When it comes to RPGs on the App Store, the good ones can seem few and far between. If you're a big console gamer like myself, It's hard to make the adjustment to playing an RPG on a phone because the platform is so different and seemingly takes away a lot of the things you may love RPGs. Playing on the small screen means the expansive worlds are smaller, the stories are shorter, and the controls are much simpler, which can all take away much of the appeal of an RPG.
If you're a gamer, you may be turned off by Djinn Caster because it's published by Kemco — and I wouldn't blame you. After all, they've pumped out some pretty lackluster titles in the past. But Djinn Caster is worth a look!
Story & Setting
Djinn Caster takes place in a setting that isn't super typical of most RPGs (especially previous Kemco titles), and it's a breath of fresh air. You're thrust into a middle-eastern-like desert setting that's entirely reminiscent of Aladdin, with all the sandstorms, Sultans, and scimitars to boot!
While this may seem like a minor detail, I was very pleasantly surprised that this wasn't another action RPG that's set in some ancient, lush Final Fantasy-esque world that has every type of climate you can imagine. We've seen far too many of those, that any deviation is welcome.
When it comes to storytelling, Djinn Caster starts off a little weak but becomes incredibly strong as the game goes along.
You start the adventure as the Young Elmir (or another name is you choose) who is running away from the Sultan's guards with his good friend Jameel after causing some mischief. As you split up, you come across another man being attacked by the guards and before his dying breath he hands Elmir a fancy looking dagger. As it turns out, the dagger is actually an ancient mystically weapon that can harness the power of the Djinn and the Sultan will kill to get his hands on it.
I told you it started of a little weak, and I regret to inform you that through for the first 30 or 40 minutes of its hard to pay attention because nothing super exciting happens; however if you stick it out the plot thickens quickly and takes a very interesting turn. After about an hour of playing through the story, I was hooked.
Djinn Caster doesn't offer anything groundbreaking to the action RPG genre, but it provides a fun and smooth experience throughout the game.
Usually, on-screen analog sticks frustrate the living daylights out of me, but the controls in Djinn Caster were very responsive. On occasion, my finger would slip, and the screen would register a different action than the one I had intended, but it never happened enough for me to take much notice.
The combat is a little dry. Although the enemies are tougher and you should probably expect a game over or two along your adventure, the battles do seem to get somewhat repetitive even as you get further in your journey. It's always a combination of running around, mashing the attack button, and activating your special abilities at the opportune moments.
That being said, the gameplay is smooth overall, and other than the occasional two or three-second loading screen for new areas, you can play Djinn Caster at a blistering high-speed pace, making some of the monotonous combat feel much more energetic.
Design & Sound
The level design of the cities and towns you come across in Djinn Caster are truly beautiful. Each market is bustling with characters running to and fro in the background, and the buildings are different colorful shapes that give the entire town a breath of life.
Sometimes, even important characters don't pop out of the background or draw attention to themselves causing them to hide in plain sight. It makes the odd time you're looking for someone specific in any given city a welcome challenge, but more importantly, it clever disguises who is relevant to the story and who is not. You interact with a lot of people in Djinn Caster, and a lot of RPGs are guilty of making significant characters look out of place to the world around them. It's nice to see Djinn Caster avoid this common practice.
More often than not, the soundtrack fades into the game seemingly undetectable, which is both good and bad. The good part is the soundtrack is appropriate and changes to fit the pace of what is going on in the game. The bad part is there were a couple of instances during some key plot twists in the story where the music cut out altogether, and I didn't even notice until after a couple of minutes . In other words, the soundtrack didn't add enough to my experience to be outstanding or memorable at any point.
- Smooth and fast gameplay
- Refreshing setting
- Story is compelling
- Combat is a little repetitive
- The narrative is slow to start
Djinn Caster is an above average action RPG that makes use of an untraditionally setting and with the exception of the start, has some serious storytelling chops.
The combat is a little bland for my liking, as it involves a lot of repetitive button-mashing, but it's layered with lots of abilities, special attacks, and different items to keep things interesting enough never to get truly boring.
I bought this game when it was $7.99 when it first launched, and I'll admit, that figure is a little steep; however, it seems the price is now discounted to $4.99, and I think that's a reasonable sum.
What's your opinion?
Have you played Djinn Caster already? Will you play it in the future? I want to know! leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter and tell me what you think!
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.