New App A Day: Across Age DX

For gamers of a certain bent, there’s little we love more than an old-school RPG, especially one with real-time fighting and intricate puzzle solving, a la Zelda or Secret of Mana. Enter Across Age, an iPhone action RPG with all of those goodies, and time traveling to boot.

But if you search for Across Age on the App Store, you’ll find, literally, five different versions of the game: standard, DX, EX, HD, and Lite. That’s a confusing alphabetical soup for anyone, so let’s get to the bottom of that first.

The standard version of the game is the original one that hit the App Store back in February. It costs $4.99 and works just fine on all iOS devices. HD is the iPad version, with high-res graphics and a $7.99 price tag. Both the EX and Lite versions let you play the first chapter of the standard version of the game for free, but EX allows you to keep your progress if you decide to splurge on the full game once you come to the end. Why the inferior Lite version is still available, we’re not sure.

Which leaves us with the newest version, Across Age DX. DX is only compatible with fourth generation devices, but it’s the best iPhone version yet. The graphics have been redone for the Retina display, and they’re downright gorgeous. They still maintain the colorful charm and cartoony style of the original, but everything has been sharpened and intricately shaded, with all jaggies smoothed out. It looks phenomenal.

Another difference is the tweaked fighting system. The original game didn’t have an attack button– you just walked toward enemies, and Ales, the hero, automatically swung his sword until one of you was defeated. An update addressed complaints about that system, allowing you to swing your sword at the press of a button, but maintained the bump-and-swing mechanic. In DX, bump-and-swing is gone, leaving the attack button as your only means to do damage, and it works great. A new, better attack animation has been implemented as well.

On top of this, they’ve added a new dungeon and boss to the game, as well as a helpful mini-map and a new (and unnecessary) button to switch which character you’re controlling. And maybe it’s our imagination, but the D-pad seems even more responsive now as well. We should also note that all of these tweaks and additions are available in the HD version of the game, so if you have an iPad and want to play the game on the big screen, that version is DX’s equal.

But if you have a fourth-generation iPhone or iPod Touch, Across Age DX is definitely the version of the game to get. It looks absolutely fantastic, plays great, and will keep you slashing and puzzling in beautiful retro glory for hours on end. Click here for the full review of the original game.