Runemals is one of the latest Windows Phone games from Game Troopers and places you on the mystical Rune Island. You discover a strange necklace that was your grandfathers and it opens the door to a fantasy adventure.
The adventure deals with training, collecting and battling a large collection of unique animals that possess certain elemental powers. Think of Pokémon, but with a more involved battle sequence and more power-ups, abilities and team combinations.
Graphics and animations are well drawn up, battles are intense and overall Game Troopers appears to have yet another hit in the Windows Phone Store. The Windows Phone game does require a data connection and has support for low-memory Windows Phones.
The opening few minutes of Runemals shares with you the game's storyline and a tutorial on battling your creatures and developing their abilities. In a nutshell, you are sifting through the attic and discover an old necklace that belonged to your Grandfather. The necklace awakens the runemals and you get to choose your first companion. You have three runemals to choose from that includes what appears to be a gecko, a fox-like creature and an octopus-like creature. Each with unique elemental powers (fire, earth and water respectively).
From there you take your new runemal for a walk in the woods (which is never good) and run into another runemal you must battle. Throughout the game, battles will generally consist of fighting a minion or lower-level creature then their boss. During this first fight, you will encounter a Runemal Trainer who will lend you his runemal to assist in the fight. He will eventually become your trainer and help walk you through other gaming tutorials.
Once you get past the opening sequence and tutorial, game play centers around a map of the island. Six navigational tiles run across the bottom of the screen and your player stats fill the top. Player stats include your gold count, gem count and energy level. Gold and gems are earned during game play and energy is required to battle other runemals. You begin with just over 4,000 units of energy and it will require at least 1,000 units to take on a quest, which likely results in a battle. Energy is replenished with time or you can use your coins to replenish your energy sooner.
Settings cover language support and muting the sound/music. The six navigational tiles include:
- Map Button: This button will display the island map. The areas of the map represent chapters of your story with several quests to tackle.
- Runemals: Here is your inventory of runemals. You can have up to six active runemals and in tapping a creature's icon, you can heal or revive them with potions. No worries if you don't have any healing potions, runemals will heal over time as well.
- Inventory: This screen will list the contents of your backpack that will include potions to heal your runemals, elixirs to replenish your energy and runes to capture runemals. If you need to purchase any of these items, a shopping cart icon will appear next to that item.
- The Fountain: If you aren't having any luck capturing runemals with the runes, you can feed the fountain's energy with crystals to earn runemals.
Again, quests will require energy to tackle and invariably end up with a battle between your runemal team and other runemals. Runemals are elemental based (fire, earth, wind, water, etc.) and combat begins with a bubble-burst style mini-game that will energize your runemal's elemental powers.
The layout of the battle screen has your elemental resources lining the left side of the screen, your enemy sitting at the top center and your runemal team listed just below. The bottom half of the screen is your bubble-burst game that is only exposed prior to each combat round.
The combat sequence runs something like this. You tap the gate that conceals the mini-game and have ten seconds to tap on as many groupings of three or more of the same tile. The tiles represent the elements and when collected will be used by your runemals in combat. Once the ten seconds pass, you will have to choose your runemal's combat action. Combat actions include defense, straightforward attack or a selection of attacks or defenses unique to that particular runemal.
Set your actions, tap the glowing sword that is just below your team icons and let the battle begin. Repeat the steps until all the enemy runemals are defeated or your runemals are defeated. Battles consist of at least one wave of minion runemals and a boss battle. The further you progress in the game, the more waves of lesser runemals you will face before battling the boss.
One thing to keep in mind with the battle sequences is that after each wave or battle, your elemental energy is depleted. In other words, nothing carries over from one battle to the next. You will have to tap extra hard to quickly build up your resources as your enemy becomes stronger with each wave.
After you defeat the boss runemal, your team will be awarded experience, increase their abilities and eventually evolve into a stronger species of runemal. You will also have the opportunity to capture runemals to add to your collection by using runes. Think of a rune as a poke ball but you will not have to battle the runemal to capture it. The game starts you off with two standard runes and you can buy more standard, as well as special runes (better chance of capture), from the gaming store.
Runemals is a fantastic Windows Phone game. Graphics and animations are well drawn-up and game play is challenging. I really like the use of a mini-game to build up your runemal's elemental powers prior to combat. Ten seconds goes by quick and you will be surprised how hard it is to find matches in such a short span of time.
The only issue I had with Runemals is the occasional server issues. When I first began playing the game, I would receive server errors throughout the game. In discussing the problems with Game Troopers, they were aware of the problems and have since corrected these issues. Over the past several days I, haven't had the first server error with Runemals.
Overall, if you like turn-based combat games with role-playing elements, you need to give Runemals a try. It does have a Pokémon feel to it but in a grittier, refined manner. Runemals, at last check, is rated at 4.5 stars in the Windows Phone Store, which is about where I would rate the game. If you have given Runemals a try, let us know what you think of things in the comments below.