Micro RPG, the review of a role-playing game at its lowest level



Exactly as the title refers, Micro RPG is really a kind of role-playing game reduced to the bare minimum: let’s get to know it in this review.

The reduction to the minimum terms is a concept studied in depth in mobile games, often succeeding in bringing out structures and gameplay able to adapt perfectly to the fruition on smartphones, between simplicity and study of the components for a good balance. The operation is not as simple as it might seem and achieving the right balance between the parts, building a game inside a nutshell, requires considerable art on the part of the developers, but when everything works you can find yourself in front of a miniature jewel.

In the review of Micro RPG we see how the goal has been almost fully achieved by JoliYeti Games, with the only drawback represented by a repetitiveness that inevitably comes within a few hours, but when you might think that the title has now reached its goal, as a free-to-play game from very short sessions.

Calling it a role-playing game would clearly be excessive, but the title “Micro RPG” may make sense as it manages to capture the essence of some elements of the genre, compacting them into a single repeated action that is based on clashing with enemies.

The part totally sacrificed is obviously the narrative one: there is no quest construction, dialogue or exploration in this micro-game, which condenses in a loop of a few seconds some typical features of the RPG with regard to the action on the battlefield, as well as the constant progression of the character based on the achievements in combat. The result is a game with a very simple structure, but with a well-designed mechanism, which also requires a minimum of skill and precision, able to provide a pastime for sessions “on the fly” much more structured than many idle games and similar mobile games. All represented, however, with a pleasant and welcoming style that integrates perfectly with the concept itself at the base of the game.

Between fights, loot and evolution

Micro RPG, images between combat gameplay and map

The founding elements of Micro RPG’s gameplay are the fights, the loot and the constant evolution of the character, which indeed can be considered fundamental characteristics of the role-playing game, if we don’t take into account the narrative and exploration parts. The mechanism is very simple and incredibly effective: the protagonist, of which various alternatives can be unlocked by advancing in the game, is placed in the center of the screen, surrounded by enemies at 360 degrees trying to approach and hit him. The action takes place in turns, and in the one reserved for the player there is a circular interface with a clockwise rotating arrow: the goal is to touch the screen at the right time to hit the enemies highlighted at that moment by the arrow, while in the opponent’s turn they try to move and hit the protagonist. You can carry a maximum of three weapons for each fight, which can be selected with the buttons at the bottom of the screen and modify the range of the attack in terms of distance from the protagonist, speed of rotation of the arrow and damage inflicted.

This very simple system is a surprisingly effective translation of the standard characteristics of the different RPG weapons, proposing the classic distinction between short, medium and long range as well as the different power of these and the precision required, all elements conveyed simply by the variation in the rotation of the arrow and in the positioning of the circle drawn by it. Each type of enemy also has its own behavior and specific attacks, as well as weaknesses or strengths that can be unhinged with the use of the right weapon, which requires a minimum of tactical approach in selecting the attack to use and the target to choose.

Micro RPG, more screenshots between fighting and weapon management

Each fight represents a box on the map to be completed and requires the achievement of a main objective and a secondary one, both centered on a certain amount and type of enemies to be killed within the number of turns set. The path leads up to the final confrontation with the boss of the level, and then moves on to a new area with a different setting and different enemies.

To this is added a basic management of the character, which allows a constant strengthening with the conquest of new weapons and upgrading of these, through the expenditure of various currencies in-game. Since this is a free-to-play, you understand where this is going to go, but to tell the truth Micro RPG does not seem to push so much on microtransactions. There is definitely a little ‘grinding, once past the first levels of acclimatization, but if you take in small doses and with the right pace you can not run into obvious paywall, despite the incremental mechanism is based heavily on spending, at least of the currencies earned simply by playing.

Comment

It’s amazing to see how in a tiny game like this you can find some basic components of a complex genre like the RPG, obviously cut and reduced to the bare minimum but still well interlocked to form a well thought out mechanism. The result is a work in which it is very easy to immerse yourself and advance for a good amount of games, perhaps carried out in the typical fruition hit and run of mobile titles, thanks to a steady and gradual progression and a system of monetization that does not force the compulsive purchase. The problem is the physiological repetitiveness of a structure always based on the same actions and that at some point also pushes to grinding, worsening this negative aspect until it reaches saturation after a short time. At this point, however, we can also say that Micro RPG has played its part in a convincing way.

PRO

  • A good minimization of some RPG elements
  • Simple but also reasoned and sensible
  • It’s easy to get into it and get caught up in the progression
  • Repetitiveness emerges after a few hours of play
  • There is some grinding that can add to the sense of repetition
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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