The pursuit of video games is a long and arduous journey between the season of gift giving, and, well… stocktake sales in June. The release of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One catapulted the nation into a frenzied Christmas hunt, but the smell of fresh video games has long since faded… Welcome to Q1 and Q2, the dry season.
In an effort to have something to review this month, I took a gander at all of the exciting options offered by Steam and the Humble Bundle store. Antichamber caught my attention, but the mind-breaking puzzles have effectively broken my mind. That will have to be conquered at a later date.
Instead, I turned my attention to the infamous, rapid-fire portable gaming industry. I love handheld consoles and have a long, loving relationship with a Gameboy-turned-DS.
Phones, however, are a different matter entirely. I’ve never quite understood why people would want to choose a phone over a piece of hardware dedicated to gaming. It doesn’t offer the full range of immersive experiences, and some of the app-developers seem rather sketchy and/or money-hungry. There are traps and viruses around every corner, manifesting in more ways than one.
Then again, I am paranoid about security when it comes to my phone. I do not want to share my credit card details with something so easily lost.
Fears aside, let’s return to this month’s game. Brave Frontier was developed by Japanese Gumi Inc., and is available both on iOS and Android. Statistics say that this Japanese RPG has over two million players in Japan and one million players overseas, and it is ranked first in Japan, Korea and Singapore.
This game harkens back to the days of Final Fantasy and Golden Sun. The premise is simple: save a land slowly being overcome by demons sent by four Fallen Gods. To do so, you, the chosen hero, must become a skilled Summoner. What is a Summoner? Well, it’s a person who summons elemental monsters to fight other elemental monsters.
The battles occur in areas of varying elements: fire, earth, water, thunder, light and dark. Each round, consisting of several stages, has a final boss; and each area has a minimum of three rounds. During battles, timing is crucial as summoned creatures have the ability to produce spark if they hit simultaneously. It is as much about fighting as it is about management and thinking.
You choose your very first summon, but from then onwards it’s all luck. Balancing elements with Summoning-cost is tricky, and at first downright impossible. Gems allow you to summon a rare creature with incredible power and potential, and honour summons offer a wide variety of luck-based possibilities. Whilst fighting on the field, there are chances that a defeated monster will become an available summon. There are also weekly quests that provide opportunities to acquire a rare summon. It’s not impossible to build a team, but it’s hard to fit all of your favourite creatures into a single squad.
Gumi Inc. has designed over two hundred pixel-rendered, beautiful summons to acquire. This game does not lack depth, even if the storyline is a little unbelievable at times. It possesses a simple charm that is amplified by the fact that it is readily available on the phone. Though it offers premium goodies, purchasing gems and other luxuries with real money is not essential to fully enjoy the game. The shop is never shoved in your face, though it does like to nag you about Facebook somewhat.
Recently Brave Frontier has been suffering from connection problems, but Gumi Inc. is more than happy to provide compensation and support for players who are struggling to connect to the server. The game is still be updated and upgraded, with more areas, more summons and more challenges being implemented (including soon-to-come Raid Battles).
Pick up Brave Frontier and immerse yourself in an easy-to-learn, strangely addictive RPG without the heavy new-gen bloating.