Android Game Review: RPG Roundup Week! 5 of 5 – RPG Grinsia

RPG GRINSIA KEMCO_GAMES

$7.99 (Currently on 50% off launch sale for $3.99)

This is a fresh one!  KEMCO_GAMES released the English version of this to the market just 8 days ago, December 22nd 2011 – I stumbled upon it simply searching for RPG in the Android Market, which I suppose was their motivation for putting RPG in the title of the game listing.  Clever devs.  You’ll notice a lot of comparisons to Symphony of Eternity (SoE) in this review, as that was also a KEMCO_GAMES product.

I don’t like OpenFeint.  It doesn’t appeal to me.  This game has it, though – which is weird, because I don’t really understand how you get ‘the high score’ in an RPG exactly.  I play these kind of games because I DON’T play video games socially.  Go figure.  Anyways, there are wild achievements to go for, like ‘beat the game within 8 hours’ and ‘beat the game without buying any items from shops’ so if that’s your thing, sign yourself right on up.  On to the game itself.

I like the premise of this game.  You’re part of a family of treasure hunters; you, your little sister, and your father start the game together, just a band of merry tomb raiders, essentially.  You hear about some newly discovered ancient ruins nearby, and you’re off like a shot.  Unfortunately for you and your folks, the Imperials are there first, and they’ve got a lot of clout and whatnot, being partway through their global conquest.  Just when things were already pretty dicey, Goddesses get involved… and the quest for the ultimate treasures is underway.

Not unlike SoE and Destinia, this is a game that forced me to reconsider my first impressions.  The town and world views look markedly better than SoE’s, a note to the positive.  The characters walking in a tight little line gave me a kick of nostalgia, putting me in mind of Phantasy Star.  Touch moving is back again, and its still pretty nice; the options menu feels and looks rather clunky, and seems to require more taps than necessary (You want what, items?  okay, which subset of items?  okay, who should use this item?  use this item on this guy?  done! What, again, same guy?  done! … 7 taps to use 2 potions on a dude).  The characters on dialogue screens look great, they even open/close their mouths and blink while talking.  You’re asked questions during dialogue too, which seem to influence how the game plays out (on top of determining whether or not you get certain people in your party).

Full disclosure: I played this game on my Nexus for a couple hours before trying it on my Droid 2.  When I did try it on the Droid 2, the game was way faster in terms of how characters moved, and how battle proceeded; in a good way.  It was downright sluggish and would outright lag out on the Nexus.  I finally figured out why; on the Droid 2, I was playing in ‘Normal Quality’ graphics rather than ‘High Quality’.  So, I switched the graphics off ‘High Quality’ for the Nexus as well, and put on ‘Normal Quality’ – and the game was MUCH better, playing wise.  Graphics wise – it is exactly the same.  It boggles my mind.  I can’t tell the difference AT ALL.  ‘High Quality’ is just a ‘makes the game laggy and slow’ button.  Here’s the comparison: High Quality on the left, Normal on the right, for those of you who don’t read the MouseOvers – click to open in new window:

I have no idea if this is a thing exclusive to the Nexus, but I can see no discernible differences; I’ve tried on every view available, too (world, town, battle, options, dialogue, etc) and don’t see one pixel out of place in ‘Normal View’.  If you see a difference besides from uselessly slowing the game down in High Quality, please let me know so I can update this post.

What separates this game further from SoE – RANDOM ENCOUNTERS.

Unlike RPG Alphadia and like SoE, this game has some challenge to it, so having the encounters be random adds an element of excitement, bringing back more of that ‘oh crap, do I have enough potions’ feeling I’ve craved after years and years of easy games.  Grinsia’s unique spin on battle is that you can have up to 4 members in your party, but you have a 3×2 grid to place them in; 3 spots up front, and 3 in the back.  There are skills and attacks that make this matter; i.e. a Lightning attack will strike everyone in either the front or back column, certain attacks will hit everybody in a particular row, etc.  It works the same way for the enemies, as well – a little additional thinking required for those more difficult battles.  Getting used to entering the commands takes about three fights, but then you’ve got the hang of it.

Another beautiful twist of the game is that time elapses in it; you go through night and day as you play, and sometimes it just means you fight different enemies, other times it has a more major impact.  Inns give you the option of spending the night and waking up first thing in the morning, or just hanging out at them until it gets light or dark outside; nifty stuff.

A chivalrous Nixie leaves the ladies alone, and zaps the shit out of only the bros in the front vanguard.

 

The gameplay starts slow, and then picks up pace bigtime in both the fun and creativity departments once you get off of the first continent.  Rescuing maidens, breaking into Imperial forts, piloting your ship directly into a massive whirlpool and getting yourself sucked to the bottom of the ocean; and that’s only gathering members of your team!  There’s a lot more game to go after that!

Options Screen of Clunk - Functional, but ugly.

I’m finding Grinsia to be a fun and quirky time.  The little twists thrown in here and there are nice, and some of the new concepts are interesting – for example, check out this old man trying to offer me ‘something special’ if I “Like” KEMCO’s Facebook page. [Didn’t work for me; did it work for any of you? Neat trick, if/when it works..homie kept telling me I hadn’t like the page yet, and I did, attempts made both on 4G and on WiFi]

I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t have been anything major, probably a ticket to go play target practice or something (a fun little shooting gallery mini-game), so I didn’t feel like this was some kind of blackmail to go and do it; even though it wasn’t working right for me, I still regard this as a cool idea.

This game also has one of my favorite things you can get in a jRPG – Unintentional humor.  Characters with portraits don’t really have different expressions to use, leading to some situations where their face is totally wrong for the dialogue and context; catching characters blinking during screenshots has been fairly amusing as well.

THE TL;DR:

  • Another solid Kemco game, worth it at 4 bucks, get it while its cheap
  • Needs an update, or a sequel.  Game lacks polish. (Heh, I sound like a Game Dev Story troll reviewer.  It’s true though.)
  • Game feels huge, and reminiscent of the Phantasy Star series.
  • *Big Smile* AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

Hell no, you nasty witch!  This is just the beginning!  I don’t think I’m ever going to attempt to crank out five RPG reviews in a week again (2-4 hours played per game, 2-5 hours writing each review… sheesh), but I am definitely going to keep reviewing games, start reviewing apps, all for your reading pleasure.  I’ve already got a bunch drafted! 

I’m not a professional; I’m doing this in my spare time for fun, and also to shed some light for everybody out there who is just like me; just looking for some damn good games to play and some good apps to use, and finding the number and depth of the reviews out there lacking.  If you’ve enjoyed my reviews, say so!  Comment!  Message me on reddit!  Follow my Twitter, and message me there!  Thanks again for reading, STAY TUNED, and share share share!  ~Dei

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6 thoughts on “Android Game Review: RPG Roundup Week! 5 of 5 – RPG Grinsia

  1. Thanks, I was looking for some information about Kemco games. Now I now I will enjoy Grinsia and Symphony of Eternity :)

  2. Hey very nice review! Was on the android forums and followed the link. I posted about some games that really look legit… except they are in chinese. Any chance you can read them?? haha… but seriously the screenshots look really nice (almost ps1-ps2-esque graphics you’d expect in a JRPG). Anyway nice review again. Hope you can shed some light on these games!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Lots more where that came from! Unfortunately, I cannot read Chinese (or almost anything non-English, for that matter).

  3. You CAN clearly see a difference in the high vs normal graphics comparison. high graphics look way more sharp and clear with more details.

    • It’s been months since I’ve looked, which means I’ve changed to new versions of my ROM at least a dozen times since I last played… could have been related. I’m glad there is a difference – I had nothing but the experience I had at the time to go on! Thanks for letting me know.

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