By Peter Magers on Wed, 10/17/2012
Epic Hearts is a hot new RPG drop in the iTunes App Store from the talented dev team that gave us Secret of Chateau de Moreau. Secret of Chateau de Moreau is an exceptional adventure mystery game, while Epic Hearts is an action RPG, but it does have one thing in common with its predecessor. It’s impressive.
Epic Hearts impresses less with innovation than it does with overall quality. Set in a fantasy universe with a wide variety of monsters, quest-givers, and a seemingly endless supply of items to pick up, use, sell, and discard, Epic Hearts serves up exactly what gamers hope for when they try a new RPG. The gamer chooses one of the three “draka,” or apprentices, to play. These apprentices are charged with perhaps the most important responsibility in the whole of this magical world—ensuring that “renobatio” takes place without a hitch. In this universe, balance and order are maintained by a mystical dragon, and the dragon dies and is reborn every millennium. As the time of renobatio approaches, the chaotic forces of the world grow in strength (translation: tons of irritable monsters), and the dedication and devotion of the draka are paramount to avoiding apocalypse. What does this mean, in a practical sense, for gameplay? The draka need to get their skills in order to prepare, and they’ll be mowing down every baddy you can imagine in the process, pretty much.
There are two options for controls for players to choose from: direct movement and a virtual d-pad. I didn’t have the best luck acclimating to the d-pad, but direct movement works like a charm so my lack of d-pad skills in Epic Hearts may be entirely on me. The downside to direct movement is all of the tapping all over the screen, but I find I’m obscuring as much of the screen either way, as there’s no dedicated non-action area for the d-pad. Plus, with the direct approach’s tap-hold to move characters across distances, it’s more flexible visibility-wise.
Content and game design are king in Epic Hearts. Hundreds of quests, thousands of items, eight entire worlds, three main characters to choose from (holy warrior, swordsman, and gunslinger), sweet graphics, and great pacing make this game a must-have. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some cons, of course. Bearing in mind I played a beta version and some things may have been taken care of, the game’s English is pretty broken. It’s perfectly understandable, but if you are going to twitch every time there’s a misspelling or a grammar misstep, move along. It’s clear this is a translation issue, and while it doesn’t bother me overall, the rest of the game is so high quality, I’d like to experience what the text would be like in prose that did more justice to the story. Epic Hearts more than makes up for this with its numerous top notch features, however. In particular, the UI for equipment, shopping, skill leveling, and quests is one of the best examples I’ve seen in this genre.
And while the app might be less than appealing linguistically, graphically it oozes aesthetic appeal. Character design, gorgeous color selections, incredible detail, and fantastic art for the dialogue profiles truly shine.
Epic Hearts is available now in the iTunes App Store, for $1.99—a tiny pricetag for a very big game!