The original Zenonia, from Gamevil, was one of the early mobile games to show that mobile gaming was no longer a gimmick but something that was in the process of becoming a serious business. And since the original, which was short and had weird difficulty spikes but was nevertheless very enjoyable, we’ve had five main Zenonia games and now the latest offering, Zenonia S: Rifts In Time, which Gamevil has decided to go the MMO route with. Unfortunately, it’s a missed opportunity.

Gone is the semi-free roam aspect of the past Zenonia games and instead what we have is a dungeon rush of sorts full of the usual Mobile MMO trappings such as item enhancing, instant-level clearing and spending real money to buy premium currency. Now, if a game has some flair, whenever it’s graphically, feature wise or has a decent, well-told plot then this at least the familiarity feels worthwhile. Otherwise it just has the same old, same old feeling and it’s this what Zenonia S starts to feel like.

IMG_0147 Graphically Zenonia S is mediocre. Gone is the charming pixel art from the past games and been replaced by something bland with muted colours. The enemies have a bit of imagination to them in terms of appearance and the weapon and skill effects look nice but it’s hard to appreciate it when everything overall just looks so drab and squashed.

Music was never Zenonia’s strongest point but the tunes did have a humming quality to them. Not so this time round, it’s largely forgettable here and the sounds (again something Zenonia wasn’t known for) are recycled and thus repetitive.

As for Playing Zenonia S, it’s pretty much a big chance you’re going to use the auto function after the first few stages, and this is because you don’t need to play manually as long as your equipment and stats are good enough and it’s just far more effective to let the AI take over. Sure playing manually may help you get through those difficult stages via hit and run tactics, but this just makes Zenonia S become a drag to play. While some various modes like Monster Wave, Raid and PvP help flesh it out somewhat, you can also rely on Auto for these if you’re powerful enough. Zenonia S is almost like a top-down auto-RPG in some regards. Which is a shame as an open-world MMO version of Zenonia could have been fantastic.

IMG_0151And the plot…well you may stop caring about it after experiencing the first quest, where you have to help rescue a girl hanging from a roof by getting the only ladder in the village…Which happens to be in a forest dungeon. Yeah…

Zenonia S is not a horrible game despite how this review may sound. On its own it’s a decent game and it is generous in rewarding you (you can actually get VIP levels, without spending real money). It’s just as a Zenonia game that it feels mediocre and that Gamevil messed up something that could have been a bit special.

Download Zenonia S: Rifts in Time on the App Store.

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