It has to be said that I’m something of a JRPG fan. I love a nice deep engrossing storyline with loads of side-quests and interesting NPCs to meet. I like finding interesting and exotic weapons and customising my character with the best armour. I’m even quite fond of turn-based combat. It’s so awfully polite watching people take it in turns to hit each other like two city gentlemen debating who should enter the wine bar first.
Erin: The Last Aos Sí, a mobile game created by lone developer Daniel Franko, is a title which takes all the best elements of a JRPG and condenses them down into a nice compact package. It then throws that package into the bin, throws the bin into a dumpster and then sets fire to the dumpster. I guess that in a roundabout way, I’m suggesting this title is a bit of a dumpster fire.
You play as the titular Erin, and you are running. It’s not really explained what you’re running from or why, but it’s got glowing eyes. The game starts with a really cool looking pixelated sequence that’s clearly digitised live-action footage. It reminded me of a CD-ROM game from the ‘90s, and I enjoyed those. You go straight into a turn-based fight against some pixel art monsters, then Erin runs some more to get to another turn-based fight against some pixel art monsters. After this comes the exciting part: Erin runs some more before getting into a turn-based fight with some pixel art monsters. Are you noticing a pattern emerge here?
Essentially this game is a one-trick pony. It’s an RPG without any real story to speak of other than the very occasional page of text. There’s no dialogue, I never met another character, I never visited a town or a dungeon, and I never obtained any items. It seems to just literally be the combat element of a JRPG, cut down for a mobile and repeated ad-nauseum. If this game was an actor it would be Keanu Reeves, if it was a political party it would be UKIP. It does one thing and rigidly sticks to it without any deviation.
The combat is innovative enough, with each spell having a particular combination of symbols that can be pressed to activate it, followed by taps and swipes to set the power. Those symbols are pointless though as you can just open your spellbook and click on the spell by name instead. There’s no worry about speed as the game will pause and wait for you like it’s politely queuing for a bus.
There’s some nice looking pixel-art here, although it’s a little out of place on a screen so small, it does have a nice retro feel to it. There’s also some really nice ethereal sounding music. The audio is very mood-inspiring instrumental stuff that reminded me a bit of the early Final Fantasy titles or the Secrets series. If I was reviewing the soundtrack, it would be glowing, but sadly, the game itself just never made me want to play it.
Contrary to popular belief, I take no joy from lashing out at videogames, but there’s just nothing fun about this one at all. I genuinely thought that I was going to enjoy this title from the screenshots, and I wanted to like it as it’s clear that a lot of work has been put into making it look and sound polished. The uncomfortable truth however is that I had to force myself to play it. For a mobile game that's designed to be played in five minute bursts on the loo, that’s a real problem. Ultimately, I ended up finding more enjoyment in the evacuation of my bowels than I did with the game I was playing to pass the time during said egestion.
Erin: The Last Aos Sí (Reviewed on Android)
The game is unenjoyable, but it works.
I really wanted to like this game. It’s a nice polished interface with pretty artwork and nice sound. But the creator has forgotten to include a game with any meaningful content. Sadly, I can’t recommend this as it’s just no fun to play.