App Review: The Toughest Foe You'll Face In Cross Horizon Is The Paywall

During my first 10 minutes playing MarvelousAQL's Cross Horizon I was asked if I wanted to purchase a key to open a chest I'd found on the battlefield. Were I not playing it for review, I would have stopped right there.

Despite my knowing full-well that there's no such thing as a truly free-to-play action role-playing game on either iOS or Android, I felt a little betrayed by the sudden request. Here I had spent several minutes tooling around in the game's character creator, crafting the perfect pink-haired avatar. My amnesiac character was fed a little story — something about the return of an evil bandit king — given a quest to kill a goblin to prove herself, and sent on her way.

I was in a good mood as I transitioned from 2D menus to 3D adventure map, despite the muddy environment textures. I didn't mind when the third-person hack-and-slash I was hoping for wound up being a faster-paced Infinity Blade first-person affair. The enemies were distinctive, the action frantic, if a little silly — I was having a good time.

Then the chest dropped, and I knew that every time a chest dropped in this game, I'd kick myself for not having the key to unlock whatever riches waited within. Was it armour I could don, changing the look and stats of my character? A powerful new weapon? I'll never know, because I don't want to spend a dollar on the mana (in-game currency) to find out.

There's a lot to love about Cross Horizon. The quest system is simple, the combat fast and easy — it's a great little action role-playing game for folks without a lot of time to invest in one sitting. There are some really nifty ideas, like recruiting your friends to run alongside you as you explore the world, lending a hand in battle from time-to-time, or an upgrade-able item system that functions like a collectible card game.

But there's just as much I don't like. The rarest items, as in a collectible card game, are only available through special summons that require at least a small chunk of in-game currency to perform. Completing your quest on one of the game's expansive playfields? Either backtrack to home base on foot, or purchase a special return item.

It's as if Cross Horizon is purposefully trying to stifle my enjoyment at every turn. That's probably not how a video game should make me feel.

Cross Horizon

Genre: Action RPG Developer: MarvelousAQL Platforms: Android, iOS Price: free

Get Cross Horizon on the iTunes App Store. Get Cross Horizon on Google Play.


    I won't even look at games in the free section any more. The whole "free to play, pay to win" thing really gets my bristles up.

      I'm happy to put up with a few ads if it means that I don't pay to win. There are games that have both ads and pay to win, but usually those have alternate (if time consuming) ways to get whatever it is you'd normally pay for.

      What really really gets me annoyed is actually paying for a game then finding out I need to pay 1.99 for 100 in game coins to use unlock things.

      Now before getting anything on ios I check the in game purchases tab and if its got anything like that I run screaming

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