Have you ever had to run chores for your grandmother? Pick up prescriptions at the drug store, clean under the dresser where it’s hard to reach, find the Hammer of Thor and use it to prevent war between the fairies and surface-folk. You know, typical old-lady stuff.
That last task is actually a job for Rose Cristo, a fiery-headed adventurer whose grandmother sends her on quests to recover lost artifacts from ancient fallout shelters. In the world of Rimelands, these shelters were used by humanity when they had polluted the Earth too much during the Industrial Revolution, and when they finally came out of them, Earth was inhabited by magical “Fair Folk” as well.
We’ve got a hench.
This unique setting gives Rimelands an excuse to combine steampunk technology, like Mecha-monocles that improve your musket aim, with enchanted gear like spell-casting scepters. Your character, Rose, can specialize in either melee, ranged, or magical combat, and it’s all handled with interesting dice-rolling combat.
Movement in the game basically occurs in real-time, until you encounter an enemy, at which point it switches to turn-based combat. You’ll roll special dice for attack and defense, and depending on how many skulls or shields you turn up, you’ll cause or receive more damage. Your enemies also roll automatically.
You can push these dice-rolling encounters in your favor with gear and abilities that give you more dice, extra re-rolls, and other fun perks. One of our assassin specialties let us aim our ranged weapons, which turned all shields (useless during attacks) into double-skulls. Later, we were able to upgrade aim again to cause bonus damage. Special moves like aiming cost mana, which can be recharged with potions or other passive abilities.
Wait, how come we didn’t get the level 6 weapon that causes 500 damage?
Whatever type of combat you specialize in, Rimelands will be varied and fun. The storyline is extremely linear, so you can’t go exploring the world on your own, but each dungeon has a few multiple routes containing extra treasure. Just be careful not to miss the exits: The dungeons don’t contain maps, and it can be hard to spot the elevator exits that blend into the scenery.
The combat and upgrade system in Rimelands surpasses the excellent story, which gives us great hope for a sequel that lasts even longer and takes us further. Developers Dice Works and Crescent Moon Games have built a very fun game engine that has a great deal of potential, and we’re hoping this is just the first installment of a series that could help define turn-based RPGs on the iPhone.