Companions is a recent indie top-down RPG -ish strategy game for iOS. It is much more heavily a strategy game with old school gameplay mechanics. It can actually be challenging and quite difficult, if you haven’t played one of these before. It has the grid based navigation like a tower defense game. However, one gamer’s challenge can be another gamer’s annoyance.
In Companions there are two game modes, which are the quick play ‘Single Map’ mode, and the Campaign mode. Each of the members of the four person team has a little backstory. The controls are simple taps on the characters and then a tap on the enemies to attack. Each party member has three special skills that they can equip at a time. They are limited by cool down times as you would normally see.
Graphics are limited. It’s very pixelish. You don’t actually see your characters in three dimensions. They look like little icons, or pac men. I’m not one for retro style gaming, it might be a love it or hate it type of choice of tastes. I prefer the newest most cutting edge in graphics and gameplay. The old days don’t hold any charm for me. Also the characters are so tiny and hard to see, it is difficult to know what they are doing. For the amount of graphics that are here, it might as well be a text adventure.
There were a few things that bugged me with this game. Annoyingly your characters will not attack correctly unless they are in range of the enemies and facing the right direction it’s a pet peeve of mine. I thought we were done with that old problem, now that we’re using iPads. I don’t know what they were going for here when they have competition like Order and Chaos by Gameloft to contend with. The group formation and party-wide commands do make the game act more like a strategy game, or even a puzzle game than an RPG.
Another problem is that the four of them are always are always static Minotaur, Female Elf, Human, and Dwarf and are not customizable. There are three classes to choose from for each of the the races in the four member party that changes up their stats, but still not enough to make it interesting, or to keep up with other iOS games. This one still needs some work because when you tap a particular character and nothing happens it leads to unnecessary deaths.
Companions has an inventory system, with randomized drops falling you can collect loot. Although there isn’t any shop, yet anyways. There is a way to control time in the game which is different. Called a ‘tactical pause’ it stops the game while you set up. The time is limited, but it provides a work around for the other troubles in the game.
Though Companions isn’t a perfect game it will appeal to those who like strategy games and don’t mind a challenge. If you go into it without expectations you may find it to your liking. It has the retro ambiance to it that some people really like. For me it’s a Pass, perhaps until there are some updates.