April 14, 2011

A Return to Roots

Lasting First Impressions of Ash from SRRN Games

Ash Logo Classic games such as Final Fantasy, Ultima, Phantasy Star, and Dragon Quest forged the ever popular RPG genre laying the groundwork that would eventually bring us such modern hits as Dragon Age, Lost Odyssey, and Mass Effect.  Since the days of the original Final Fantasy are long behind us, it is a rare find to come across a new RPG boasting the same quality and look of the pioneers.  Enter Ash from SRRN Games, a brand new Role Playing Game available now for iOS that both looks, feels, and plays like our beloved classics.  Fans of the traditional turn-based RPGs are in for quite a treat with this one.

I first learned of this title while attending PAX East in early March where I met the team behind this game and I was anxious to sit down to play it.  I have been an avid fan of RPG titles since playing the first Final Fantasy to appear in North America for Super Nintendo.  I will spend hours on end playing RPGs and discovering everything the game has to offer, so it was with much anticipation that I installed Ash to my iPad and began to play.

At first I was a little disappointed to find the game was not a universal app (it isn’t contain a larger resolution of the game for native play on the iPad), but, using the native pixel-doubling capability of the iPad, the game can still be played full screen.  I must say, however, that this game actually scales up on the iPad beautifully and my initial disappointment was quickly appeased. It is clear that this game was designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch displays so I will review it based on that and not on my experience in playing it on the iPad.

Ash Screen 1

The folks at SRRN Games have poured a great deal of care and love into this game and have successfully delivered a true sibling to the classic 16-bit era of gaming. Everything about this game harkens back to the days of old-time RPG gaming; from the visuals to the music to the epic gameplay, this game just screams nostalgia.

The translation of this style of game to the touch screen has been carefully crafted to deliver a most satisfying and uncomplicated control scheme:  Movement of the characters is simply a matter of holding in the direction you want to move; during battle, tap the enemy you wish to fight; drag items from your inventory to your character to equip/unequip them.  The controls are intuitive and just make sense.

While my initial playtime isn’t nearly enough time to establish the enormity of Ash’s storyline, it was definitely enough to know this is the kind of RPG I initially fell in love with and SRRN Games has brought back a lost love.  Not only that, but now I can take it with me wherever I am!  SRRN Games has proved with Ash that a good RPG doesn’t need highend graphics and fancy animations to deliver an epic storyline with huge battles and a satisfying experience.

Every fan of classic RPGs owes it to themselves to check this game out.  There is even a Lite version of the game available on the App Store if you want to try before you buy, but you won’t be disappointed.

SRRN Games, I gave you an hour and I am highly IMPRESSED. Thank you for bringing back the classics! I will anxiously look forward to the release of Ash 2.

BONUS: I have 3 codes to give away for a free copy of Ash.  Submit a comment below and tell me the first RPG you ever played and your favourite classic or modern RPG and why.  On April 17th, I will randomly pick 3 winners from those who enter.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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  1. Kevin Dorff

    First RPG was Telengard on the C64. Loved it, even modified the game and fixed some bugs. My current favorite RPG is probably Mass Effect 2.

  2. I’d never considered getting an iPhone before, but after meeting you guys at GDC and hearing so much about your game, I now find myself seriously considering upgrading from my (now) ancient phone just so that I can play Ash.

    RPGs were always my first love when it comes to video games, going back to Venture for Coleco when I was like 5 years old. Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior and Phantasy Star were some of my first favorites and my love for classic games of that caliber endure.

    These days I have less time, but RPGs like Neverwinter Nights and Elder Scrolls, still dominate my attention and free time. Now I have the pleasure of teaching my own 5-year old son about the awesomeness of my own childhood.

  3. Terry Brown

    My first RPG was NetHack on the PC, I didn’t really understand it all that well since I was 7 when I played it, but it was still my first. My favorite RPG is Final Fantasy X because it took me forever to beat it. Each time I got close to finishing, something would happen and either someone would delete my save file, or something would happen to the memory card and it would be corrupted. I found something new and entertaining I didn’t realize was there each time I replayed through it, until I finally beat it a few years ago.

  4. Sean Evans

    I absolutely loved Final Fantasy X as well. It’s probably my favourite FF game of all of them. I played it through twice completely and loved every minute of it. I remember spending many days finding all the ultimate weapons for each character.

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