Gamevil’s action-RPG series, Zenonia, matured alongside mobile gaming. Fans craving a solid Zelda-style experience on their phones can generally count on Zenonia for a lengthy adventure full of hack-and-slash goodness.
Granted, the series’ age has begun working against it. The availability of the first couple of games is best described as “haphazard;” you can find lite / demo versions of the titles, but their full-bodied counterparts seem to be MIA, at least on the App Store. In fact, Zenonia itself seemed to go into hibernation after the launch of Zenonia 5 in 2012.
No true adventure has its life snuffed out entirely, however. Zenonia is back — in online form. And really, it’s a pretty good massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), but that’s probably not going to cut any ice with long-time fans of the series who just want another offline Zelda-style experience.
And to be honest, I don’t think their irritation towards Zenonia S: Rifts in Time’s online format is unwarranted. Again, it’s a good MMOG, but there’s no question that Zenonia loses something by being broken down into a series of small hack-and-slash arenas.
There’s a story driving the action in Zenonia S, but it’s unimportant next to the business of monster-slaying. There are evil monsters that need to be corked back up in oblivion. That’s the extent of things.
You choose your class of fighter before you get down to business. The game provides a kind service by pointing out each job’s strength and weakness, highlighting which classes are good for novices and experts alike.
When you make your choice, you perform a few quests as an interactive tutorial. Once that’s all done, things become mighty familiar for regular MMOG players.
There’s a hub world where players congregate to receive quests, including story-driven jobs and side-quests. When you get your job, you teleport to the appropriate area and fulfil the listed requirements by hacking up the requisite number of enemies and / or the boss monster.
These fights are when the game feels most like Zenonia of old. The enemies and action are familiar. You have a number of skills at your disposal, and you gather loot, Diablo-style, to improve your weapons and armor.
The nice thing about Zenonia S: Rifts in Time is that, like many Korean MMOGs, it’s generous about hand-outs. While the game’s hard currency (Zens) is difficult to come by unless you buy it, the loot drops are decent, as are stamina refills — though obviously it’d be nice if the game didn’t deplete stamina with each quest to begin with.
Zenonia S is a tricky recommendation. As an MMOG, it’s good, if uninspired. As a Zenonia game, its format shift is disappointing. Think of it this way: It’s a free download. Give it a try; there’s a decent chance you’ll like what’s here.
And if you don’t like it, well, hopefully the game’s existence is proof that a more traditional Zenonia title is in the works.