Zenonia 4 is a dungeon-crawling pocket RPG with cutesy cartoon graphics, masses of quests to slog through, and a slightly broken control system. The Zenonia series is nothing if not consistent
Every new iteration has been met with similar praise and criticism, doing little to correct the faults of its predecessor.
And so we come to the fourth in the series, which sees main protagonist Regret dallying with death, time travel, and the existential angst that's inherent to his breed of spiky haired, sword-wielding hero.
Fourth time's the charm
Zenonia 4, like its older siblings, owes its style to The Legend of Zelda. It's an almost-top-down hack and slasher with closely bordered playing areas, chests full of potions and goodies, and plenty of generic creatures to slice into lumps with your mighty sword.
You can choose between four different classes – the aforementioned sword-wielder, a ranger with some hefty long range weaponry, a spell casting squishy mage, and a sneaky damage-dealing rogue.
After some preamble, you're thrown into an epic quest to defeat an evil overlord, wandering around a massive world broken down into beautifully designed realms and bite-sized fetch and carry quests. You have a fairy helper who follows you around and points you in the right direction, too.
Fairy odd parents
The controls are still a problem, with a touchscreen D-pad favoured over a more conventional floating stick. It makes moving around the world awkward, and the real-time fights are more about making sure you're on the same plane as your assailant than anything else.
Attacks, potions, and powers are handled with an assortment of buttons on the right-hand side of the screen, some of which are too small and fiddly, while others take up too much space. It's a messy solution, and it's a surprise that this far into the series Gamevil still hasn't polished it up.
The graphics, on the other hand, are lush and exciting - a vibrant clash of primary colours and delightful sprites. Zenonia 4 really is a joy to look at, even if it's a cumbersome brute to play.
No alarms, no surprises
Unsurprisingly, the game is massive, with quests aplenty to keep you entertained into the wee hours. Repetition rears its ugly head, and there's a lot of poorly disguised grind masquerading as plot progression, but that's what Zenonia games have always been about.
You know exactly what to expect with Zenonia 4. It's a formula that's worked three times, and it works again here.
This isn't so much a sequel as it is another episode in the Zenonia saga. You'll hack, you'll slash, you'll have excruciating conversations with NPCs. You'll go over there, get some of those, and then bring them back here. And you'll keep doing it, because in spite of its flaws, Zenonia 4 is just as much fun as its predecessors.