The role-playing genre is, for the most part, already well-tailored to the mobile experience. The controls don’t need to be too precise, the menu-based navigation is great for a touchscreen, and, assuming the combat is turn-based, the game doesn’t even have to be lag-free or run that smoothly. As a result, it’s a simple matter to create an Android RPG or just port one over with no gameplay issues. Still, it’s much appreciated when a developer puts a spin on a genre that not only makes it more accessible to mobile users, but also makes the game more interesting. RPGs are great, and adding some cards to the mix doesn’t change that.
With Super Awesome RPG, what Boomzap has done is create an Android RPG that uses cards for every action rather than menu prompts. However, unlike Hearthstone or other trading card games, the cards are hidden on a grid until you gradually flip each of them over throughout the battle. This has a massive effect on how the combat system works and is a bit of a departure from standard RPGs. The biggest difference, for better or for worse, is that luck plays such a significant role in each battle that it can make or break the outcome of a fight.
In Super Awesome RPG‘s battles, you start off with a 5×5 grid of cards (which are actually closer to tiles, but this is essentially a card-battle game) that only you have access to, as your enemies have their own repertoire of moves. Your cards consist of attacks, magical assaults, buffs, and one reset card per grid. When you tap on a card, its effect activates, and some of the adjacent cards are then flipped over. Because of the fact that you have absolutely no indication of which cards will be flipped over next, it makes every match a crapshoot.
One scenario I was in heavily encouraged me to attack the necromancer in the back row to prevent him from healing the enemy soldiers, but the card that made the enemies switch positions would simply not show up most of the time. As a result, I had to just grind and grind in hopes of overpowering the enemy group instead of being strategic. Admittedly, it does feel great when you make a chain of cards and obliterate the enemies through brute force. The risk and reward aspect of not knowing what’s under the cards may appeal to some gamers, but it’s very difficult to use tactics when your next move may as well be random. Because of this, Super Awesome RPG misses out on showcasing its strategic potential.
Just like the gameplay in Super Awesome RPG, the aesthetics are decent enough, but opinions on that could differ wildly, depending on the person. The game is self-described as “anime-themed,” and it shows. It has that cutesy badass vibe that many mobile games currently have. Basically, every character in this game looks like they would feel right at home in Puzzle & Dragons. As for the music, it’s pretty good. The guitars and adventurous melodies really get you in the mood to go on a quest and slay some enemies. My only gripe is that the extremely catchy title theme starts looping very quickly, which is a bit frustrating because it carries over into the map screen.
Even though Super Awesome RPG has a very nontraditional combat system, RPG fans can rest assured that they will be able to customize their characters, equip new gear, and craft new items for battle. If only this game could have dropped the RPG tradition of necessary grinding, then it would have been great instead of just good. Regardless, it’s a fairly solid experience, but the grinding and the luck aspect of the game make it just a tad too frustrating for the price tag. However, if there’s a sale or you have some Google Play credit, definitely go for it.
Super Awesome RPG puts a fun spin on the genre, but its frustrations may be too off-putting to some.