Saturday 9 February 2013

Review of Everland:Unleash the Magic

I have never played an RPG or 3rd person adventure game on my Android smartphone. So don't know what would constitute the best Android RPG. This will be my very first coverage of such a thing. Enter the app Everland: Unleash the Magic. Just to clarify, this isn't a Japanese RPG game, it's more of an action adventure fantasy game like Devil May Cry but with a more chivalrous taste. You play the female protagonist who is a Witch and have up to 16 different spells to learn. Unlike most RPG's you already start out with 5 spells at your disposal

     The designers/developers definitely have the detailed castle, contraptions, 3D configurations down pat. Enemies are also lifelike. Their reactions when hit and killed ARE like what you would expect from Japanese role playing game's. Cutscenes aren't CGI. But it's an app! However, Everlands cut scenes aren't just still images with flowing text. It zooms in on the character talking and moving which makes it more personal. Players get to see the character designs up close and all the effort put into the 3D models doesn't go to waste. Text is displayed in an old English/Gothic typeface that scrolls across a parchment background. That way it is easier to read, focus on the mood and conversation at hand. Doorways still have their doors visible while opened, and this doesn't just clear the path but allows users to see where they've been.

    The music is well composed. I'm not sure how many songs it has, but the main menu actually has a soundtrack with singing. It isn't a simple track with a few melodies. It contains variations and instruments and what not that matches a world of magic, mythical creatures, and knights. Give the main menu a few seconds and let it get pass the pop intro.  When I listen to it I feel more adventurous and am reminded of elves. (I enjoy listening to it)
     Even the doors sound like doors when they open. Spells sound natural or believable if there is such a thing.

How to play:
     Everland is unofficially Xperia Play Optimized (probably because the developer plans to make the Android app work with the OUYA gamepad when it becomes available). The physical D-Pad controls movement up and down while panning the camera left and right. The four playstation buttons controls the four buttons on the bottom right of the touch screen. These buttons are used for (Square) regular melee attack, (Triangle )cycle through equipped spells, (Circle) to use the selected spell, and (X) for block and/or parry. The touchscreen controls are still available to use while the phone is opened and will light up when a corresponding button is pressed (on or off screen). A request specifically for the Xperia Play would be to have the right analog touchpad control the camera both horizontally and vertically. Maybe the left analog can be used for movement. This is device specific and may not be worth the effort if not easily accomplished because the Xperia Play community may be small. Oh and even the shoulder buttons are used. R and L are used for dodging, although I'm not sure how helpful dodging is. It may increase in usefulness at harder difficulties. TIP: You must beat the game on normal to unlock hard mode and so forth. Even with the controls, you must press "Use" on the screen to activate it. This is fine and maybe even a good thing as it gives the game more variety and is similar to a reaction/action/timing button from other games like God of War.

     A spell menu is available and contains spell descriptions. However the spell menu button looks like part of the minimap(it's located at the bottom left of the minimap). Although not necessary, maybe include a note and arrow displaying that the top right buttons access the in game menu (like it did for the stats page). A minor problem with the spell descriptions is that they run off the page of the background. The parts that run off are also a little harder to read, but you can guess from the context and see enough of the word to guess what they are. There are three offensive types of magic. Each enemy is immune to one type of element magic, resistant (receives low damage) from one other type, and receives more damage from another. So far I don't think there was an enemy that I encountered that was immune or resistant to all attributes of magic. (it could be in future difficulties or developments though). Enemy AI isn't bad and is actually a lot better than I assumed it would be. They know how to chase you and don't really get stuck behind obstacles.

Guide to Magic in Everland Divine Strength: doubles your attack power while temporarily in effect(chances of occurring increase with dexterity, although this isn't made clear in the game as it uses the phrase "critical hits" in the dexterity information)
Ancient Power:: Probably doubles the damage output of your spells while in effect. It also decreases casting time of your spells. Chances of this occurring are increased by increasing your "faith" stat, although this also isn't clearly stated in the game as it uses the term "blessed" to describe faith.

 Hints and tips: This may be noob on my part but I didn't notice that the higher level of healing (High Cure) and shield (Improved Shield) did not automatically replace my weaker versions of those spells(Heal and Minor Shield) until the final boss fight.This makes sense on the games part as those are different spells with different mana cost and damage, not upgrades.
-Always make sure you have a shield active while engaged in battle. (might be a common strategy)
-The maximum player level is 20. Not every players stats will be equal at level 20 except maxed out spell stats. Your final stats will depend on where you have assigned your stat points. I don't believe I reached a limit in any non spell category.
-Some spells only cast in the direction in front of you where an elevation is reached. That elevation may be a feet from you and cause the spell to not go further and miss your target.
-Other spells (including a villian's) only go straight forward, so if that bad guy casts it while a little above you, that attack will miss.

Typo's in Videogames (possibly fixed already)
     There are a few typos in the game. 
- One is when she says "How do I know isn't a trap". 
- Another is when a character says "Will see" but probably meant "We'll see".
- A third typo is when a character says "Returns to Darkness" unless that is the name of a spell. 

A few suggestions for the Developer.
      I tested and defeated the game on normal with a Samsung Galaxy S II because my Sony Ericsson crashed a lot towards the first boss and cutscene. System Requirements include 512 MB of RAM. My Play barely had that but it's also a little outdated and wasn't as top notch/polished as even the first Galaxy S phone. The developer gave me a tip that if your phone has near the minimum requirements, then rebooting your phone (turning on and off) and not using any other apps may help with clearing up RAM enough to play.
    Controlling the camera with the screen seems to be a bit tricky. Although it has a sensitivity setting, swipes or quick slides will do a 90 degree camera turn. You're character will still be running in the direction of the up, down, left or right that your left thumb is going. Camera issues are still minor and only tend to be bothersome during the earlier stages with tighter pathways and hallways.  Maybe the camera controls could also control the camera up and down, not just left or right(seems it would be more natural). Although the camera does a good job of getting behind the player once the player gets moving left or right, it doesn't do so when the player moves back(towards the screen) until the player stops moving. Retreating in this fashion is a big tricky in earlier stages in small rooms and hallways. Also using the camera to look down at the platform below for treasure chests doesn't really work because the camera can't go down enough to see the avatar's feet. This would be a useful feature in future expansions of the game.
      Although playable, Controls seem to be another problem with the game. It doesn't allow diagonal movements. Fixing this would probably improve it's rating score and playability among users.
Also possible use better screenshots. 
      The captures currently on display on Google Play do not show enough of the colors and variety that the hack and slash game offers. These taken by me for example do the app more justice. However if I had more time I would also take a few shots in later or more open environments.
The story could be longer, maybe twice as long. Although that would be a lot of work, it would allow for more character development (at least a side character and/or evil general).

There is an official website with a guide. The website is also well designed and detailed.

Trivia in Everlands:Unleash the Magic:
-Monsters will still hurt you if you are in the games "settings" menu and map screen. You are safe in the other menu's.
- My favorite enemy to fight was an helmetless armored soldier. Soldiers with armor have a higher defense towards melee damage and take more damage from spells. However, this guy seem to take in more damage than usual from the quick fire spell, Holy Strike.
-If you currently have a magical shield activated on you while you go through a gate to another stage, the shield will still be active on you when you enter that next stage/map/level.
-The Gates of Hell map seems to be a little bit off from the actual stage. This is more noticeable in the smaller pathways.
-In closed tight spaces, if a wall is right behind you, the camera may try to get in the same spot. This prohibits the player from seeing the enemy's health. This isn't really a problem though as you should generally be aware of their health points already.

 The smartphone app was almost all developed by 1 PERSON! This is quite impressive and amazing with all those textures, realistic lifelike movements, visual effects, and sound effects. I'm surprised how talented this person can be. The official Developer on Google Play is known as Codestalkers.

Everland shows a lot of potential and is more than just a mediocre game.

Download the app and get on with your journey. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. My son just started learning this game and got hooked right away.


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