The developer behind the browser based MMORPG RuneScape
Developed by Rake In Grass, Undercroft was released on the App Store in October of 2009. Though it met with a warm reception from RPG fans, the game didn’t do very well commercially, and in August of 2010, the game was pulled from the App Store. Rake In Grass felt they had to move on to other projects and realistically couldn’t support Undercroft with updates, expansions, or sequels. The game and all of its associated rights were transferred to Jagex Games Studio, most famous as the developer behind the browser-based MMORPG RuneScape. They put it back on the App Store mere weeks later in September of 2010, bafflingly setting the price to free with naught but a brief start-up ad telling players to check out RuneScape. Speculation ran rampant as to what their intentions were, with everything from IAP fears to hopes for sequels and expansions. After all that build-up, Jagex ended up doing very little with it. There were a couple of updates to fix a few bugs, but other than that, it seems like they just wanted to keep the game available for everyone.
You start the game by making your party. There are five different job classes, but you can only bring four members with you in total. No matter what, you’re leaving something behind. The classes aren’t anything particularly extraordinary by genre standards. You’ve got your warrior who specializes in physical attack and defense, with a number of weapon skills and abilities that shore up defenses or deal heavy damage. They’re a handy class in a game that doesn’t have many melee options, so you’ll probably want one along for meat shield purposes. Next, there’s the mage, who specializes in elemental magic. This class is useful for exploiting enemy weaknesses, but they’re pretty high maintenance. They take a lot of damage and if they run out of mana, they’re nearly useless. As you would expect, the priest is great for healing and defense, but you can also spec them out to deal absurd damage if you’d like. The summoner is a weird variation on the mage class. They can summon the undead to assist in battles, transform themselves into a powerful beast, and use lots of deadly offensive spells. Finally, occupying the rogue/ranger role is the assassin class. They’re great for hitting enemies at a distance and have a lot of extremely powerful skills.
After you’ve settled on your party, you can choose between two difficulty settings. The easy mode offers you a rough tour, with weakened enemies and more money all around. It’s not a complete pushover, and I think many players would be quite satisfied at this level, but more experienced players will want to go for the hard mode. It’s really tough, and you’ll have to use every dirty trick in the book to survive. Speaking of books, this game offers a very extensive set of in-game resources you can access if you need help. Not only are there very thorough instructions, but there’s also a useful guide and a complete walkthrough, if that’s your sort of thing. I feel like Undercroft does a good job of taking care of players at many different levels of skill, something that RPGs don’t always bother with.