Drama in Every Pixel
4399en game has created an RPG world that provokes mixed feelings. Jade Sword is supposedly about finding love in an ancient, mystical world, where the only law is magic (and your heart). However, while advertising as an adventure romance RPG, there really is no story behind Jade Sword. The game opens with the image of a long-haired man and woman in a dramatic half embrace. Their eyes flutter half shut as they hold off on a kiss. The caption “jade sword, jade love” is written underneath them. It’s an odd phrase styled in an even odder font. The too bright shade of purple bubblegum clashes with the woodsy earth tones of this fantasy RPG. However, cynics can breathe easy, because the sappy love story promised you is nowhere to be found.
Where’s the Love?
Although advertised as a game where players can fall in love, by level thirty-four you’re still quite single. Your flashy robes are probably seen as “going too big” in the search for true love. But, it might also have something to do with the demons. Rather than being about starstruck lovers, Jade Sword is more worried about introducing demons into our hero’s path. You’ll enter a clearing only to be swarmed by ten or twelve (blood)thirsty individuals—and not the speed dating kind. Unfortunately, they add nothing to the story and are clearly random segues to help move the game along.
It’s really too bad, because if the game had at least stuck to its guns, it would’ve made some sense. Playing a sappy love story RPG is preferable to being left adrift in the virtual cacophony that is Jade Sword.
Zero Cool Factor
Undoubtedly, the swagger that Jade Sword tries to conjure falls flat on its face. The flowy robes and vague, clipped conversations are an attempt at piquing the player’s interest, but with little reward. The text boxes contain grammatical errors that make the text read choppily. I don’t particularly like to point out bad grammar if the text can get the point across. But the fact remains that the scenes with text boxes were the longest, and they were important to character development. By not investing in translators, good writers, and proofreaders, 4399en game left Jade Sword to sink with its ship. It’s a shame because good writing can compensate for other gaming issues. In Jade Sword’s case, the writing only served to further take out the player out of their gaming reverie.
The fact that you don’t even know what’s happening in the game makes the story hard to follow. This is mainly due to the endless barrage of improperly introduced characters. Jade Sword is like many other bad RPGs that I’ve played: it sacrifices function for the sake of aesthetics. While the character designs are of a certain quality, it still doesn’t account for the poor game play.
The game tries to go for a sleek, anime-esque look replete with all the mystery of mythological kingdoms. However, it falls short of entrancing any player because this RPG relies heavily on auto-walk and auto-battle. All you can do is look on as your character skillfully defeats all opponents again and again. It doesn’t matter whether he’s level one or level thirty, the winning streak never ends. The forced autoplay gives little choice to gamers who would like to play on their own terms. It can be a killjoy for some.
Cluttered and Pointless
In the end, Jade Sword’s one perk still comes back to bite it—its obsession with form over function. The designers of Jade Sword overcrowded the game. As many as twelve enemies can be waiting in a group for you in a clearing. The fact that this is an Android game played on your phone only gives designers less room to work with. 4399en game crowds characters onto a small screen that’s already filled with buttons and menus. Together, this makes for an unappealing gaming layout.
The line of sight in battle was also somewhat obstructed by auto-battle top ups (aka power ups). Their icons were distracting mid-fight (not to mention expensive). These were the only in-app purchases I saw, and they ran anywhere from $0.99 cents and up to $99.99. They only appeared when you decided that you’d like a “top up”.
In the end, I couldn’t wait to uninstall this game from my phone. With so many easily cleared levels there’s no sense of urgency to play. The game feels endless and pointless because of it. Everything about the game is murky—the reasoning behind making it, the point of the actual story. It’s clear that the designers at 4399en game thought they could rely purely on pretty visuals. By neglecting the story, Jade Sword insults players’ expectations and intelligence.
Is it Hardcore?
Jade Sword is incoherent. It seems to advertise as an adventure RPG about a historical romance, but really, it doesn’t know what story it wants to tell. The designers underestimate the players by having no storyline to back up their great graphics.