The DS is hardly short of RPG titles. Not a week seems to pass without another fantasy adventure hitting the shelves, and while it’s easy to be pessimistic when investigating a title like Avalon Code, it’s soon clear that it’s a game which genuinely attempts to present something a little different from the norm.
Crafted by the talented chaps behind the Final Fantasy III DS remake, Avalon Code showcases an innovative magic system where you collect various 'codes' from objects, people, and enemies in order to use them to your advantage.Cheat code
For example, when you get your first weapon you’ll find it’s a largely useless rusty sword. Examining its attributes more closely - via the ethereal power contained with the all-important Book of Prophecy, which you’re awarded with at the outset of the quest - you’re able to tinker with its set-up, removing the negative 'rust' code and substituting it for something more potent, such as fire.
Likewise, enemies can be reconfigured to give you an advantage in combat. Remove the code which imbues them with strength and their attacks become ineffectual: drop in the sickness code and their health is significantly reduced, making it easy to topple them in battle.
The trade-off is that weak enemies don’t offer up as many experience points, so you’ll take longer to level-up.
Acquiring new codes is merely a matter of hitting things with the aforementioned Book of Prophecy - valuable codes exist all over the gameworld and many turn up in the unlikeliest of places.
While this feature unquestionably gives Avalon Code a real edge over the competition, it does cause some issues. Navigating the Book of Prophecy - which is permanently secreted on the bottom screen of the DS - is cumbersome at the best of times.
Trying to find the correct code for any given situation is laborious, and as you slowly add more content to the pages it becomes almost painful to wade through the dusty tome.Morse code
It’s such a shame this issue exists because the game is so refreshingly original. The presentation is also way above-average - everything is rendered in 3D and the developer has managed to coax some impressive results from the humble DS hardware.
If you’re prepared to really get to grips with the intricacies of Avalon Code and have superhuman reserves of patience, then there’s a good chance you’ll extract maximum enjoyment from this incredibly inventive RPG.
However, the irksome shortcomings of the game system combined with the complex and often confusing mechanics make this an adventure that many will turn their backs on.