Rev Ersi Quest is a free-to-play RPG from Japanese developer Yokogo Systems. There doesn't seem to be much to the story, but the battle system makes for engaging gameplay. Every battle takes place on a reversi board, but instead of plain black and white disks, every piece is a unit with its own abilities.

When battle begins, you have three pieces available to you which have been randomly chosen from your current troop of figures. That's your hand, essentially, though it's visible to the enemy; play a piece and it will be replaced with another from your pool. As in vanilla reversi, you can only play a piece in a place that "flips" one or more of the enemy pieces to your color. It takes two of your pieces flanking one or more of your opponent's pieces to "flip" them, and if the two pieces match then there will be one or more extra effects depending on what those pieces are. Some pieces deal damage, reducing your opponent's hit points; others heal you; and some give you mana that can be used to cast an equipped spell. You can win by either reducing your opponents health to zero or by playing the board to completion and having a greater total of pieces on the board plus hit points remaining than the opponent.

You start the game with some basic attackers and healers, and gain mana-generating pieces as part of the tutorial. Although you learn to edit your armies at that point, you won't have the variety of figures available to make army customization interesting until the second area of the game. You get higher level versions of the starting attacker and mana-generator pieces in the first area, but the second area introduces pieces which combine multiple abilities. Your armies have a maximum point cost that increases as you gain levels, and each piece costs a certain number of points.

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To progress through the game, you roll dice and travel along a linear game board on which most squares require you to battle. Winning a battle can get you new equipment or a new figure or any number of other things depending on the space. The boards' layouts are set, and to get everything in an area you'll have to either play it multiple times or buy as many dice guaranteed to roll a one as there are spaces.

The premium currency system in Rev Ersi Quest is fair. All dice purchases and any other item purchases made outside of a shop on a game board cost premium currency, but there are no sudden difficulty spikes to keep you from progressing. If you fail a battle, you just don't get the reward the square offers and must come back to it. Failing on the area boss means starting the area over again without unlocking the next one, but that's not so bad since you have to play the area multiple times to unlock everything anyway. There's no way to purchase figures directly with currency, premium or otherwise. Making premium currency purchases mainly just serves to reduce the effects of random chance.

It's worth pointing out that Rev Ersi Quest has an interesting energy system. Your hit points are your energy. The max number of hit points you have increases as you level and regenerates over time. In battle, your max hit points are capped based on the figures in your pool, which keeps you from having way more hit points than the opponent, and however many hit points you are down at the end of a battle is subtracted from your main hit point pool afterwards. A skilled player could keep playing for a very long time just by keeping their hit points up, and if you lose the last of your hit points and want to just wait five minutes and go into battle again with three health, you're free to do so. Health potions can be purchased with premium currency at any time or with non-premium currency in shops on the game board. They're pretty easy to come by, and I find that I don't feel the need to use them that often.

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There are only a few things about this game that I consider to be real drawbacks. One is a bug: the iOS version is supposed to be a universal app optimized for iPhone 5, but it doesn't work on my phone (which is an iPhone 5). The Yokogo Systems logo loads and then the screen goes black. I've had no problems with it on my iPad, though. The second thing is that the game requires an internet connection to play whether or not you plan to play solo. Thirdly, the game supports online multiplayer, but there never seem to be any opponents available. I don't know if that has to do with how the matchmaking system works. Maybe I would have no problem finding a match if I were higher in level. Maybe it's my time zone. Either way, I haven't been fortunate enough to get a PvP match going. The last issue is minor; healing abilities are represented by green and attacker abilities are represented by red on figures. The figures all have unique shapes, which means that colorblind players can learn which pieces do what, but it will be a little harder for them to figure out or remember at first.

Rev Ersi Quest is free to try. It's available on Android and iOS, but there is also a browser demo. The browser demo requires the Unity Web Player plugin.

[Rev Ersi Quest]