The Greater Good is a side-scrolling RPG from Sam Enright that aims to charm players with its off-kilter sense of humour, soundtrack and turn-based combat sensibilities. It originally launched on PC back in 2018 but now it has arrived on mobile, well, for Apple devices anyway. We asked our App Army to give it a try and report back.

Here's what they said:

Dries Pretorius

The best way to describe my feelings toward JRPGs is that the further you tweak the conventions the more enjoyable they become. Chrono Trigger’s combat system was a dynamic leap for the idle management of conventional JRPG combat. Radiant Historia is the definitive post-JRPG experience with its grid-based combat. Yet from Siralim to Galaxy of Pen and Paper, I find myself drawn to, and enjoying JRPG games despite myself.

The Greater Good is a JRPG project by Sam Enright. The first thing that struck me was the soundtrack. The musical scoring is great. The low poly graphics at first struck me as a little bit lazy, but it is the perfect setup for ‘wow’ moments where the visual experience evokes the best of Samurai Jack, and by Chapter 3 I’ve hit a few of those.

As far as formula goes, The Greater Good’s combat is squarely within JRPG convention, you square off against one or more enemies, when your character’s initiative charges you can choose an action from the menu, taking/giving potions, using Elemental Powers, using Skills or just attacking. The Elemental mechanic is quite fun, with each creature having an elemental alignment that can be exploited or countered by a complementary element.

Combat is still too easy over an hour in, with no option for increasing the challenge. (Edit: After Chapter 5 enemies become more complex). Elemental tomes can be equipped to anyone, giving them a set of corresponding powers, to the extent that they have Mana reserves to cast with.

The story is a romp so far, with many juicy tropes, and self-referential humour. There are also beautiful set pieces, a trance party in a celestial city is one such example. It is not Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, but then those are massive productions with teams of 60+ people working on them. The Greater Good establishes itself as a one-man Indie game within the genre, then surprises you by transcending your expectations in a beautiful or powerful sequence.

The biggest shift from the tradition of JRPGs is in the world exploration, which is a sidescrolling platformer I could describe as the synthesis between Superbrothers Sword & Sorcery and Metroidvania. You will be rewarded for venturing into the implausible territory as there are hidden nooks with loot everywhere.

In conclusion, The Greater Good is a decent JRPG by anyone’s standards and an excellent one-man project. It delivers a subtle sense of humour in its storytelling and calculatingly subverts expectations. At asking price it is well worth your time.

Robert Maines

The Greater Good is a side-scrolling, turn-based battle RPG with some platformer elements. To get the good out of the way, the retro style visuals are nice (reminds me of Another World) and the music is good. However, in execution is all falls rather flat. The controls for the platform sections feel floaty and the menu system is unwieldy for a touch screen device. But the battles are just the worst. Poorly animated and tedious, they go on far too long. After the battles with the Spiders in the cave, I was rapidly losing the will to live. Avoid.

Pierpaolo Morgante

I haven’t had the opportunity to play this game as much as I wanted, because essential activities like eating and sleeping got in the way. I think it’s an amazing game, and everything is a hidden gem, from the music to the landscape. The game mechanics are pretty simple and intuitive if you are used to RPGs, and that’s one of the strengths of this game in particular. Controls are nice, clear and easy to grasp and use. The story is great, its humour reminded me of Magicka. Do yourself a favour, and go buy the game!

Matt ARen

I’m not going to bury the lead here, this game is fantastic, and easily the most engrossing I’ve played in some time. The game is a side-scrolling RPG with some decent platforming elements. Controls are simple and easy to use and all combat is turn-based. Elemental weaknesses and weapon range factor into combat, adding depth to your strategies. The art style shines, looking like layered paper art, and animating nicely.

Boss fights often have cinematic zooms and wide-angle shots, adding to the drama. As good as the game is visual, that pales in comparison to the music and sound design. Do not listen to this game over your phones tinny speakers, do yourself a favour and bust out your Bluetooth headphones and enjoy the beats and clever environmental sound design. The story seems good so far, a classic hero’s quest, but the offbeat sense of humour makes you want to read every line of text. Frankly, why are you still reading this, go buy it!

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Vasilis Doulos

Really good RPGs are rare on mobile but thankfully The Greater Good is one of them. From the side-scrolling movement with some platforming to the classic turn-based battles when you encounter enemies, everything feels solid and well made. The visuals are simple yet beautiful and reminded me of some flash games I used to play. The story is interesting, well written and with a lot of humour too. It’s definitely a game I’d recommend to anyone that likes turn-based RPGs or RPGs in general.

Bruno Ramalho

Beautiful visuals, awesome soundtrack created by the developer, sound design carefully detailed to the scenery and to what’s happening at any given time. Sometimes it reminded me of the visuals from the one and only Another World, but that’s a completely different game in terms of playability. Story-wise, I like it, there’s a lot to sink your teeth in here. You walk and run a lot, interact with stuff and talk to people to further the story. It’s a really interesting story that gets us hooked early on with some twists right from the start.

And then, as this is an RPG you get encounters with monsters and other enemies, and there you have the usual turn-based fights where you can use the skills of your character or any of the characters that belong to your group, attack, defend, use magic to heal yourself and others, etc. It’s pretty fun overall, but there are fights that are not easy at all, so there’s a lot of strategies involved. The game left a great impression on me, but there are some things that annoyed me a little bit. Savepoints. More save points or autosave, I would love that.

You could be playing for a long time, and you want to get away from the game, but your progress will be lost if you can’t get to a save point. Some fights can be long, like 10 minutes, 15 minutes long? Or more? With no save game option, this could be really annoying long term, especially if you get interrupted. But as I said, great game, great story, great visuals and sound design, there’s a lot to love.

Jojó Reis

I liked the game. It's a turn-based RPG with a side-on view, that means we won't have an open world here. But the game is very interesting and if you enjoy RPGs then I am sure you will like this one. The story is very well told. A king resurrects a demon and that's where it all starts, the battles are super simple and easy to learn. The songs are very good and the sound effects too. The game runs extremely smoothly on the iPad Pro and is well worth your purchase. Congratulations to the developers, great game.

Mark Abukoff

I haven’t had a lot of time to play this, unfortunately, as I’m an “essential worker” and I’ve been super busy, but I am really super impressed. Controls are very simple and effective on the iPhone screen. Music and sounds are good except for the tapping sound for the dialogue. That annoyed me after a while. But the art style is very appealing and the world and its characters are interesting and immersive. It really draws me in and makes me want to explore and progress.

Really, from the expansive landscapes to the creepy temple (I think that’s what it was called) where the King is bringing forth the demon, I really felt the world, and that’s half the appeal to me in a game, especially on mobile. The battle system is fairly typical and intuitive, so there’s not much to stop you from jumping right in. It takes a lot for a mobile RPG to stand out to me, and especially one that’s a side scroller, so no open world. But this manages it and it does it very well. Definitely a keeper and I can happily recommend it.

Sven Herrmann

Ok, I had a go on this game and unfortunately, I must say it did not catch me. Maybe my expectations were too high. I did not like the graphics to begin with (just my bad taste, the quality is very good) and the story is ok(ish). It is just not my type of game, even though I love a good RPG.

Michael Purdy

The Greater good is a turned based RPG with a classic feel. The story is about an evil king resurrecting a demon. The protagonist wakes up in a village after being washed ashore. A rather cliche set up, so we will see how it grows. Visually the game is simple but appealing. Reminds me of the classic game Another World. The game is played from a side-scrolling perspective. The battle system is a typical RPG fare. You select commands when the ATB fills up. My only complaint is some of the interface choices feel counter-intuitive. The cursor preselects commands seemingly at random. Overall a good game worth checking out.

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