[Review] Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman
Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman is the latest side scrolling action-role playing game coming from Hexage, promising to provide deep storyline and tons of action. The concept is simple, slash your way through the enemy hordes, gather gold and experience, level up and improve your skills. So let’s see what it has to offer.
And so the story goes
Over a decade ago the Imperial soldiers were instructed to invade the Wilderness and conquer the land, either voluntarily or by force. However, the Tribes inhabiting the Wilderness decided to fight back against the Imperial war machines with fierce sorcery. After many bloody years both sides became exhausted and the conflict turned into a stalemate. The Imperials keep defending what little ground they claimed, while only the most radical Wilderlings continue to fight them. In a cave deep within the heart of the Wilderness, a swordsman awakens…. you!
At this point the game starts and you begin your quest to become the ultimate black swordsman. Each quest will reveal a part of the story, but what’s really interesting is that right from the beginning the game starts to branch the storyline, giving you multiple choices when starting or completing quests and in-between events. Each decision you make will impact the game and the storyline to some degree, providing excellent replay value.
What about free-roaming?
Quests usually lead and unlock new locations on the world map that you can re-visit at later time. As you progress through the game you will gain gold and experience, and each time you gain a level, you improve one of the skills ranging from endurance, better crit chance, improved damage on special attacks or speed. Improving and balancing your stats will allow you to survive some of the heavier battle encounters filled with enemy mobs or bosses. You can’t really tell from the screenshots, but the game provides dynamic action, hardcore slicing, jumping and charging as you drop the enemies. Just watch the trailer.
But it’s not only about surviving. You will want to wreck carnage on the battlefield, slice the enemies in half and rain terror upon the land. In order to do that you will need weapons, items and accessories that you can gather or receive as a quest reward. All that gold weighting your pockets down? Then visit one of the town stores and simply buy everything you need. Thankfully the game provides hundreds and hundreds of items, allowing you to fully customize your character as you please.
Ok, how do I…
Hexage did a great job combining the hack & slash action style with the poor control options touchscreens provide. This is where “Reaper” really shines. The controls are spot-on and won’t hold you back from fully appreciating the game as you slaughter your way through. The left part of the screen is exclusively used to control your swordsman movement, while the right one is open for gestures with the jump button sitting somewhere in-between. The gesture side is used to perform all the special attacks that will require 1 skull point, generated by auto-attacking the enemies. All the special attacks that you perform are directly influenced by your skills and this is something that you will have to pay attention to. There is no point improving the charge skill for example if you hardly ever use it.
In addition to the excellent touch controls, Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman fully supports all the MOGA products, the Nvidia Shield, Nyko and generally all the HID controllers available. The only problem I encountered with this feature was with some of the generic USB and Bluetooth gamepads, where the game instead of the special attacks, assigned the jump command on every button available. You can still perform the specials by using the d-pad (that works correctly for some reason), you will just have to try a little harder.
The beautiful artwork and all the visuals are something that won’t leave you indifferent as well. Regardless of your screen size, the graphics look crisp clear, colors and animated backgrounds blend in perfectly behind the blood splatters and all the shiny gold coins flying around. The scenery is simply amazing. Yes everything is in 2D, but I bet you won’t even notice that.
Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman is free to play up to level 10. Actually you can continue the quest even after you hit the level cap, but the game becomes progressively harder up to the point when you find it impossible to play. The 10 free levels will provide plenty of content and should give you a fair chance to decide if you like to purchase the rest of the game or not. Hexage decided to forget about IAPs and ads entirely, the only thing that you will actually need to pay for is one of the 3 game modes you can purchase. The cheapest one will remove the level cap, allowing you to continue your quest and complete the game. The other two will unlock the more advanced armor sets as well, and give you access to the arena, the dark side quest and the dark harvest game mode.
Should you try?
The Reaper: Tale of a Pale Swordsman is an exceptional title, no doubt about it, but it isn’t free. I will even go that far and call it an extended demo rather then free to play, however If you consider the low price tag and the fact that “Reaper” is completely free of any form of IAPs and ads, there is simply no reason to skip it. The game offers quite a lot of content, addictive gameplay and fully supports google game services, including achievements, global leaderboards and cloud saves. Let’s not forget the excellent replay value the game provides, luring you to come back and “experience the story from the other side”. As the initial cost is zero, I strongly suggest you try the game right now.
by Kiwi (Ivica K.)
|Cute graphics||Gamepad HID bugs|
|Addictive Action RPG|
|Good replay value|