A wonderful thing is happening right now in mobile gaming. For years, the Korean cellphone gaming marketplace was far more advanced than the American market. In Korea, gamers were having in-depth RPG and adventure experiences on their cellphones while the rest of us were getting by with just Tetris and Snake. Now that the iPhone has taken hold, Korean developers like Com2Us can easily port over their insanely detailed and addictive games to the US App Store, resulting in gems like Caligo Chaser.
Of course, it’s the ‘easy port’ part that gives us pause. Caligo Chaser feels very much like a traditional mobile game that was meant to be played with a keypad, rather than a game optimized for the iPhone’s touchscreen. Like in the first Zenonia, menus must be navigated with a D-pad and buttons, instead of a more intuitive touch or drag mechanic. Plus, your character’s movement can be stiff and stubborn with a tiny D-pad in the corner. We’d have preferred a more responsive virtual analog stick.
Slash and Dash: The lesser-known method to avoid paying a restaurant bill.
Responsive controls are critical in this game, since your character, a newly-trained Private Knight, is tasked with clearing out every single one of the lands surrounding a fantasy village called Emporion. Throughout the game he’ll receive quests from locals, which tend to involve collecting special loot from monsters, killing certain monsters, or just clearing a path through the environments.
Each area is made up of four or five screens, filled with bad guys, with no other environmental hazards to get in the way. Once you’ve mashed your attack button and unleashed enough magic spells to clear the screen, then picked up any dropped loot, it’s on to the next area.
The enemy designs are usually interesting, like the swarms of blue mongooses that greet you early on, or the lumbering Treants and immovable golems you’ll fight later in the game. However, all of the enemies are repeated throughout, with different color swaps and higher levels of attack and defense.
You have their full attention.
While we liked the constant action in Caligo Chaser, what really drew us in were the RPG elements. Every kill adds to your experience points, and higher levels let you equip stronger items. You can also enchant your items and special abilities, making them more powerful.
One surprising oversight is that you can’t directly compare an item you’ve equipped with an item in your inventory, which we thought came factory-standard in RPGs these days. Caligo Chaser nails the RPG elements in every way except for this one.
Like Hybrid, a similar game from a rival company, this is an in-depth action game with extensive RPG elements. If you’re at all into number-crunching stats and button-mashing combos, this game is an excellent value at a low price. You can easily squeeze over ten hours of gameplay out of Caligo Chaser, but some of those hours may begin to feel repetitive and you’ll wish for a more iPhone-friendly port. Still, we recommend a buy for this game, especially if you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss about Korean cellphone games has been about.