It can be hard to find a mobile game with a real commitment to art design and writing. The nature of the medium means that profits take front and center, and what usually moves units is screaming cartoon characters and pixel art. It makes complete sense: why write an involved story or design a world you’re invested in for a medium which values fast-paced, touch-based gameplay and superficial novelty above all else? Still, it’s refreshing to play Legend Of Ixtona, an original strategy RPG from Japanese developers Kemco. It’s a strategy RPG in the vein of Tactics Ogre and Fire Emblem, and it does a great job of capturing the feeling of a PS1-era tactical game without being a pastiche or a copycat. It’s lighthearted and simple compared to some of its peers, but the fact that it can stand up to comparison with legitimate strategy RPGs is hugely impressive for an Android game in 2014.
In Legend Of Ixtona, you control Kyle, the younger son of a king who is exiled to a small frontier town when his older brother assassinates his father. Interestingly, the game also has you create a character at the beginning, only to have that character show up in a supporting role instead. Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t differ too much from the turn-based grid battles of classic strategy JRPGs. Positioning your characters strategically and holding advantageous terrain are important, but there aren’t any major innovations to the classic formula. Along with a handful of story characters, you can hire new troops from the guild hall. As you progress through the game, you develop the frontier town where you were originally exiled, allowing you access to new equipment as you progress. The town development system makes your party really customizable, but the battles themselves are pretty simple affairs.
The story of Legend Of Ixtona is definitely more of a light-hearted romp than anything especially serious. The stakes are high, but the characters tease each other and make jokes more than they emote. There’s nothing wrong with that, but combined with the simple battles, it all gives the impression of a casual, lightweight game. It’s more subtle than it is generic, but definitely don’t go in expecting the next Final Fantasy Tactics.
The presence of microtransactions in Legend Of Ixtona is also kind of a black mark on the game. Weirdly enough, the game is constantly calling your attention to the fact that the microtransactions are not necessary to complete the game. It comes off as a distaste for microtransactions, but it comes off as overly defensive; if they really hate microtransactions enough to put in all those warnings, they shouldn’t have put them in at all. The game isn’t especially hard, but the inclusion of microtransactions is almost always going to influence a game’s development, and the microtransactions in Legend Of Ixtona, while not necessary, are substantial enough that it’s disappointing that they were included in a game that shouldn’t have needed them at all.
Legend Of Ixtona is a full-scale strategy RPG that’s only available on mobile platforms, so fans of the genre looking for an Android option that controls well and can’t be played anywhere else should give it some serious consideration. Its presentation, story, gameplay, and controls often excel compared to other mobile games, but they don’t really excel compared to other strategy RPGs. If you don’t mind that so much, you’ll find that Legend Of Ixtona is one of the better games of its genre available on Android.
Is it HARDCORE?
A good attempt at a full-scale strategy RPG for mobile platforms. It’s a minor work in the genre, but the art design and gameplay are head and shoulders above its mobile peers.