Android Game Review: RPG Roundup Week! 2 of 5 – Illusia

ILLUSIA GAMEVIL Inc.

$0.99

Hoooo, boy.  Alright, so, this title forced me to do a little research.  As you may know, GAMEVIL Inc. is the Seoul, S. Korea based company responsible for bringing us mega-hits such as the Zenonia series, Air Penguin, and Baseball Superstars – as well as excellent and underrated game TouchMix (great on my Droid2, bad on Nexus still).

2010 was a ridiculously busy year for GAMEVIL – in 2010 alone, they released Baseball Superstars 2011, Cartoon Wars 2, HYBRID 2: Saga of Nostalgia, THIS game, NOM: Billion Year Timequest, Soccer Superstars, and Zenonia 2.  According to Wikipedia (using Wikipedia at all allows me to put “The Internet” as a response to any questions about my sources), after expanding their operations into the United States in 2006, they’ve been releasing and servicing their games on Amp’d Mobile, Apple App Store, AT&T Wireless, BlackBerry App World, Boost Mobile, Cellular South, Cricket Communications, Android Market, Helio, MetroPCS, Midwest Wireless, Nintendo DSi Shop, nTelos, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Zeebo.  Phew!

With all that established and said and there on the page and things and stuff and boinky boinky (et cetera), I am feeling a little more forgiving about the quality of this game, as it really seems that it was nothing more than practice for Zenonia 2 and 3.

The game greets you with a pretty title screen and some decent music.  Looks promising!  You choose NEW GAME, and you’re able to choose whether you play a male or female character; the male being the melee class, the female the mage/ranged class.

I’m still waiting for the game out of Korea that mixes this up, but I feel like I may be playing shuffleboard and canasta between medications and naps by that time.  Give me a big, butch, axe wielding Valkyrie and Harry Potter and I might ignore the awful control issues the game has.  I digress…

Prepare to stare at this screen for quite some time.

Then, you come to the screen posted above… and for what on a mobile game, feels like forever… it writes a scrolling story against a monochrome image.  Yaaaay.  Get on with it!  Once this part is over and you’re older and unhappier now, the game sort of begins.  You get to watch a fragmented, confusing series of cutscenes, which mercifully have a skip option, before being dropped into what feels like the longest tutorial ever.

In this tutorial, you’re taught how to jump, attack, and jump and attack.  Simple, right?  You wish.  This game has terrible, unintuitive controls, at least on both my Droid 2 and My Galaxy Nexus, and tons of other people in the Market User Reviews complain of the same issue.  Jumping is an exercise in gambling, because you never know if you’ll keep your momentum, jump straight up, double-jump by accident, or dash by accident upon landing, thus falling off the platform you’re trying to reach.  I had to go back and force myself to play this game more twice just to have enough material for this review; that’s how frustrating it is.  It is a real shame, because with good controls, this would have been an enjoyable, Maple Story-esque Action RPG title. Allow me to describe a few things that happened to me which caused me great rage before I move and have a soothing Pepsi:

  • Scene: You’re moving to the right, and you hit jump to leap across a gap.  When you land, you’re still holding ‘right’, right?  Doesn’t matter.  You won’t move until you let it go and press it again.
  • Scene: After 4 tries, you’ve managed to leap onto that pesky moving platform with wings.  After yelling ‘FUCKING FINALLY!’ at your phone, the platform moves, but you don’t, and you simply fall off of it, into a mass of kangaroos who beat your nose into your neck.
  • Scene: You need to perform a double-jump and move laterally to get anywhere.  Rather than trying, you either headbutt the sidewalk repeatedly until you die, or spit at your phone until you die of dehydration.*

I believe I’ve illustrated my point.  Moving on…

When you die in Illusia, you’re given a choice of either losing some gold and xp or to pay a ridiculous amount of coins to respawn – not bad.  The processes to respawn, save, and load games are all pretty easy here.  You can see a lot of direct connections to Zenonia – a lot of the menus are nearly pixel for pixel the same, as is your notification for when you have stats and skills to upgrade.  There appear to be some extra ‘Modes’ to the game that I didn’t explore in the interest of liking myself – “Rush” and “Mission” mode.  I was not prepared to invest that much more time into the game.

The character customization is pretty cool; it is cute when the toons get new gear and don it and it really changes their outfit.  I enjoyed that.  I enjoyed the music, despite the fact that it was the same tracked looped repeatedly every 40 seconds.  (Guys – I’m trying.  I’m really trying.)

Getting a screenshot with the toon in mid-air took 12 tries.

After playing as the male character to start with (and summarily quitting in disgust not much later) I started a campaign with the ladymage.  She was a great deal easier to play; when you’re seeking to do ranged damage to things, it matters less that it takes upwards of 3-5 seconds to get your character facing the right way and getting the buttons to work.

With the ranged character, the game was quite a bit less frustrating.  The bad controls became part of the game; soon I was moving around a little easier, and wondering if I’d been too harsh on the game.  It’s very cute, and somewhat fun… but then… then… alright, I’ll just say it.  It exhibited other enormous pieces of suck.  You accept a few quests; you do them.  You walk back to town.  They give you more quests, which are the same quests.  You do them again.  You go back to town.  You get more quests, they’re the same quests, with the same enemy name, only this time (and they don’t mention this) they’re talking about killing bad guys with the same enemy name, but these are a different color and on a completely different map that takes half a dozen little jumping quizzes to get to.  Guess what you do when you’re done with them?  Holy shit, do I get to go back to town again?!  Hell yeah bitches, I need an update on whether or not that NPC is still there!

I managed to play through to the first boss and beat it; it wasn’t easy at all, and again – all controls.  If my character jumped when I wanted it to jump, shot when I wanted to shoot, and changed direction at my whim, I think I could have killed the boss without taking damage.  I’m not trying to brag; it just seemed that to me that if the game had been built to let you, anybody could have.

I’ve encountered a few other bugs between my two phones – a few force closes on the Droid 2, a complete loss of all save data on my Nexus – I’m not sure how they happened, or their cause, but don’t read too much into the Nexus one as that coulda been my fault somehow.  Can’t explain away the FC’s, though.

I found the certificate and left this painful game for good.

THE TL;DR:

  • This game has terrible, terrible controls on both my Droid 2 and Nexus, and most other phones, according to reviewers.
  • Has big cuteness factor, but you have to kill cute things.
  • Read the MouseOver text on the pictures.
  • Forced to remember: This is a dollar game, and it is worth about that; however, I’m still glad I got it for free from the Amazon App Store rather than having paid for it.

* = jokes stolen from Maddox and Dilbert Comics, respectively.

Thanks for reading – tomorrow we’ll be looking at Symphony of Eternity from KEMCO_GAMES.  Have a game you’d like reviewed?  Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  POST THEM!  We’d love to hear from you!
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4 thoughts on “Android Game Review: RPG Roundup Week! 2 of 5 – Illusia

  1. Thanks for telling us why we shouldn’t waste our dollar on this… incidentally, there’s something wonky with your comment box (in Chrome?), it keeps getting bigger as I type.

    • I can’t explain that! Bizarre. I’ve had no end of problems with WordPress in general, in Chrome. I find myself doing my editing in Firefox just to get around the weirdness. Glad you liked the review!

  2. This is a $1 game from Gamevil, so I must ask: Is it one of the in-app-payment disasters that their focus seems to have shifted to after Zenonia 2?

    • I’m not sure what you mean, exactly; if you’re asking if there are in-app purchases in Illusia, no there does not seem to be. I think honestly they knew they had an inferior product and had to release it, so they let it out as their ‘bargain’ title… a lot of companies have done things like that in the past in the console industry. They knew they had a crappy game, so it’d come out and immediately be 29.95 instead of 49.95 – stuff like that.
      I still think it’s a shame, though. I would have liked this game if it was playable.
      On the topic you mention though, the plague of the ‘in-app payment’ – that trend was born in S. Korea. I’m thinking about writing about it after I do more research. I first encountered that playing Maple Story. It bugs me because a ton of very talented developers are going towards it, but when you look at the overall market, you can see why they do it; it is not easy to make money being an app developer, unless you use somewhat unsavory methods AND pump out tons and tons of games. Things like Angry Birds are the World of Warcraft of Android; they were in the right place at the right time.
      Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting! Stay tuned. =)

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