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Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia

For: iPhone

Low emission

Product: Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia | Developer: Gamevil | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia iPhone, thumbnail 1
A successful hybrid offers the strengths of two different things and none of their weaknesses.

Hybrid vehicles, for instance, provide the speed and manoeuvrability of a petrol car with the efficiency of an electric ride. Plumcots offer the sweetness of an apricot with the protective skin of a plum.

For an action role-playing game like Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia, it's reasonable to expect the intense combat of an old skool hack 'n' slash adventure combined with the versatility of touch controls.

Rather than amplifying its strengths, however, many of the game's weakness are accentuated in this iPhone and iPod touch port. Tired gameplay ideas and rigid menus make a questionable combination.

Thanks for the memories

The hero Grey returns to save the day, this time his attention drawn to the beautiful Fairy who aided his mission to prevent the destruction of the world Platina in the first game. She's missing, and finding her means traversing parallel dimensions and travelling through time to restore crumbling civilisations and fight dark, destructive forces.

It's an intimidating tale, even if you managed to complete the first game. While Hybrid 2 manages to avoid the convolution of its predecessor, it's not as straightforward in its storytelling.

Characters, places, and scenarios are given little or no explanation under the assumption that you've played the original. This makes a steep narrative hill to climb for the newcomer, but it's equally vexing if you can't remember the minute details of the first game's warped storyline.

Keyed in

Much of this can be overlooked by mashing a thumb on the screen to skip through dialogue, leaving you to enjoy the action.

Battles occur in real time as you traverse 2D stages connected at the edges of the screen. Unlike the original, which demanded clearing an area of enemies in order to gain access to a new area, here you're able to walk from one stage to the next slashing at foes with taps of a virtual button trio.

A new control scheme and revised interface tease a more responsive combat system, yet Hybrid 2 feels rigid.

Effort has clearly been invested in the movement controls, which are better suited to iPhone and iPod touch than the original. However, it's abundantly clear that the game has been adapted and was initially designed with a keypad in mind.

Viewing information on the map, for instance, requires use of directional arrows to move a cursor. The inability to tap directly on a location or set a waypoint is disappointing. Menus for inventory, stats, and skills employ icons and options that are unnecessarily small.

Putting the "ack" in backtrack

It's conceivable that you could tolerate these and other shortcomings in light of the game's action, although even this has issues. Hybrid 2 doesn't deviate or embellish on the first game's combat mechanics in a substantial way, making it little more than a rehash.

The new connected stage structure - allowing you to move from one area to the next at will - has encouraged the lazy level design. Annoying missions involve frequent backtracking, much of which takes you through areas with enemies that offer too little experience to be worth your time. It's common to journey from one end of a map to the other, only to be told to do it again after a few short seconds of conversation.

Kudos to developer Gamevil for making the most of it, but Hybrid 2 is approaching the limit with regard to mobile-to-iPhone ports. Controls thankfully aren't a problem, yet the overall design is a relic from a time past.
Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 9 September 2010
Hybrid 2 is a playable, though clearly outdated action RPG that can't shake the sense that it's not at home on iPhone
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