Legend of Ixtona differs from most KEMCO’s titles in a couple of ways; the first being that it is a turn-based SRPG instead of the standard turn-based battles they prefer to churn out. Second is the fact that Ixtona was developed by WorldWideSoftware rather than the usual suspects Exe Create and Hit-Point. While KEMCO specializes in making budget-friendly roleplaying games that are often forgettable, there are a few standouts (like Fernz Gate and Legend of the Tetrarchs). Legend of Ixtona has potential but it doesn’t quite match the heights of the previously mentioned titles.
The game begins with some frustration as you make your custom character. There aren’t that many customization options to choose from for your face, voice, hair, etc, but in my opinion, it’s good enough for this kind of game. As this is a mobile port, the menu controls clearly weren’t properly optimized as moving the directional pad doesn’t bring your cursor to some of the menu options shown on the screen. It took some random button pressing to discover that particular option was mapped to the right bumper, but not before pressing a button that kicked me back to the main menu, forcing me to restart the creation process once more. This happened in a few more places and could have been easily circumvented by either showing a button icon beside the options or just fixing the D-pad movement properly.
Once your character is created, you are thrust into the role of Kyle: crown prince of Ixtona. You won’t actually see your created character for a few missions. He is the driving force in another story that intersects with Kyle’s. As a long war campaign comes to an end and peace is settling across the land, Kyle’s half-brother Erbax assassinates the king and ascends the throne. He allows Kyle to live but in return, he banishes him along with his loyal guardian Logi to become the mayor of a small town far down south. Here you will have the chance to name the town and choose from one of two assistants to help you oversee things. At first, I was excited to have a cool town management system akin to Suikoden but it ended up being a shallow part of the game easily avoided. The only thing of note that you can do here is craft weapons and equipment but it is such a hassle that you’re much better off buying your gear from the other towns as you progress. You see, each crafted item has a racial rank based on the races in Ixtona, such as devils, angels, wildling, yada yada. You pay an increasing amount of gold to level up each rank, which in turn opens up more crafting options. Higher-end equipment often requires a certain level in multiple ranks in order to craft. Then the requisite materials are another pain altogether. If you want to get enough materials you can grind levels repeatedly and hope you get lucky or you can dispatch units to unlocked areas. Dispatched units require an amount of real-world time to return, but if you need them for a mission you can call them back immediately, though they won’t gather anything. Or you can say forget all that like I did and purchase equipment from towns minus all that hassle and are just as powerful as all but the highest-end craftables. Your choice.
The story beings promisingly enough, with a seemingly mature plot involving political assassinations and a journey to reclaim a kingdom. A few hours in and it all goes out the window. Shortly after Kyle becomes town mayor, he runs into your created character (let’s just refer to him as Fast Freddy) as he is wandering aimlessly in the woods. Freddy is exhausted and starving as he explains to Kyle how he is searching for the friends he lost, so Kyle offers his hospitality and promises to help him find his companions. As Kyle and co are forging alliances with other kingdoms, (SLIGHT SPOILERS) a new enemy comes into play and the story quickly devolves into a nonsensical and convoluted plot involving world-traveling elementals created to save the worlds by killing humanity. (END SPOILERS)
I won’t delve into further plot details but the whole thing was rather unsatisfactory, although some of the character interactions and dialogue are genuinely enjoyable. Luckily, if you get tired of it and want to speed through it as soon as possible, Ixtona can be completed in around nine hours if you want to do the sidequests and optional battles.
The combat is a barebones turn-based strategy experience. You won’t find any tactical systems in here like flanking bonuses of troop advantages. The only thing to watch out for is how certain terrain tiles affect unit movement. There are elemental affinities and evasion bonuses granted by certain terrain but the results are negligible playing on normal so I never paid them any heed. On the unit side of things, there is plenty to be happy about. You have a core cast of party members that join you along your journey and if you need more, you can build custom characters at the guilds that can be found in each town. As you can deploy more units in battle as the game progresses, you’ll need to hire more to fill out your ranks. You can only send custom made characters on dispatch as well, so all the more reason to hire hire hire. Winning battles grants a nice amount of XP to everyone, so you won’t have to worry about units falling behind, either. In addition to their main level, each character has a class level to go along with whatever class they may be. Not only does gaining class levels grant you useful passive abilities that you can assign to one of three slots, but once you meet the requirements you can unlock new classes for your character. Each main class has two branching paths followed by two more classes in each branch, for a total of five class variations (including your starter class). I like that once you unlock the class you can change them as you please from the menu, meaning that if you try out a new class but decide that you want to stick to the old one because the abilities suit your playstyle better, you can do so without penalty.
It may be quite basic, but Legend of Ixtona is a good entry point for people who are only just getting into SRPGS and want to start with something easy, gamers looking for a short, light-hearted romp in between bigger titles, or anyone who wants to find something new to play on the cheap. For the price of a movie and a popcorn, you could do worse.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 6/10
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