Aralon is a franchise with a history that has contributed to the mobile RPG genre. As you can imagine, back in 2010 games were limited on mobile devices and the extent to which a game was judged by its graphics was minimal considering the lack of technology that we find before us today. However, the first instalment, Aralon: Sword and Shadow [$4.99], has awed mobile gamers when it was released in December 2010 by Crescent Moon Games. Unlike anything seen before on iOS and Android, the game presented an open world with beautiful 3D graphics that gave us a glimpse of what the future may look like one day. And after 5 years of waiting, comes Aralon: Forge and Flame to continue a legacy that has left a mark in the history of mobile gaming.
What impressed us most about the Crescent Moon Games’ RPG titles most was Ravensword: Shadowlands, an open world experience of the highest calibre. Initially, we wanted to compare and contrast Aralon: Forge and Flame with Ravensword in order to analyze the differences. But it was apparent that both game mechanics were not similar. As our contact at Crescent Moon Games put it: ”Aralon: Forge and Flame is more of a semi turn based combat like World of Warcraft and Ravensword: Shadowlands has a full real-time combat system in the footsteps of the Elder Scrolls games.”
Having said that, the question becomes whether you are interested in the sub-genre that the game represents. To give you an idea of what we mean. In Aralon: Forge and Flame, you cannot move your character and attack simultaneously. In order to attack with your sword, you need to sort of stand still. Same thing when you want to use a bow, you need to be standing still rather than move freely as you aim, such as how Ravensword: Shadowlands functions. Furthermore, there were several bugs found in the game during release but Crescent Moon Games has now addressed these bugs with a new update patch. So to give them credit, they are doing their best to ensure that the game is fully complete.
The story behind Aralon: Forge and Flame takes you back 300 years ago, in a time where Emperor Thalos ruled an empire stretching from the Eastern Sea to the North Frozen Wastelands. The Emperor feared of dying and used magic to extend his lifespan. But sensing that death was at his doorsteps again, he wanted to seek the Well of Life in order to become immortal. Having reached there, he attempted to draw magic from the Well of Life, and in the process the earth trembled, the seas rose, and the face of the world was reshaped. Following this dramatic event, Thalos vanished and became a legend told by old and young.
When the game starts, you get to choose your race from the 3 available races: Humans, Elves, and Trolls. Following that, you decide whether you are a male or a female. Then your adventure begins in a big and beautiful world. We won’t spoil how your story starts but we can tell you that you will face dangers right at the beginning of the game. You can view your character in first person or third person view by pinching in and pinching out. In comparison to the previous instalment, this one has more beautiful graphics and offers a more organized design. Yet, Aralon: Forge and Flame remains an RPG that has not reached its full potential. After 5 years of trial and error, technological advances, and work on numerous titles; one would expect this game to be far more superior rather than moderately improved when compared to its previous instalment.
The controls are very intuitive and work perfectly on touch screen devices. The user interface looks like it was well thought and is simple to use. Naturally, you control the character with a virtual stick on the left side of the screen and you can look around with the right side of the screen. The attack and roll buttons are ergonomically placed on the right side of the screen as well. We had no problem using the controls but we would have wanted the possibility to customize the HUD layout. The only options that you can change are the Sensitivity amount and Inverting the Y-axis.
Visually, the game is stunning and is an open world experience, especially with its dungeons, snowy mountains, and beautiful landscape. There are times where animations appear a bit clunky and unnatural. Additionally, provided that it’s delivered in a linear way, the amount of places that you can explore are limited due to a big proportion of places being gated and inaccessible. With everything marked for you and with the little amount of side quests, it just feels like you are being told what to do or where to go rather than feeling like you are on your own adventure.
In addition, you can change the graphics settings for Lighting Quality and Detail Level. We played it on Very High which, as you can imagine, provides the best experience possible. It still looks good when you decrease these settings but it somewhat loses a part of its glamour. If you have an old device that lags when playing big titles, you can decrease the graphics settings and you will experience less lag. So being able to control the visual properties of the game comes across as very helpful.
Conclusively, Aralon: Forge and Flame is quite a modern sequel in every right and deserves to be explored by any classic RPG fan. For its beautiful graphics, touch-screen friendly controls, simplistic combat system, and linear plot; Aralon: Forge and Flame is, for all intents and purposes, an RPG title that presents its lore properly upon the legacy of its predecessor. Unfortunately, it fails to meet the expectations we had for it after 5 years of waiting. Don’t get us wrong, its world looks beautiful and it is an RPG experience that you will enjoy. The question is whether you like the type of RPG experience that this game delivers. We previously mentioned that there were bugs during the initial release but Crescent Moon Games has now fixed these bugs and therefore our initial score for the game has increased. If you want to be a hero that is out to save the world then by all means, grab Aralon: Forge and Flame and embark on a classic RPG journey. You can watch the launch trailer for this game below.