iPhone Life magazine

The Lord of the Roads: Oldies Can Still Be Goodies

One thing I love about virtual shelves like the App Store is that you can often find items years after they have been released. When they’re good, that’s always a bonus. I wrote this review more than a year and a half ago, but I hate wasting things, so I figured I’d go ahead and publish it despite the age. The Lord of the Roads ($0.99) is still available on the App Store; and when I fired it up again, just to be sure that I wasn’t overinflating things, it turned out the game is still just as fun as it was back then. Plus it runs quite well on my iPod Touch 4. If you don’t get the significance of that, you’ve obviously never had the “privilege” of owning an iPod Touch 4.

The Lord of the Road game review
With Finger Shot RPG ($0.99) I knew I had something different in the casual role playing game market, so the burning question with The Lord Of The Roads was if Magic Cube could recapture that magic and still provide something unique. As far as I’m concerned, they struck gold twice in a row. This game is part RPG, part scrolling shooter, and completely addictive. Hardcore dungeon grinders need not apply though; because while there is grinding involved, it’s not about searching every nook and cranny for hidden treasures and long lost ancient weapons. Of course, you might find you like this game’s simpler nature anyway.

You start off with one of three standard classes: swordsman, bowman, and sorcerer. As you progress through the game you’ll be able to unlock seven additional classes to use, as well as upgrade any of the classes you already have at your disposal. You begin each game with one character of whichever class you choose, and as you rescue others along your trip, you’ll either add them to your party if you’ve unlocked their class or you’ll get a hearty “thank you” and some loot as a reward. I’ve managed to acquire a maximum of six party members so far, mainly because they keep getting killed before I can add more.

The Lord of the Roads game review

Mechanically the game plays like a scrolling shooter. Your party is usually at the bottom of the screen, though for short bursts you can charge towards the top to get away from enemies or force them backward. Mainly though, you’ll either tilt the device or use a virtual control pad to move your party left and right. Fighting is handled automatically. You do need to keep in mind that while you’re in large part impervious from the front, you’re totally vulnerable from the side. If you’re not careful while you’re dodging, you’ll inadvertently lose characters to a different attacker. Trust me, I know.

Speaking of attackers, there are plenty of them. Orcs, goblins, zombies—the game has them all. Interestingly enough, there is nothing mundane like bats or spiders; but that’s okay. Each creature has a different method of attack, and some are better ignored when there’s a lot going on. You’ll always have three objectives to work on while you’re playing, which usually revolve around killing a certain number of a particular type of creature. If at any time one of the objectives is too hard or you just don’t want to do it, you can skip to the next one. But if you complete an objective part way through a run, you won’t get a new one until the next time you start. These objectives certainly add to the replay value, though if you don’t know what creature a given objective is referring to, you’re kind of shooting in the dark. I still haven’t figured out what a troll is.

The Lord of the Road game review

If you’ve played Finger Shot RPG or any of Magic Cube’s zombie games you’ll instantly recognize and love the graphical style. Because of the perspective, the background is basically the ground, but it’s still detailed and changes occasionally to reflect new “territories.” The characters and creatures look cool; but while there’s a lot of stuff moving around, there isn’t much actual animation. The sound effects are pretty decent, as each creature has its own grunts and groans to add to its unique personality. The music is good and fits the atmosphere; but with only one track, it can get repetitive.

I’m not really sure what the target audience for this game is. Thankfully I like both scrolling shooters and lite RPGs, so this game had me hooked from day one. There’s definitely a lot of grinding involved, but an individual game goes quickly enough that I don’t think you’ll care.  After unlocking six of the seven additional classes and upgrading several of them in the process, I’m still immensely enjoying the experience. Deep it’s certainly not, but it works well for playing a few minutes here and there (or quite a few minutes when I’m so close to upgrading the next class.)

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.