The story of an empire/city/town in danger from evil outside forces which can only be saved by you, a novice/commoner/loner who improves drastically through quests and saves the kingdom, is not uncommon. How the quests are structured and the way the gameplay functions is a different story in itself, though, and that is what usually makes or breaks role-playing games with typical plots. Iris Story offers a basic plot and gameplay which isn’t exactly diverse, making it another disappointing RPG.
Upon entering the game, you are asked to choose a name, though you are not told that you will be playing a scantily clad female witch throughout the game. There’s nothing wrong with this choice. In fact, we appreciate the female protagonist, but some gamers’ names are definitely going to seem out of place.
As this witch novice, your task, given by a doubtful duke, is to capture and balance the elements to stop evil towers from destroying the land. For some reason you are entrusted with this task before you know any spells (or have clothing), and so you set out to do this without any tutorial guiding you. In fact, the only tutorial ever offered is in the help section of the main menu, and it is restricted to a single picture of gameplay with pointers drawn in.
This is no quidditch.
After exploring the five available places in town, you can set out on your mission. This brings you to the main portion of gameplay: capturing the elements armed only with your broomstick and spells.
Your character appears in the middle of the screen as the elements fly haphazardly around her in the form of different colored balls. A meter at the bottom of the screen and a command at the top tells you which color/element you should capture next, with every other type causing the poor witch harm.
You control the character by dragging your finger around the screen, which the witch responds to slowly, requiring patience and occasionally those ever-elusive transparent fingers. The accelerometer cries out to be used to help your novice fly, but it is sadly neglected.
Back in my day, the force was built to last! Not like these cheap forces you see today.
Each level offers a brief dialogue between your character and the leader of the area you’re rescuing. There are a few stages in each level, and completing all of them brings you back to that leader and another slightly humorous conversation. Then all you can do is head back to town and spend your rewards.
The town has the familiar stylings of a typical RPG, with a store offering a few types of items to boost your stats, and the spell store offering some spells for use in the game. Unfortunately, in order to earn the money, spell points, and experience to hold your own in the later levels, you have to play the same levels over and over again.
This is where the game starts to feel very limited, because if the gameplay is going to stay essentially the same (which it does), it would be simple to just add a few more lines of dialogue and some new stages. Of course, that’s also where the leaderboards come in. Since you’re playing the same levels over and over, you can keep trying to beat your friends or other players.
Of course, you can only post to the leaderboard if the game makes it that far, marred as it is by frequent crashes. This is easily fixable, as are the uninspired, forced replays of levels you’ve already beaten. Until they are, however, this remains a rather typical RPG with some unrealized potential.