It is rare on the App Store that we find a worthwhile, extensive role-playing game that keeps us almost too addicted to write a review for it. Zenonia and The Quest come to mind here, and rightfully so, because they both are among the best RPGs currently available on the iPhone. But while Zenonia appealed to a wide audience, Undercroft faces the same issues as The Quest in its limited appeal, for several reasons.
Something else that is rare is the presence of a party system in game, which adds a great deal of depth and strategy. In Undercroft, you can choose up to four characters, complete with a portrait and customized name, and each can be part of a class, from warrior and mage to the less common assassin and summoner.
The most enjoyable part of this is the strategy behind balancing your party in order to make them versatile and flexible in all situations. The only drawback we noticed was that even though you have a party, there is almost no role-playing between them or with NPCs (which would admittedly be very advanced), so you are left to invent their back stories on your own, and play out the conversations in your head (but only if you’re hardcore).
Bone wraith is an enemy, not a command.
Something that really brings out the best in your party is the skills system. Each character gains experience, levels up, and gains skill points. These can be spent on increasing their abilities (like Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution) or on skills, which are class-dependent. They can include anything from the assassin pulling a Legolas and shooting more than one arrow, to the summoner raising skeletons to aid in a fight.
The inventory system is also tied into this, and it is complete with specialty weapons and gear, many with prerequisites and elemental alignments. Also, to get you in the medieval spirit, bread and cheese are used extremely frequently, imitating the diet of the day.
As we first stated in our preview, Undercroft is very addicting. Well, we’ve fully confirmed that now, and it is something that you should most definitely be wary of if you are an RPG fan. The amount of adventuring and item management you can fit into an hour is great, so imagining what you can do with two is an invitation to the loss of an afternoon. The game does not help you put it down either because it is very extensive, especially if you entertain all of the side-quests that come your way.
Undercroft is rather like The Quest in its turn-based combat, tile-based movement, and rudimentary graphics. Undercroft’s world is divided up into squares of movement, and full of maze-like environments, which can be a hassle to navigate with the tightly arranged movement buttons. Luckily, you also have a great mini-map that we used frequently, and we found that though the combat moves slowly, it gives you time to think and fight well.
Undercroft is a game that we very highly recommend to any fan of RPGs. The graphics and blocky movement are something that RPG fans can easily ignore in favor of the party system and huge number of quests and puzzles, but the drawbacks are not as easy for RPG newcomers to ignore. There are just a few too many shortcomings to give Undercroft our highest rating, but it’s still a solid 3 for us.