Nearly a year later, the app has been downloaded 650 million times worldwide, and five million players log in each day to catch and level their digital pocket monsters.
All of this excitement is for an app that really only contains half of an actual Pokémon game. While the Pokémon franchise is famous for its army of collectible creatures, the series is well-known for being a high-quality JRPG. Much of what makes Pokémon games great lies in the turn-based combat and driving storyline that immerses players as budding Pokémon Trainers. However, Pokémon Go focuses primarily on collecting and discovery mechanics, leaving out classic #RPG elements like a solid story and epic, strategic battles.
If only there was a mobile app that worked like Pokémon Go but had all those traditional RPG components. Enter Life Odyssey, which is now accepting beta sign ups.
A New Take On An Old Favorite
The game revolves around the player’s character and an animal companion as they venture through a story-driven fantasy world. Classic RPG elements like classes, skills, magic, and equipment weave through the player’s real-world travel and discovery.
You can engage in battles, grow your stats, and learn new offensive and defensive skills, much like a traditional RPG. The interface and flavor flow like a modern take on a #FinalFantasy-style experience.
Even though Life Odyssey looks and feels like a traditional JRPG, it is still a modern AR mobile game that pushes players to get outside and move around; this isn’t a game that can be played by sitting inside all day. The story progresses, characters level up, and classes and equipment unlock through a balance of turn-based strategic combat and the player’s exploration of the real world.
Walking In Their Shoes
Like Pokémon Go, Life Odyssey gets better the more steps players take with their phones. You progress through the game’s deep story by spending quest points. Players periodically earn quest points after taking a designated number of steps, based on the iPhone’s internal pedometer. For example, if you go for a long walk you’ll likely have a small pile of quest points waiting when you’re done.
While Pokémon Go uses a digital map to make Pokémon exist in the real world, Life Odyssey has a fantasy world map to keep you immersed in the game. Each landmark on the story map costs an amount of quest points to activate. Once players activate a landmark, they experience the next chapter of the story, which almost always involves a battle. Win the battle, unlock the next map landmark with more quest points, and continue the adventure.
In essence, every step you take in the real world is a step your Life Odyssey character is taking through a forest, over a mountain, or into a cave. You might think you’re going to the convenience store for a gallon of milk, but in Life Odyssey you’re adventuring through an epic tale.
Points Of Discovery
Despite Life Odyssey using a fictional world map to present its core game, players must still visit real-life local points of interest to be successful. Building on the popular Pokémon Go concept of the Pokéstop, Life Odyssey rewards players for exploring the outside world by awarding skill-ups, items, and special battle opportunities.
When players visit a point of interest in Life Odyssey, like a designated restaurant or landmark, they will unlock a reward bundle. These bundles can contain Portal Gems, which are used to summon tremendous monsters through the AR world. This camera-utilizing mechanic functions similarly to the catching scenes in Pokémon Go, but here it leads to an epic battle.
After finding and slaying the summoned fiends, players earn experience points and resources they can trade for stat-raising equipment and weapons. By discovering points of interest to get Portal Gems and then winning the triggered fights, players will increase their characters’ stats and abilities to be stronger in the story mode.
Weapons Of Choice
What would an RPG be without incredible, strategic battles? Whether the fight starts from a story point or a Portal Gem, this is where Life Odyssey breaks off from other AR games like Pokémon Go. The battle mechanics clearly have their roots in the classic RPG turn-based system, but with two key twists.
First, battle action options are completely customizable. Each character class has a different set of selectable abilities empowered by stats, weapons, and equipment. The animal companions develop their own skills as well, allowing players to approach each battle with a strategically-chosen set of commands.
Second, there are no items or magic points to track. Depending on their classes and abilities, characters gain a certain amount of Action Points (AP) each turn. Each skill costs a certain amount of AP, and not all commands can be used right away. Powerful spells or attacks may need two turns to collect enough AP, while weaker options are always available.
Pokémon Go has a basic battle system for its trainer gym challenges, but Life Odyssey leans on fight mechanics as a central pillar of gameplay.
One To Watch
Even at its early development stage, Life Odyssey is clearly the mobile app RPG fans have been waiting for. It takes the foundational mechanics that made Pokemon Go a rocketing success and builds upon them using classic JRPG flavor and structure.
If you love Final Fantasy and have even a hint of interest in an Augmented Reality game like Pokémon Go, follow Life Odyssey. Closed beta signups are now open.
Interested in Life Odyssey? What excites you the most about it? Tell me in the comments!