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‘Stone Story RPG’ – TouchArcade Leave a comment

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When Stone Story RPG hit the App Store last week I couldn’t shake a feeling of deja vu. I have SEEN this game before, but where? When? Was this a game that launched a long time ago, disappeared, and now is re-launching? I searched the title on our site, and in my email, and on our forums and came up with nothing. Did I imagine this in a fever dream at some point and now it has become reality? Am I going insane!? And then it hit me. Oh yeah, I have seen Stone Story RPG multiple times over the years at various conventions, and have always been blown away by its unique art style that mimics an old-school ASCII art look. I also distinctly remember being told every time I saw this game at a show that it would be coming to mobile. Well, it took just long enough to feel like it was erased entirely from my mind, but Stone Story RPG has indeed arrived on mobile right at the same time it’s coming out of a 4+ year long Early Access period on Steam. What a journey!

So yeah, take one look at the trailer for Stone Story RPG and you’ll understand why it would stick around in someone’s brain, even a brain as inept as my own. This game uses ASCII-style art to depict characters and environments, and everything is animated in a very convincing way. The core of the game can best be described as an idle game, but that’s not really doing it justice. You’ll start out with very little to do, just meandering around the few available locations you can visit, collecting rocks and sticks and tar. Your character moves and acts mostly on their own, so they’ll travel through each location gathering those resources or confronting enemies and battling while you just sit back and watch. However, you can jump in and change equipment and weaponry at any time, and indeed you will need to do just that to be successful once the game starts to open up some more. Yes, this is an idle game, but it’s also surprisingly hands-on and strategic.

Somehow, it works beautifully. The flow of progression, at least in the first couple hours or so I’ve been playing, is pitch-perfect. You slowly unlock new things to do, new items to craft, new gear to upgrade, new locations to explore. You also slowly unlock new bits and pieces to the story and lore of the universe, which is surprisingly engaging. This is a very strange world Stone Story RPG takes place in, and I’m dying to learn more about it. There is an actual story-driven campaign that you can complete, which should take roughly 6-8 hours, and then there are numerous side quests which can easily add dozens more hours on top of that. The coup de gras is that there is an entire scripting engine built into the game, which more or less allows you to code up your own mini-games, items, and so much more, should you have the desire to delve down that particular rabbit hole. It’s all really quite impressive.

The rub with Stone Story RPG is that it’s a free game with IAP, at least on mobile, and at this point I have no idea how the IAP comes into play yet. This has been a beautiful first experience and I can’t imagine a tiny developer that’s been working on a passion project for the past decade would decide to ruin all that with some gross monetization, but I guess it’s always a possibility. I will certainly forge on and hope for the best when that IAP does get introduced because I’m having such a good time so far, and I think anyone and everyone should also give Stone Story RPG a shot for free due to its unique visuals as well as its unique blending of gameplay elements. What a unique little thing this is. If you’ve enjoyed games like A Dark Room or Spaceplan that use their core as an idle game to slowly reveal new and surprising elements and depth, Stone Story RPG is likely right up your alley.

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