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9th Dawn review (iOS / Universal)

June 14, 2013

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10 word description: 2D open world single player RPG. 3 classes. Loot. Leveling.

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10 word review: Visually retro. Decent controls, engrossing exploration and lots of action.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Ultima, Diablo, old school RPGs, action RPGs, questing ‘n’ leveling.

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The good news: Large free-roaming map with dungeons. Loads of loot to find. Great feeling of freedom. Very good controls and comprehensive touch screen interface. Screen layout, control placement, map and inventory screens are very good on iPad. Limited hand-holding makes exploration and discovery very satisfying. Full control over attribute distribution when leveling up. No IAPs. Hotbars (skill & items) work very well.

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The bad news: Graphics are distinctively retro, possibly a detraction if you’re not a fan of the pixel art style. Newcomers to this genre could feel that they’ve been dropped in at the deep end with little clue about what to do or how to do it. On the smaller (iPhone / Touch) screen, the mini-map is not much use, nowhere near as effective as on the iPad. Night is very dark, not particularly entertaining; an option to have permanent daylight would be nice.

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Arcadelife verdict: This is a lot of fun. Anyone who wants a straightforward single-player open world RPG (with a traditional western feel rather than yet another JRPG) will probably love this. The graphics do present a small initial hurdle to overcome, at least as far as total enjoyment of the game is concerned, but I soon found myself appreciating them for what they were rather than imagining how great this game would be with graphics similar to Warhammer Quest. Maybe one day…

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The open world works well, encouraging and rewarding exploration while also not holding back on a quick, decisive beating and a trip to your last spawn point if you wander too far into an area of higher level enemies.

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Overall, very good. A full, satisfying RPG that works well on touch screen devices and has no IAPs. Flashier graphics would be very nice, but 9th Dawn doesn’t need them in order to succeed at what it does.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 7/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 8.5/10

REALLY RATHER GOOD

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Valorware website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.1)
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