By: NINETAIL Co., Ltd
These days, I tend to avoid games that have micro transactions for in-game currency or items, especially consumables. So I almost didn’t buy NINETAILS’ turn-based RPG, Rogue Hearts when I saw that you can buy gems with real cash. But I really liked the screenshots and description of the game, so I finally caved, figuring $0.99 isn’t much to gamble on it.
It turns out, I really like the game, but unsurprisingly find the gem situation to be a downer. First off, let me talk a bit about the gameplay. Despite the name, it’s not really a rogue-like, as you don’t lose anything if you die. It’s a level-based dungeon crawler, so you start off in one room and make your way to the boss, then exit after you defeat it. You can swipe or drag your finger anywhere on the screen to move your player. Then you tap anywhere to attack items to break them or attack enemies right in front of you or next to you. Battles take place on a grid and are turn-based, so you do have time to plan things out instead of crazily mashing the screen.
Besides your basic attack, you have three skill buttons. At the start of the game, these allow you to either dash into an enemy, do a spinning attack, or push an enemy away from you, temporarily stunning it. There’s a cool down on each of these skills, so you need to use them wisely and not waste them. So, for instance, if a group of goblins are coming at you, a good strategy would be to dash into the center of the group and do a spin attack. Then, clean up the rest of them with your basic attack.
Bosses are trickier, have a lot more health, and you need to be smarter with them. I do like that if you die from a boss, you can revive and try that room again. What I don’t like is that if you die a second time, you have to spent a gem to revive, or abandon the quest and try again later. Gems are incredibly rare to inside the game itself, but of course you can buy more with real cash. It’s frustrating, because I’m currently trying to defeat a gigantic troll that can only be harmed if I attack him from the side or back. He also has devastating attacks, including a rush that always leaves me near death if I get in the way of it. The closest I’ve gotten to defeating him is about two thirds of the way, but I didn’t want to use a gem to revive again. So now I have to go through the whole dungeon again and again until I figure it out, when all I need is some practice with him so I can learn his move patterns and work out a strategy to best him. It’s a waste of time just because I refuse to pay for consumables.
On top of that, certain missions will give you a special legendary chest, but you can only open it by spending 10 gems. So every time I see one of these, I just get angry that the game is teasing me. Past that, there seems to be gear you can only buy with gems.
I wish this game could have just cost a few more dollars and did away with all the premium currency nonsense. As is, I’ll try a few more times to defeat the troll, but if I don’t manage it soon, I’ll eventually lose interest and stop playing. It’s unfortunate, because I do enjoy the gameplay. It’s fun to smash everything in my path and collect all the loot. But I don’t like the system placed around the gameplay. Anyway, you can watch my gameplay video below to see what the game’s like and I’ll try to update this as I play more.