road and have something to do while riding to cross-town bus to your day-slave job, or youre so enmeshed that you want gaming entertainment while youre lounging in bed or attending to natures call, mobile game developers are increasingly stepping up the quality and entertainment value of their offerings. We decided to look at three well-crafted titles for the Apple and Android markets, starting with a fun and addictive little app and moving up the scale to a fully-realized 3D MMORPG.
Lets start with the simplest and least device-demanding app first.
Platforms: Apple, Android
I found out about Battleheart when I realized that my teenage son was playing it on his Android phone every time I turned around. Im not certain hes full-on addicted, but hes definitely been having fun with it, and thats because Battleheart is a clever little RPG with RTS elements capable of providing cumulative hours of amusement when digested in short bursts.
Battleheart gives you a party of classic characters designed to go out and fight bad guys. You build your party by choosing 4 party members from 8 classes. The Knight and Monk are tanks, the Wizard and Witch are casters, the Rogue and Barbarian focus on melee DPS, the Bard is a support class with light healing abilities, and the Cleric is, of course, the healer. Youll be managing your entire party at once by swiping lines with your finger to tell them which enemies to attack (and how), and in some cases which allies to assist. The combat can become pretty fast paced, which contributes to the fun factor.
Despite cutesy 2D graphics and a simplistic system stripped down for mobile gaming, youll find that Battleheart has at least some depthyour characters will acquire money with which to buy stat-boosting items, and theyll level up their skills. In fact, if theres one downside to the game, it would be that earning money to buy gear can become a bit of a grind. Its nonetheless worth a download if you like good, clean, tactical fun.
Platforms: Apple, Android
Cost: Free w/ in-app purchases
Where Battleheart is simple, if sometimes a little frantic, Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave provides a robust yet classic take on the fantasy RPG from a tower defense perspective. It essentially brings Dungeon Defenders, which is available for PC and console, to a mobile platform. Recent updates increased the level cap to 80, added a new campaign, and expanded to include a PvP mode called...wait for it..."Arena. The game boasts stylized, Unreal Engine-powered graphics and content galoreits unlikely that the casual mobile gamer will run out of new things to experience any time soon.
All the elements youve come to expect from an RPG are present and accounted for in Dungeon Defenders: Second Wavelevels, loot, stats, and character-developing abilities. The cast of characters will be familiar to any gamer--youve got four heroes from which to choose: Fighter, Mage, Archer and Monk. Your hero begins his or her adventure from that classic RPG starting point, the tavern, where you can buy the goods youll need for venturing forth into the dungeons and defending Eternia crystals from hordes of invading baddies. (If youre really serious, you can buy upgrades for real world cash.) Youll be tasked with strategically placing defenses and traps throughout your dungeon maps, as well as engaging in RPG-styled combat. You can choose to play solo or co-op with up to three others in online play, or do some ass kicking (or, if youre unlucky, get your ass handed to you) in PvP.
Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave runs flawlessly on my Kindle Fire, but make sure your own device has the processor heft to handle these graphics. Some Android phone users complain that the game causes their device to heat up to an uncomfortable (and possibly alarming) degree.
Order & Chaos
Platforms: Apple, Android
Cost: $6.99 w/ in-app purchases
Unlike the previous two games weve discussed here, Order & Chaos is a full-on 3D MMORPG, complete with a subscription. Youll start off with 3 months to play free of charge, but if you find yourself hooked youll have to pony up a modest $0.99/month, $1.99 for 3 months or $2.99 for 6 months. Youll also need a WiFi connection and a Gameloft LIVE! Account to play.
Lets get this out of the way firstOrder & Chaos is, more or less, a World of Warcraft clone made mobile, and everything from the art style to the mechanics will make you think, Hmm, this looks familiar. Like all of the RPGs Im covering here, this one leads us into well-loved territory. You pick a sideOrder or Chaos (although, dont consider them factions; this is more of a story element than a game mechanic.) You pick a raceElf, Human, Orc or Undead. You pick a class from the standard RPG roundup (Warrior, Monk, Ranger, Mage). Once you bring your character into the world, off you go to pursue quests.
Although the WoWishness of Order & Chaos can make it seem like nothing new, remember that this is a game you can download to your mobile device and carry with you when youre dealing with a grueling airport layover or an equally grueling weekend at your in-laws. For what it is, Order & Chaos delivers surprising depth with things like PvP, an auction house, guilds, and even crafting. You can also make in-app purchases of things like gold and runes, but gold is easy enough to earn that you shouldn't need the extra boost to be successful.
Because Order & Chaos is surprisingly feature-packed, youre going to need a fairly beefy device to play it. While it doesnt necessarily require a tablet, older phones and similar devices simply wont have the chops, so surrender now if you have something like an iPhone 3G or an 8 GB iPod Touch.
The world of mobile gaming is rapidly expanding as the quality of handheld devices improves. Weve only begun to scratch the surface here by showing you three mobile fantasy RPGs on varying levels of sophistication. Have mobile games caught your attention yet? Would you like to see more mobile game coverage from Ten Ton Hammer in the future? Drop a comment and let us know!