iPhone/iPad review of the day: Across Age

On iPhone
Across Age
Price: $0.99 / £0.59
Size: 98.3 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US/UK

On iPhone 4
Across Age DX
Price: $2.99 / £1.79
Size: 205 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US/UK

On iPad
Across Age HD
Price: $4.99 / £2.99
Size: 184 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US/UK

If you somehow took The Legend of Zelda, Ys, and Chrono Trigger and combined them into one single game, then crammed it onto a mobile phone, what you’d get would look a lot like Across Age. It’s an epic action RPG with lots of puzzle solving and time travelling, and it’s dripping with retro 16-bit charm.

It seems there’s a villain going about messing with things in the past. He’s been making people and items disappear, and the only way to set things right is to collect three hourglasses, which, naturally, will give you the ability to control time. As is often the case, Across Age stars an unlikely duo who join together in order to find those hourglasses and save the world. You can switch between these two characters at any time, which comes in handy for puzzle solving, as each has unique abilities.

Generic story aside, what’s great about Across Age is how it seamlessly melds aspects from several games into one cohesive whole. There’s the time travel mechanic from Chrono Trigger, the dungeons and puzzle solving from Zelda, and the walking-into-enemies combat from Ys. It even looks like Secret of Mana (which is also available on iPhone – watch for our review soon). If Across Age had been released 15 years ago, it would’ve been hailed as a classic. But it’s here now on a platform still struggling to gain the attention of hardcore gamers, so it’s up to us to promise you it’s worthwhile.

It’s important to note, though, that the game comes in three different flavors, not including the EX version, which is essentially a demo. There’s the normal version that’s playable on iPod Touches and older iPhone models, the DX version that’s been optimized for the iPhone 4’s super-slick retina display, and the HD version that makes the game look big and beautiful on your iPad. Make sure you pick up the right one.

If you have any sense of nostalgia for classic RPGs, Across Age is really a no-brainer. It combines the best aspects from some of the best games ever released to create what’s arguably the best classic-style RPG in the App Store.

Jan 3, 2011