Elven Chronicles, by Big Blue Bubble Inc., is exactly what one thinks a game called Elven Chronicles would be like. In this high fantasy RPG, darkness threatens the realm and two adventurers must rise up and travel across several magical lands in order to vanquish it. For an iPhone RPG it’s perfectly functional and even pretty fun, but it’s also somewhat forgettable.
Compared to most game genres, creating an RPG can be a difficult task. So in that regard, the lengthy Elven Chronicles is impressively executed. Plus, it does not feature the worst RPG trend of yesteryear: random encounters. Instead, enemies appear in the overworld as tornadoes with their different colors reflecting their strength level. However, although most of the necessary elements are there, they feel almost like placeholders designed to show the general purpose of the element until something more creative could be implemented.
Your party consists of a male human knight named Rogan, who is a skilled physical fighter, and a female elf named Jada, who has fewer hit points but higher magic stats. They each have backstories: Rogan is an amnesiac soldier learning more about his past from the knowledgeable Jada as they quest and level up, but the plot is not the focus. Only towards the end, after more villages are saved and Rogan recovers his memories more rapidly does the narrative being to assert itself.
Honey, I think we made a wrong turn.
Most of the game is spent fighting monsters like gray normal golems at level 1, blue ice golems at level 7, and red fire golems at level 18 before slaying a boss, such as a dragon. A portal in the hub village will then open to take you into the next world in need of your assistance. While in the village, you can stock up on new weapons and healing items.
Beating a boss will often get the local blacksmith to forge you a weapon made out of the beast’s own body and endowed with its elemental energy. Villagers have plenty of side quests to send you on, but the majority of them boil down to ‘kill three monsters that correspond with this element to get three items that correspond with said element.’ At least these missions force you to explore all the parts of the large world maps.
The various worlds of Elven Chronicles are brought to life through colorful and pleasant 16-bit style fantasy graphics and music. It’s like a Final Fantasy 6 or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but without a lot of the soul. The sprite art and handful of MIDI tracks are well done but also safe, uninspired, and a little dull.
Because Elven Chronicles is a port of a mobile game, the screen is taller than it is wide. Putting in a widescreen option would have been preferable and could have given them space to put a virtual D-pad. While the touch controls do work, they become annoying when dragging your character back and forth through empty, open fields.
The ubiquitous tornado monsters.
However, the touch controls work fine in the turn-based battles. Your options in battle are attack, magic, item, and flee. Battles here are nothing we haven’t seen before, and some grinding is necessary, but the formula is still fun and works fine.
Monsters tend to be strong against one element and weak against another, almost like in Pokemon. In fact, some monsters will gain health back if hit by their element, like when a water elemental is hit by an ice blast. Your wide arsenal of spells also include the ability to blind enemies to reduce their accuracy, or drain their health to add to your own. It’s the solid combat of Elven Chronicles that keeps it from becoming too boring.
People addicted to RPGs should look at Elven Chronicles as a cheap, fully-featured game that is good enough to give them their fix while using their phone/music device. Basically, it’s for people who need an RPG on every single electronic device they own that is even remotely capable of playing videogames. If you are not one of those people, then Elven Chronicles may not interest you for too long.