by Lord Badger
Yes, yes I know I am reviewing a mobile game what the hell is happening? I have shown my disdain for mobile games in the past for being nothing more than thinly-veiled cash grabs but when the opportunity to review RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone, a tabletop inspired RPG, landed in my inbox I was intrigued.
Developed by Wimo Games a studio made up of “AAA and mobile veterans at Electronic Arts, GREE, KingsIsle, and Zynga“. The studio certainly has some pedigree amongst its ranks so I thought I should at least check it out. Can RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone change my views on mobile gaming?
The village of Whitestone has been at peace for over 500 years. Suddenly the Twilight Army, a nefarious force made up of Orcs and Shadow Elves, attack. It is up to you to rally together a team of Heroes made up of wizards, warriors and rogues to defeat this infernal menace. With over 60 heroes to recruit, unique dice to obtain and gear to upgrade there is no end to the possible combinations of your party.
When Wimo Games said that RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone was inspired by tabletop gaming they weren’t messing about. You roll a 6 sided dice to see how many spaces you move around the board. each space has a different event on it. It could be a bit of background lore, an NPC interaction, story progression, treasure, a fight or more. You may even find yourself having to roll a 20 sided dice in a DnD style skill check on some tiles.
The top left of the screen shows your current objective (and which tile you need to land on) and you simply roll the dice and progress. Land on a fight tile and you will take on a band of orcs and elves. Land on a story tile and you will have a choice to make on how you approach the next bit of the story. There are so many more tile spaces such as the forge etc but I am not going to go into them here or this review will take days to read.
Combat itself is fairly simple and effective. Turn-based combat is determined by a characters speed. A yellow bar fils up in between goes. The first one to fill their bar gets to attack. When it comes to attacking pick a skill then pick who you are going to hit. To be fair I am making that sound incredibly simple and at its core it is. The complexity comes later as you start to recruit more heroes and begin to build your party around complimenting skills.
Overall the gameplay is quite interesting and fun. A tabletop gaming style progression through the story with choose your own adventure style events married alongside Raid shadow legends style combat. It all comes together perfectly. Not sounding like much of a mobile game right now, is it? How about if I told you each roll of the dice costs 1 energy? Yep, that old mobile game mechanic. Energy can be refilled by buying potions or watching ads (There they are!)
You can see from the ingame screenshots in the review that RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone looks great. the colour scheme of each area works perfectly alongside the character models. The gameboard looks fantastic. everything is just so spot on. even the small things like seeing the tiles rotate and change when you progress.
The UI contains all the information you need without being intrusive. I am amazed by how far and how quick mobile games have progressed that these graphics are considered standard now!
now this isn’t a section I usually include in my reviews but since it is a mobile game review I feel it is important. Throughout my entire time playing RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone I haven’t come across an actual paywall or anything. it does seem that the entire game is able to be played for free.
There are your usual pop-ups of $9.99 newcomer bundles and $19,99 epic bundles when you log in every day. 7 yes SEVEN different stores utilising six different currencies. To be fair most of these currencies can be earned in the gauntlet, dungeon or arena (each one has its own currency). The main currency in the game is gems. There are a variety of packages available to purchase gems ranging from 500 gems for $4.99 all the way up to 12000 gems for $99.99!
There are 2 different “Benefits” packages that provide a whole host of ingame items such as dragon coins, summoning scrolls and VIP points. One package is $4.99 a month whilst the other is $9.99 a month. Oh yeah, I sort of dropped VIP points in there too. Every time you purchase an offer from the store you receive VIP points. the higher your VIP level the more items are available to buy in the store. Do you want that awesome doublet in the store for your favourite character? You gotta buy those offers with real cash so you can reach VIP level 4 so you can buy it! This right here ladies and gentlemen is why I hate mobile gaming.
RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone is a great little game. In fact, it is so good I would genuinely like to see a co-op console version. Imagine Mario party meets DnD. It would be awesome. The problem here is that RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone is a mobile game. So all that hard work in creating a great game with a good story and some brilliant game mechanics quickly comes undone when monetisation gets applied.
I would happily pay £15 for this game if it was an online co-op game on console. Hell, after a fair few hours on it I would probably buy some cosmetics as a way of saying thank you. New boards and characters could be added buy selling expansions to the game. I think it would honestly do really well.
Limiting how much I can play by using energy to roll the dice. Locking items off in the store because I am not high enough VIP level is a disgusting practice. I thought I would give mobile gaming another chance because I have avoided it for so long and yet here I am, feeling dirty, after yet another session of playing “how can we open your wallet”.
I get games development needs to be funded and that studios need to make a profit in order to expand and advance gaming. I do! It is why my feelings on DLC has changed over the last 10 years. Console gaming seems to, on a whole, have learnt how and when to implement DLC. Yes, there are some exceptions and they are generally found in the free to play category. But RPG Dice: Heroes of Whitestone is genuinely a solid 7/10 game until the monetisation department got its grubby little mitts on it. Whatever vestiges of a good game where here are now forever soiled by greed and that make me weep for the developers who worked so hard on creating a good game.