Good thing, too, because the game’s user interface already takes up quite a bit of the touchscreen sans optional item shortcuts. At least a detailed onscreen minimap reveals any entries and exits the user interface hides otherwise, and the movement control is an absolutely lovely combination of virtual D-pad and virtual joystick. Players can use the center of the virtual button as a joystick control point or just cut to the chase and use the outer ring as an eight-directional D-pad. Across Age DX boasts, by far, the slickest movement control system executed in any of the games iFanzine has reviewed in the Action RPG genre. It’s about time!

The virtual buttons that control the active character’s attacks and Ales’ mage tossing fare just as well in terms of reliability. Sadly I found the itsy-bitsy virtual buttons devoted to splitting the team up and alternating the controlled character too small to consistently activate. In the case of switching characters, the player can thankfully tap the character stat windows toward the bottom of the screen as an alternative method; Ales’ “mage toss” button suffices as an alternate for splitting the party up, and tossing Ceska onto ledges is the most common situation that would require the party to split up anyway. Still, the touch sensitivity of the smaller virtual buttons is an area in which Across Age DX could much improve with further updates. The user interface received a bit of a facelift in DX compared to the original edition, but appears to function in the exact same way.

All of Across Age DX‘s character art, environments, and sprites appear to have been redrawn to take advantage of the 4G iDevice’s Retina display, which means these are some of the most crisp 2D graphics ever beheld on a mobile platform. Still, Across Age DX can’t hope to hide how fundamentally quaint it will seem to most consumers in the graphics department, since sprites tend to exhibit a grand total of two frames per animation.  The standout aesthetic elements here are clearly the exquisite character portraits, which change to match the range of emotion expressed in dialogue. The music will likely strike the player as mediocre sequenced fare during the first half hour of play, but the tunes become infectiously catchy once Ales and Ceska begin venturing into their first few dungeons.

iFanzine Verdict: True to the nature of a title that mixes past with present, Across Age DX pales in comparison to its competition in its lack of wacky special effects and movie-worthy combat maneuvers, but more than makes up for this with good old-fashioned game design and an interface that helps point the way forward for the wider genre. It’ll strike some players as a little wonky in the graphics department despite the HD makeover, but nevertheless, Across Age DX is an Action RPG every genre fan with 3G and 4G iDevices should look into.

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