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SEED 2: Vortex of War

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Role-playing lain fallow

Product: SEED 2: Vortex of War | Developer: CH Games | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0
SEED 2: Vortex of War iPhone, thumbnail 1
SEED 2: Vortex of War and famous interviewer Barbara Walters have one thing in common: no matter how soft a filter is applied, there's no hiding the age of these old standards when viewed through a high-definition lens.

Old skool style has reached its limit in SEED 2. This is a game that's visibly outdated, the softened graphics highlighting its age rather than making it fresher.

The gameplay is rooted in antiquated conventions: the prevalence of fetch quests, an unlikeable skill system, and rigid controls.

You reap what you sow

It's not surprising that SEED 2 is a poor fit for iPhone and iPod touch given its origin as a low resolution mobile game. That immediately puts it at a disadvantage, which is only exacerbated by mediocre design that relies too much on level grinding and fetch quests.

What the game does well is storytelling. As the youthful hero Litta, you're drawn back into war with the forces of evil. The plot is intimately tied to the events of the first instalment, though it's handled with enough skill to ensure that you're able to embark on Litta's adventure without any prior knowledge of the series.

To be clear, it's not a captivating saga, but the moderately interesting story is a decent motivation to stick it out.

Tilled by hand

The problem, as with so many of these mobile-to-iPhone role-playing ports, is a failure to tailor the mechanics for hassle-free play.

A rigid D-pad makes for jittery movement and the tiny hotkey buttons that line the edges of the screen are difficult to hit in the heat of battle. It often takes more than one tap to activate a hotkey.

Some menus are acceptable, while others aren't. Upgrading Litta's core attributes - strength, dexterity, vitality, etc. - is easy enough thanks to large virtual buttons in the status menu. However, managing your inventory is more troublesome.

Four diminutive inventory icons fit within the space of a fingertip, which naturally means it's altogether too easy to select the wrong item when sifting through your inventory. Bigger icons or a new inventory system would eliminate the problem.

Quest failed

Had these interface and control issues been addressed, SEED 2 would still have to contend with flawed game design. An over-reliance on fetch quests - collecting a set number of items that are randomly dropped by enemies - weighs down the experience. 

A needlessly complicated skill system demonstrates the game's commitment to depth, while at the same time supporting the view that SEED 2 is past its prime.

Unlocking skills requires levelling up to acquire skill points. However, in order to spend these points you have to learn skills from characters in the game. It's entirely possible to load up on skill points and not have any skills on which to spend those points - a setup that's not enjoyable, to be frank.

There's much to relish in the amount of customisation that exists in the game and the depth that brings, but it's not enough to overcome the mishandled presentation and clunky controls. You can squeeze some fun from SEED 2, but with far better role-playing games available there's little reason to bother.
SEED 2: Vortex of War
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 28 September 2010
Fuzzy, outdated graphics appropriately reflect the worn and improperly tailored gameplay of SEED 2: Vortex of War
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