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Review:Ash for iPhone

Considering the lengths at which the computer industry has gone to bring photorealistic graphics to mobile devices, it’s somewhat ironic that so many Game developers are trying hard to imitate the look of yesteryear. Case in point, SRRN Games’ deliciously anachronistic Ash: a role-playing Game that arches all the way back to 8-bit classics like the Final Fantasy and Zelda series. While fanboys will surely bristle at such a comparison, they need only to play Ash to realize that this epic RPG is worthy of such exalted company.

Yes, this game is also inspired by anime series.

Ash features a rich and complex storyline and gaming environment that feels a little overwhelming at the beginning, but soon becomes one of the game’s strong points; even during the inevitable periods of grinding that are sometimes required to power your characters up enough to fight your way out of a given area, there is enough to see and do that one hardly ever gets bored.

The game’s mechanics are simple and effective. Character movement can be accomplished using either a virtual d-pad (which the developer added in a recent update), or by simply swiping a finger in a specific direction. In the turn-based combat mode, enemies can be attacked using a “basic attack” dependent on your currently-equipped weapon, or by using one of several abilities that you gain through experience or by acquiring various special items.

Ash’s graphics and music fit its nostalgic theme perfectly—when I first started the game, I felt like someone had magically teleported me all the way back to the time where a SNES was my main source of gaming fun. The only things that could use some work are the combat interface, which is not quite as polished as it should be, and the titles, which are rendered in a hard-to-read script font. The latter are not as insignificant as they sound: in an RPG, titles provide important clues on your current location; therefore, being able to read them easily is quite important.

Ash may lack polish, but it's a solid gaming experience

The developers were smart enough to combine some of the best elements that made old RPG titles so popular with modern amenities that fit the iPhone as a platform; these include support for multi-tasking, which means that you can pop in and out of the game—for example, to take a phone call—without having to reload everything. By the same token, the game can be saved anywhere, which makes quick grinding sessions possible whenever it’s convenient.

Perfect for both RPG aficionados and casual players, Ash is sure to offer everyone hours of addictive fun without ever becoming too repetitive; both gameplay and storyline are balanced and present a gradually-increasing challenge that keeps players of all skill levels occupied without putting them off early on. If 8-bit nostalgia is up your alley, Ash was made for you.


RPGFan’s Runner-Up for iOS and Indie RPG of the Year, 2010! Designed exclusively for the iPhone, Ash is a classic turn-based RPG, featuring an all-new, intuitive touch-based interface, a massive, fully-realized world with lush visuals licensed from Enterbrain, and a wonderfully compelling story. Check out our website for links to reviews and a FREE download of the strategy guide! ——– QUOTES: “This traditional RPG offers a far deeper experience than most iPhone/iPad games.” – Wired “Ash is nothing short of remarkable.” – Macworld Australia “Adding Ash to your game collection is a no-brainer.” – BrutalGamer “Ash is a perfect RPG for the mobile platform and is surprisingly simple to pick up and play.” – no dpad “Ash has a stand-out story and lots of old-school charm.” – SlideToPlay “Ash will hit you right in the nostalgia bone.” – TUAW “Ash delivers an experience that shouldn’t be missed by RPG fans.” – TouchArcade “This is the best iPhone game I have played, and easily in the top 5 iPhone games available.” – PlatformNation “For the most part Ash is an excellent game that should make fans of older RPGs very happy.” — GamePro “Considerable love has been put into this $5 portable tribute to classic gaming.” – Gizmodo “SRRN Games has developed a complex and cohesive world for its title.” – RPGamer “Ash stands near or at the head of the class in iOS RPGs.” – RPGFan “It’s like a love letter to the SNES.” – TouchArcade Forums ——– These are strange days for Aghaus. By order of the Magistrate, the Royal Guard is to assemble for deployment in two days’ time. It has been years since I last left the capital, and further still that I can remember such a command being issued! But what need is there for a Royal Guard, when no King sits upon the throne? Though my oath binds me to his service, the Magistrate is not my liege. He rules in the absence of a rightful heir. My men await their orders; they too are uneasy. It is for their sake that I stay my tongue, and place my faith in the Almighty that my fears are unfounded. Tomorrow, we make for the East. –Captain Creval of the Royal Guard, in the 895th year of our Empire Ash tells the story of two mercenaries on the fringes of the Empire of Aghaus, a once-great kingdom now fallen into ruin after the death of its king five years prior. When a routine contract takes an unexpected turn, the two men are gradually embroiled in a conflict that consumes the entire continent—and brings to light the mercenaries’ mysterious pasts.

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