Oh Colopl Rune Story. Things were going so great with you for a while. Then you got excessively annoying and it all started to fall apart.
Rune Story (which I think is the gameâ€™s actual name despite the title including â€śColoplâ€ť in the beginning when you go do download it) is a quick and simple action RPG that fits the mobile platform quite well. Thereâ€™s some really awkward story about adventurers and a flying building in there, but itâ€™s basically all about going from place to place and smacking monsters around. Fight through a few areas with the small fry, take down a boss, rinse, repeat.
The thing is, it actually makes a pretty strong first impression. The visuals are relatively simple but theyâ€™re colorful and sport some pretty nice designs. There are tons of characters you can potentially summon and level-up like an honest to goodness RPG (thereâ€™s even a skill tree thatâ€™s kind of like the upgrade system in Final Fantasy X). There are just as many (if not more) kinds of weapons to find/unlock/upgrade. And while the somewhat by-the-numbers level structure is nothing to get excited about, the action is fairly enjoyable and the missions donâ€™t overstay their welcome.
I was also particularly impressed with the controls, which were designed for touch screens – and actually designed quite well. Dragging a finger anywhere on the screen (except on the buttons, naturally) will let you move your character around a-la virtual stick, tapping will cause them to automatically target and attack enemies within range, and swiping will make them dodge. Itâ€™s simple but itâ€™s pretty impressive in how well it works, even one-handed. Although once the difficulty starts to ramp up and you need to avoid damage more often youâ€™ll start to notice just how slow the response time between attacks and dodges can be. And donâ€™t even get me started on the absurdly slow mages who take so long to attack that theyâ€™re practically useless against any enemy that moves faster than â€śnot at all.â€ť
For the most part I was really impressed with Rune Story — until some of its more peculiar design issues started popping up. Along with the controls not responding well enough for the more difficult battles, there are two main problems I have with this game: itâ€™s pretty much always downloading something, and it eventually forces players to make their own guild.
Games that have players download extra data after installation arenâ€™t all that special, honestly, but Rune Story does it with a frequency thatâ€™s actually pretty impressive. It seems like every other anything I do for the first time makes a little â€śDownloadingâ€ť window pop-up. Going to the store, starting a new stage in a new area, going back and playing the Hard versions of old stages, and even just finishing a level have all resulted in some extraneous downloading. This is a problem for everybody because it slows everything down when youâ€™re simply trying to navigate the menus or get other stuff done, but itâ€™s an even bigger problem if youâ€™re playing via cellular data and donâ€™t have an unlimited plan. At its most basic itâ€™s annoying, and at its worst it could end up costing you money just to run it.
As for the guild thing, itâ€™s kind of a slap in the face if Iâ€™m being honest. Online games tend to push player interaction. I get that. And I get that cooperative RPGs can benefit from player-made groups like guilds and the like. But Rune Story takes it a bit too far when it flat-out wonâ€™t let you continue (even if you shut it off and restart – I tried) to play until youâ€™ve set up your own guild. Which also begs the question, whatâ€™s the point in making a guild for other players to join if yoâ€™re making all of them start a guild in the first place?
Now this would only be mildly irritating if it was simply a matter of filling out a quick digital form and going on your merry way, but you have to pay premium currency to make a create a guild. So say goodbye to 20 much-needed gems after you get to this point. You werenâ€™t planning on using them to summon new characters or make powerful weapons, right?
Thereâ€™s a pretty good, if simple, action RPG hiding underneath Rune Storyâ€™s problems. Heck, if you can overlook those problems (or youâ€™re exceedingly patient) it can be pretty fun. But Iâ€™m nowhere near patient enough to ignore the constant downloading or laggy dodging. And Iâ€™m actually kind of mad about the forced guild creation thing to be honest.
Your mileage may vary, of course.