Aralon: Sword and Shadow Preview

Aralon: Sword and Shadow is an upcoming role-playing game from developer Galoobeth Games that’s going to hit the App Store this fall for the iPhone and iPad. It’s a 3D RPG that on the surface looks similar to Ravensword: The Fallen King, so it makes sense that they’ve enlisted Crescent Moon, the developer of Ravensword, to work on the art, optimize a few gameplay aspects, and publish the game. Aralon has been in the works for a year and a half now, a development cycle more on par with games found on consoles than on the iPhone. Why is it taking so long? Because Aralon is huge.

The kingdom of Aralon, bordered by the orc-infested Outlands, makes up the fantasy world you’ll explore in the game. It’s a land where humans, elves, and trolls live in a tenuous peace, while ferocious furry gnolls, green-skinned grawls, and other beastly creatures are always looking to feast on an unlucky person’s flesh. The game world is said to be an incredible 10 times as large as Ravensword’s, and it’s populated with flora, fauna, caves, waterways, palaces, and cities. Considering all the content, it’s not surprising that the game contains an estimated 30 hours of gameplay, with a long main storyline and a plentiful helping of sidequests.

You play as a main character whose race, class, and appearance you get to choose and customize. You can be a troll, elf, or human, and choose between warrior, mage, rogue, or ranger as your class. Each class is suitably different from the others, with the unique attributes and abilities you’d expect. But the customization doesn’t stop there. Currently there are 529 different items in the game, including tons of armor, weapons, and potions. You can also choose to align yourself with a faction, or guild, which unlocks new sidequests. If you’d rather go exploring, you can learn things like how to mix potions, gather herbs, pick locks, and wield two weapons simultaneously.

The combat in Aralon takes place in real time, so you’ll be hacking and slashing at enemies as they return the favor. A toolbar at the bottom of the screen contains buttons for the skills you’ve learned, and if your character can use magic, you’ll be able to throw some pyrotechnic assaults at your enemies. If the bad guys are giving you problems, you can even drop into a nearby tavern to hire a henchman who will help you in battle.

The images the developer shared with us are mostly of armor and clothing that will appear in the game. Click on the thumbnails to the right to see the full-sized assets. Most of the game’s artwork is being created by Mark Jones, who worked on the Elder Scrolls series, including Morrowind and Oblivion.

With so much content and so many customization options, it doesn’t sound like you’ll lack things to do in Aralon: Sword and Shadow. But with such a big game world and so many hours of quests and exploration, we’re hoping they manage to keep the game fresh and interesting from start to finish. In any case, this looks like one of the most promising and ambitious titles on our radar. We won’t know for sure if it will live up to our hopes until we get our hands on the game, but we’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

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