The biggest problem with Rondo of Swords is that it isn't as polished as its peers... and that's stating it politely. You can see how far one of the CPU's war mages can travel, for instance, but there's no a visual indicator for how expansive its attack range is (hint: as far as 8 spaces away). The controls also aren't laid out intuitively. Some tasks are more easily performed using the buttons, while others are best suited to the touch screen.
The real kicker is how the graphics and audio come off like they were time warped in from 1995. Seriously, the battlefields borrow the Sega Genesis color palette and the impish characters displayed on the lower screen's main map don't do anything except bounce up-and-down. They don't even walk. Instead, they teleport from one square to the next. Manga style conversation portraits and flashy attack scenes on the upper screen give the game some artistic flavor, but you'll grow tired of them after seeing the same sequences play out dozens of times during every battle. That also holds true for the generically melodramatic music and the overly recycled speech snippets.
If you're really into strategy role-playing games, and if you can tolerate the low budget sights and sounds, you may enjoy Rondo of Swords. Unfortunately, those are some very big "ifs" considering there are a number of other games just like this available for the GBA and Nintendo DS that will give you more thrills for the same cashola.
Apr 25, 2008