Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review: Inflation RPG

Inflation RPG is the latest release from Japanese developer Tatsuki who is previously known for such mobile classics as クッキー大量破壊!!! and level gauge, both of which have been described by the developer as "exhilarating" and "appealing to the gut", respectively. Stomach issues aside, Inflation RPG has less to do with bloating and more to do with a somewhat satirical take on role-playing conventions. Though Inflation RPG is mindless and shallow, it still manages to entertain.

As the typical anime hero, it is your job to do battle with all sorts of creatures both mythical and not. Enemy types are surprisingly varied with multiple types in each area. Still, it will take you quite some time to see them all. This is due to the game's central mechanic which, depending on your point of view, may be considered a drawback.

Each time you start a new game, you are given a total of 30 battles to fight. This may seem counter-intuitive, considering how nearly every RPG seems to expect a commitment of 60 hours. And you may very well spend just that long playing Inflation RPG altogether, as each individual game lasts around 5 minutes, making for an excellent pick-up-and-play experience.

Despite calling itself a role playing game, it is that in name only. There is absolutely no story and combat lacks any depth whatsoever. Success is entirely determined based on your stats which you should be upgrading after every battle if you hope to get anywhere in the game. Worse, after each time you die, your stats are reset to zero and you lose all money you've gained during a session. This is balanced out by allowing you to permanently keep your weapons so it isn't as much of a hindrance as it may feel at first.

Random encounters are also handled uniquely, most similarly to games like Dragon Quest 7 and Chrono Trigger. While you aren't able to see your enemies, there is a progress bar which displays how likely you are to encounter a monster, filling up as you traverse the landscape. While monster characters displayed on screen would be preferable, it is still nice to have some idea when the next encounter is going to happen.

With only 30 battles to fight, the player is required to think strategically in order to optimize each play through. While most RPGs would have you fighting low-level enemies for hours just to reach the next level, Inflation RPG can have you reaching anywhere from 12 to 120 levels per fight. If you have any hope of reaching those higher level bosses, strategic grinding is a must. And yes, there are bosses. Although fights with them are the same as other encounters, winning a battle with them does score you a few extra battle points which is helpful when trying to obtain higher level equipment.

While it may have art reminiscent of the classic Nintendo-era Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest series, it's really best to think of Inflation RPG in more modern terms. The gameplay has far more to do with obtaining upgrades, making it much more similar to games such as Achievement Unlocked & Diablo. While this style of game is admittedly not for everyone, it does make for a fun way to pass the time as long as you don't mind being a filthy casual.

Download for Android | iOS

Developer: Tatsuki
Publisher: Tatsuki


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