Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD is an epic fantasy 3D RPG developed by Galoobeth Games & Crescent Moon Games, the latter of whom have recently been in the spotlight for their new game ‘Gears’ which I reviewed some weeks ago. Brilliantly executed and a superb attention to detail would be the most simple phrase to describe the game.
It is quite a complex game for a mobile platform and has loads of features. In the beginning you must select and customize your character and its abilities. You know, Mage, Elf, the usual. Of course, a game like this needs skill trees and Aralon delivers, with different ones for each of the classes. Also, there are hundreds of items to use and wield during the game and upgrade as you advance through Aralon. Imagine a little Dragon Age Origins, potion making, pick pocketing, lock picking, campfires, selling the items you don’t need and so on.
This game has everything you would expect from a title in this genre, along with stunning 3D graphics (with retina support), a great musical score and a very decent storyline including 30 hours of gameplay (which is massive for an iOS device). The controls are basically a virtual joypad and several action buttons, and navigation around the 3D surroundings (camera control) is obtained by flicking your finger in the desired direction. Personally I found navigating through Aralon’s fantastic world to be a little too complex, traveling could be made a little easier, perhaps a better mapping system could do the trick.
There are extensive battles throughout the game with interesting creatures, each with different fighting techniques. If along the way you are finding the battles to be a bit too difficult, you can always hire some sidekicks for some temporary relief, but they wont re-spawn once they have been taken over. You also have the option of focusing just on the main story, or if you really want to get your 30 hours worth, there are loads of side quests to complete. There are up to six (cloud-based) slots for saving your progress which is a nice feature, especially with a game of this magnitude. Aralon is packed with everything you could possibly expect, but sadly there are no multiplayer gameplay options.
Aralon is hungry for resources, so don’t be surprised if you get the occasional little glitch or processor hiccups from your device. That being said, this is the second game I’ve played from Crescent Moon Games, and once again…zero crashes. They seem to have very strict quality control and good programming practices. The overall experience is very satisfying and the game is a universal app which sells for just under $10. Though it’s more suitable for an iPad, it is absolutely playable on the iPhone (3GS or better). Is it worth my $10??? In my opinion, yes, but always be alert for sales!
For my money, Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD is definitively the best game in this genre for iOS devices. If you are into epic fantasy RPG’s don’t hesitate. However, a word of warning to casual gamers looking for a quick fix to calm their gaming needs, this game requires fairly decent time commitment and is not intended for you, so take this in consideration when making your purchasing decision.