The iPhone as a gaming platform is a perfect match for small, bite-sized games that only take a moment or two of the player’s time. As such, we don’t tend to see a lot of robust, lengthy adventure games.
This makes sense as the platform has become synonymous with “casual gaming”. But every now and again, an nice little adventure game will poke through, giving iPhone gamers more of a meaty experience.
Such is the case with the latest title from Gamevil. Destinia plays like one of the many action/adventure games on the Sony Playstation Portable, such as the Ys series, or Legend of Heroes. Or, perhaps a more apt comparison would be the breakthrough iOS hit Zenonia. The game contains fast-paced action, a deep inventory and level-up scheme, and more than enough story to go around. Destinia isn’t a perfect game, by any means, but does plenty to scratch the itch of gamers looking for a more substantial quest on their iPhones.
As Destinia begins, players take the role of a rebel soldier who’s just been betrayed by his hero and mentor and locked in a dungeon. Upon his escape, he takes up with a small clan of fighters whose motivations aren’t immediately clear. Despite the fact that he doesn’t fully trust his new allies, the hero decides to help them out and with that, the adventure begins.
The plot won’t wow seasoned role-players, and in fact, the clumsy dialog and by-the-numbers story often get in the way of the game itself. Too often, players will be tempted to tap the “Skip” button to skip over the drawn-out bits of story. But to its credit, at least Destinia gives the option to bypass the dialog.
Destinia, as mentioned, is a fast-paced action-RPG that players will feel at home with if they’re familiar with games like Ys. All battles take place in real-time, rather than through turn-based menus, and players can choose to bash it out as a Warrior, attack from a distance as Gunner, or speed through levels as a Thief. Along the way, you’ll level-up by gaining experience points, upgrade equipment, and even collect monsters to bring along and aid you on your quests.
Speaking of quests, though there is one main story threading the entire game together, you’re also able to choose side-quests throughout the game. These quests can be as simple as collecting certain items or elements for townsfolk, or defeating the monsters terrorizing the countryside. These side-quests are, of course, optional, but they’re helpful in gaining experience and loot.
The game Zenonia was mentioned earlier, and it shares more than a similar sounding name with this game. If you’re familiar with that popular franchise, Destinia looks almost like a spinoff. The colorful sprites of found in the game are complemented by anime-style artwork during dialog scenes; a style that I’m personally not a fan of as the these androgynous depictions of the characters seem to clash with their sprite-based counterparts.
One final issue that bears mentioning is the control scheme. Destinia is controlled, mainly, through an on-screen button configuration that unfortunately feels a bit loose and imprecise. Menus are also controlled in this manner, when a simple touch-screen scheme would have worked much better.
Bottom Line: Destinia is a nice, lengthy adventure that isn’t perfect, but contains enough action-RPG elements to make it worth a look.
Destinia is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.