Mobile games and JRPGs share a common fact: innovation is key. Some games aim for eye-popping visuals, while others aim to provide fresh mechanics. Super Awesome RPG strives to bring a turn-based JRPG into the mobile space and pulls on a number of other popular mobile game structures.
At its heart, Super Awesome RPG is a JRPG-style game that tells the story of a ragtag group of heroes traveling the land and fighting off the forces of evil. But the big hook with this game is in the gameplay itself. Instead of navigating menus to find the right attack for any given moment, the player is presented with a board of tiles. Revealed tiles can be tapped to use on the next turn, and adjacent tiles of the same kind can sometimes be linked to increase the potency. Each board contains a special tile to reset the board to provide new tiles if all others are used up or do not fit the current scenario. Enemies can also manipulate the board by adding skulls that add additional damage or by setting the player’s tiles on fire. Those tiles must be extinguished before they can be used.
The tiles available to the player in each battle are determined entirely by the equipment that the player is wearing. One weapon may provide tiles with primarily single target attacks, while another may provide one or more area of attack options. Weighing what equipment to use and adjusting according to the enemies in any given mission is crucial for success, and that is one of the primary layers of strategy for the game as a whole.
Equipment crafting is available for players, but I found the menu for crafting to be clunky. It was not clear what crafting I had access to but could not complete, so it was difficult to plan or to know what goals to make. Any time I ran out of one kind of item for a recipe, that recipe then disappeared. The only exceptions were the recipes for high-level items. Those never went away. Additionally, all crafting for each character is available on a single screen with no filtering option. Even though recipes show the face of each character who can use the item, the crafting menu was difficult to navigate and read easily. The main equipment screen available from the map was the same way. I found it much easier to equip and compare items I had in my inventory on the battle preparation screen.
The story itself is still ongoing, and the current build of the game does not encompass the full story arc. However, developer Boom Zap Studios has been diligent about adding new maps on a regular basis to add more stages and further the overall story. From what has been released so far, the story stays close to some relatively cliche RPG tropes: skeletons and kobolds, a dragon hatching an evil plan, etc. But there are a few points where the writing becomes self-aware and the dialogue comes close to breaking the fourth wall. These moments made me grin as they provided some lighter fare during the rest of the average story.
PVP is available, but that also suffers from similar clunky menu issues similar to crafting’s issues. Additionally, there seem to be no benefits to PVP other than bragging rights. There are no rewards save a rank increase. However, PVP can be done with friends via Wi-Fi or same-device hotseat—the latter of which I do not often see in mobile games.
The presentation of Super Awesome RPG is generic. From the music and visuals to the overall aesthetic, Super Awesome RPG does little to make itself stand out in the sea of mobile RPGs. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the core gameplay is still intriguing. There is plenty of replayability—each battle can be fought about a dozen extra times with increasing difficulty for better rewards.
Super Awesome RPG may not exactly stand out in the mobile gaming arena, but it does present a few interesting twists on the mobile RPG to warrant a little bit of time. Do not expect Final Fantasy, but do expect a puzzle game in the vein of Panda Pop or Candy Crush with a JRPG veneer.
Super Awesome RPG is available now on both iOS and Android for $4.99.
Featured image credit: http://cdn.androidcommunity.com