On paper Chain Chronicle is one of those tablet/mobile games that I normally avoid like the plague. You know the ones I mean. Please download our free software – which periodically pesters you to empty your wallet on micro transactions. Have fun playing our game – but you’ll have to cease your activity after a few minutes because the onscreen energy bar has been exhausted. This Sega published game is guilty of utilizing those annoying mechanics, but unlike the countless Farmville clones and card games that pollute the Apps Store this one is actually fun. Chain Chronicle has been a hit in its native Japan and now Western gamers can give it a go to see what all the fuss is about.
I would best describe Chain Chronicle as a tower defence/RPG hybrid. Each level has you commanding a party of seven characters who must do their level best to prevent the advancing wave of enemies from breaching the barricade situated on the right hand side of the screen. The simple to learn controls remind me of Mika Mobile’s Battleheart. Issuing commands is as simple as tapping on a faithful minion followed by quickly pressing down on the foe you wish to smack. Characters can execute special moves, provided that you have accumulated sufficient mana, by hitting the special skill button located at the foot of the iPad display. My, how I wish that performing special attacks in Street Fighter were that simple.
When assembling a party, players should take note of each character’s class. Like in most fantasy games clerics are responsible for healing their comrades, wizards/archers specialise in dealing ranged damage, soldiers attack with melee weapons and knights come equipped with shields that can block projectiles. New characters can be recruited by completing certain quests, opening card packs that are purchasable with gold or by exchanging the valuable fortune rings you accrue on your travels. When a new character enlists in your army they start off as a level one weakling who will have to be built up by participating in battle, upgrading their weapons and endowing them with experience points (which is accomplished by sacrificing unwanted warriors.) Ouch, the life of an RPG character is harsh. Getting sacked is bad enough, but to rub salt in the wound you get turned into experience fodder to power up your replacement.
Overall I have to say that I have been impressed with Chain Chronicle. It’s an entertaining time waster that can be played in quick bursts… until the dreaded energy bar hits zero forcing you to wait a few hours for your next turn. Rationing out the game time may however be a blessing in disguise, as it keeps the simplistic gameplay from getting repetitive. The main story, although generic, is decent and includes plenty of side quests that flesh out the game’s huge roster of characters. On the visual front I dug the anime portraits that appear during cut scenes in addition to the cute super deformed character designs used to represent your troops during combat.
My rating for Chain Chronicle is a four out of five. As far as RPGs go it’s no Dragon Age beater, but when compared to other freebie mobile titles it’s certainly above average. The real time combat makes Chain Chronicle a more stimulating experience than other free to play titles on the market (many of which are nothing more than glorified spreadsheets.) Having maxed out one of my characters and completed all the story chapters, released thus far, I can also vouch for the game being truly free to play. I have not been hamstrung by my decision not to buy stuff from the game’s store… and just as well because the consumable items they sell are ridiculously expensive.