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The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect

For: iPhone

Tolkien the mickey

Product: The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect | Developer: Gilligames | Publisher: Gilligames | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect iPhone, thumbnail 1
Although they share the same basic DNA, the Western and Japanese role-playing game have different approaches when it comes to character development.

While the Japanese prefer to create distinct heroes with complicated back stories, plenty of personal demons to face and hair so spiky it could take out your eye, their Western counterparts tend to create protagonists that are little more than blank canvasses - a strategy which allows you to put yourself more readily into the leather breeches of the hero.

The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect takes this to the next level. Its characters are little more than anonymous pawns in a deadly game of war, and once they bite the dust they are simply replaced with fresh recruits.

Fresh blood

As such, you don’t bond with these warriors; they're no more than commodities in your quest to overcome the evil that threatens the land. The only constant is the alluring Betha, an attractive young lass kind enough to provide narration during the introduction.

Treating characters like nameless cattle isn’t reason enough to dismiss The Pantheon Cycle, however. Rather than aiming to be a role-playing game, it's more content with the label of turn-based strategy. In this regard, it's a reasonable game that manages to capture the fetid ambiance of table-top war.

Some may even say that the game follows the pen-and-dice format too closely, as both the warriors you control and their nefarious opponents lack animation; they’re simply static pieces which slide around the hexagonal board.

Simple is as simple does

You select a character with a tap and move them with a second tap on any highlighted space. Action points decide how much a character can do before their turn is over.

Like all good strategy titles, The Pantheon Cycle has a keen sense of progression. Veteran characters become more powerful as the game moves forward and new combat units offer up fresh and intriguing offensive options.

Unfortunately, much of the enjoyment is sapped away by dumb enemy behaviour. No matter what you happen to be fighting – be it slavering zombie or fearsome knight – your rival’s actions are entirely predictable.

Enemies often rush towards the character closest to them, ignoring potentially easier targets nearby. Indeed, one of the best ways to guarantee triumph is to use your strongest fighter as a buffer, setting them up to absorb enemy attacks while you have other units fire projectiles.

Take the bait

The plain presentation doesn't help make the game feel any more sophisticated. Aside from the stunning lack of animations, the overall quality is that of a 1994 PC strategy title pasted together with bitmap images rather than a slick iOS title from 2011.

Despite the ropey graphics and gameplay shortcomings, The Pantheon Cycle remains a decent enough romp for fantasy fans. There's plenty of hours of play here, at least granting the game commendation for value.

It’s far from perfect, but it’s sure to bring a warm feeling to the hearts of dedicated D&D players who fondly recall burning the midnight oil in their parents' dingy basements.
The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 28 January 2011
The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect offers in-depth turn-based strategy, but carries one too many shortcomings to be recommended beyond the hardcore
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