Pocket RPG review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Tasty Poison Games
Developer: Tasty Poison Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

As much as I love my Vita, even I have to admit there are a few areas in which the selection is a little less than optimal. Take dungeon crawlers, for instance. Even though a Diablo-like game would be perfect for the handheld, we haven’t really seen any. There was Dungeon Hunter: Alliance at launch, and (sort of) Silent Hill: Book of Memories not too long after, but since then, it’s been pretty much nothing. (Don’t even get me started on that whole Warrior’s Lair/Ruin fiasco.)

Pocket RPG is, obviously, not Diablo. The story isn’t as deep, the options aren’t as varied, and the graphics are about what you’d expect from a game that got its start in the mobile realm. If you go into it looking for a Diablo replacement, in other words, you’re going to be pretty disappointed.

Pocket RPG 2

If, however, you go in simply hoping for a well-made dungeon crawler that’s been built for playing on the go, then you’ll find Pocket RPG more than does the job. The levels are large enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, but at the same time they’re not so huge that you can’t get through them during a medium-length commute. Likewise, while the controls aren’t particularly complex (it’s basically one button to swing your weapons, and one to jump and smash down with your weapons), the game still calls on you to take a strategic approach — you could try hacking and slashing your way through levels, but that will just mean near-instant death the moment you reach a boss fight.

In fact, if we’re talking about strategy, it’s worth noting that Pocket RPG requires players to think strategically not just during individual levels, but also over the course of the game. None of the money or weapons you earn in one level carry over to the next, but your skills do, which means that you’re constantly figuring out how to optimize what your character can do, while at the same time hunting for new weapons combos that will create the most damage. While some may find that a little annoying, I think it’s a neat wrinkle that keeps you on your toes throughout the game.

Pocket RPG 1

Clearly, that’ll be cold comfort for anyone hoping for Diablo-lite on the Vita; as I said before, it’s not that. But Pocket RPG is fun enough on its own merits rather than being disappointed by what it isn’t, it’s worth enjoying it simply taking the time and appreciating it for what it is.

Grade: A-