Price: $7.99    Score: 7/10    Category: Games

Across Age HD is a fantasy action RPG game that allows you to team together two heroes in an attempt to save the world. Created by FDG Entertainment, this title was hotly anticipated and delivers an incredibly detailed experience.

The iPad update is crisp and clear, the game reports 15 hours of gameplay, and this version of Across Age features a previously unseen bonus dungeon and boss fight. As someone who hasn’t played previous versions of this title (or even many RPGs at all), unfortunately I can’t compare Across Age to its predecessors. I have tried to be as judicious as possible though, and hope to deliver an accurate review of the title.

The general premise of Across Age is about a hero and heroin who must defeat enemies and solve puzzles as they attempt to save the people from an evil count who has been ravaging people and causing towns to vanish.

Rather than send you racing from one level to the next (like most games these days do) Across Age is takes its time with the build up. You have to figure out how to unlock hatches or pass levels through exploration, and this discovery is part of the game’s appeal. Newcomers might take awhile to get used to liking this style of play, but it gets better with practice.

Overall, the top down graphical style of Across Age is bright and colorful. You get to switch off between between the sword wielding Ales and the sorcerer Ceska. This is fun because each character has its own strengths and its nice to have a sidekick (with the option to go solo when necessary). Together you earn perks through killing (e.g. apples for health) and skill upgrades throughout the game.

The game is set up with a standard analog stick with the ability to use each character’s weapon of choice via a button on the right hand side. The right side also includes buttons for switching characters and picking up and throwing objects etc. This setup takes a bit of time to get used to, but even after you can reach for buttons instinctively it’s a bit difficult to get Ales and Ceska to do your bidding.

In fact, the Across Age HD’s controls are one of the game’s most significant shortcomings. The collision engine is poor, walking around (especially when you have to cross bridges) feels clumsy, and the actual act of fighting is fairly unreliable.

At first these issues are minor, but as the game progresses these elements become more imperative and therefore more challenging for the game as a whole. If you’re willing to push through the control issues though, the overall story of this game is great.

My favorite element of all is the dialogue. When the game breaks talking characters are revealed in incredible anime detail against a scrollable box that reveals what each character says. Best of each character is revealed to have its own strong, sassy personality. A lot of the exchanges hint at mature audiences only material, but it’s often clever and always a little surprising.

All in all, the game is somewhat problematic because of the controls but pretty entertaining. RPG fans will probably love it a lot more than those inexperienced with the medium, but it’s an incredibly detailed game with a lot of immersive elements.

Bottom Line: Across Age HD is an intense 16 bit RPG game with saucy sarcasm and typical discover-the-land gameplay. The controls are clumsy but the story is clever and the game only gets better with time.

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