NEW YORK – Mobile gamers can now immerse themselves in a nostalgic throwback to pixel role-playing games (RPGs) with "Guardian Tales" (Kakao Games), an homage to the classic "Legend of Zelda" series.
Fantasy violence and a few slightly profane expressions, however, make this clever, lighthearted title unsuitable for little kids.
Guardians are special knights with a sworn duty to protect the realm of Kanterbury and especially its royal family. When the monstrous Invaders attack, the player's guardian must help Eva, the captain of the corps, escort Queen Camilla and the princess to safety. But a devastating blow leaves the four of them separated.
Now stranded deep in the forest, the guardian must recruit allies along the journey to save the royals and reclaim the land before it's destroyed. Each area is a new level filled with various environmental puzzles, hidden pathways and tough boss battles.
The combat mechanics are straightforward, with guardians using swords, shields or magic to fight against woodland fiends.
The artistic blend of 2D illustrations alongside the retro pixelated style contributes to what makes this mobile game unique. The dialogue also is comical and charming, with several one-liners alluding to notable RPGs.
In addition to the story campaign, gamers also can participate in player-versus-player modes (PVP) in the Arena and Colosseum. Parties of three heroes are pitted against friends or online gamers in real-time combat.
Parents should be aware that there is a function where players can send text messages into a general chat room, which may expose children to inappropriate exchanges. The chat room is accessible to any gamer currently logged in to the online server.
Every guardian also is given access to a floating castle that can be customized and used as a social hub for the heroes they have acquired. There are over 50 heroes and over 100 different weapons to collect.
"Guardian Tales" is free to download. But there are optional in-app purchases for cosmetic items and upgrades.
Playable on Android and iOS.
The game contains frequent bloodless violence and occasional mild oaths. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.