When Com2us put out the first Inotia RPG back in March, we praised it for its beautiful style but criticized its lack of substance. The sequel attempts to compensate on both fronts by beefing up the content as well as sprucing up its already impressive visuals. Luckily for us would-be adventurers, the result is largely a success.
Similar to classic fantasy stories like the Narnia series, as the Inotia series continues, it is putting more emphasis on the land itself than on any one particular story. This tale sees the player wandering into the town of Luone and attempting to save the realm from an evil they themselves helped to unleash. To do so, you’ll explore the sizable Inotia landscape, and enlist the help of the various villagers you come across.
One of the first things players will notice is, not only is Inotia large, but it is also a pleasure to look at. The first Inotia was already a good-looking game but the caves, forests, and houses of the sequel are crisper, cleaner, and more detailed. The art style is still high fantasy with some anime undercurrents, but the portraits of characters as well as the sprites have a more mature look. The music is also suitably epic, and the game retains the cheesy opening voiceover explaining the current plight of the land.
I knew I should’ve equipped my dragonslayer sword…
Speaking of characters, another appreciated difference from Inotia 1 is that you are no longer bound to one character. In the beginning you choose your hero from one of five classes like knight or thief, but you can hire up to two more mercenaries from nearby inns. You can’t choose their stats or class, but you’ll appreciate all the help you can get, as the game is quite difficult. As they level up, party members learn exclusive spells and gain access to a variety of items and weapons.
Unfortunately, after crafting your party, you’ll find that fighting monsters with them is only slightly more bearable than it was the first time around. The touch controls are smoother but targeting the right monster can still be a pain. Plus, now you have to worry about switching between multiple characters. The battle system is also still automated, so outside of activating spells at the right time, your success is based on how much time you have put into slaying low-level wolves.
And while we appreciate the length of Inotia 2, much of it is padded with fetch quests. For example, a lengthy stretch of your quest has you gathering the pieces of a mystical hammer. Along the way you’ll encounter a fish-headed wizard willing to grant you safe passage in exchange for some ingredients. To get the ingredients you’ll have to find a way out of the elf forest, which seems stuck in perpetual autumn. Here you will encounter a traveler looking for crystals dropped by some fairies. After much killing and fetching, you’ll finally be able to go back to fulfill some of the requests you received hours before. This happens throughout the game.
Be the life of the party.
The sights may be gorgeous to look at, but the reasons for being there are less than satisfying. The overarching plot of you struggling against some evil presence to save the kingdom is nothing we haven’t seen before, but it wouldn’t have been so bad if the plot contained some interesting twists along the way. Unfortunately, this is a flaw from Inotia 1 that Inotia 2 has failed to rectify.
If the single-player starts to drag, you can choose to partake in the online multiplayer mode. You can have your party compete in arena battles against the ghosts of other players for the title of Inotian champion. It’s a quirky diversion that’s actually a lot of fun, because fighting against human players involves more strategy than their computer counterparts.
The reason we’ve been harsh on the game is because of its potential. It strives to outdo the likes of Zenonia, but only partially succeeds. If you missed out on or were hesitant to check out Inotia 1, definitely skip right to the sequel. If you adored the first game and somehow managed to overlook all of its faults, then you’ll be blown away by its deeper, prettier successor. And if all you want is a pretty good fantasy RPG for your iPhone, we still suggest giving Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone a try.