Here is a guide to selecting the right text based RPG to take up your iPhone game time.
New and Obsessive
iTunes App Store is now flooded with the new free iPhone gaming trend of text-based RPGs. Though each premise sounds superficially different, the dynamic is always largely the same throughout these games. You level up a character, fight others in the network and gain money through property acquisition. All this is done through a text interface rather than controlling characters in an identifiable world. This can be perfect for a free iPhone game because it simply requires a few checks and calculations a day, but when you begin packing several of these under your belt you will end up with a whole menu of obligations.
The easiest way to choose between these is based on theme. For as many of these iPhone RPGs as are available there are relatively few different story components. The most common is the mafia theme, with games like iMob Online, iMafia, iMafia New York, Mafia Wars, Mafia LIVE (which usually requires you to pay for a full version) and others.
The next one is a racing element, which is not to fool you into actually believing there is any racing section to them whatsoever. iRacing and Race Wars are two very popular iPhone RPGs in this series and use the same set up as the others while switching everything around to include a professional and street racing theme.
Vampires, and other night creatures take another preference with iVampires Online and Undead LIVE, but are still the exact same format as the other iPhone games. There are a few, notably Girl Wars Online and Famous, that really escape this themed format and strike out with a little irony and social commentary to create a more unique experience.
Frequency of Attention
How often you are going to have to check it is an issue, and this is usually determined by how frequently you are going to be attacked. Once you are acquiring property and money you will get a steady flow of income, but you will have to put your finances into a savings account within the game if you are intending for them not to be ransacked by other players. Mafia Wars leaves you open to attack quite often and Famous requires you to get fairly deep before you can save your money. Warlords tends to be safe if you are not going to check it very often, though it is not very accurate in its financial displays.
The friend system can be a complicated one for many people. Games like Famous, iMob Online, iVampires Online and Mafia Wars require you to actually find other people and add them to your crew. Girl Wars Online, as well as iMob Online, Mafia Wars and other require you to seek out people's friend codes to add them. What this means is that to get really far in the game you must have a large mob and this requires that you post your friend code on message boards. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, you may prefer a game that allows you to use your account money to buy friends such as iMafia, iRacing and iMafia New York. This can make getting large number of friends more expensive than necessary.
Many of these games are really just excuses to get people to pay for parts of them. These are done in the form of special points that cost real money that are then used in exchange for things within the game, such as friends or money. In iMob Online these are Nobility points, in iRacing Online they are PlayMesh points, and in all of them they create an unfair advantage to those who are not willing to pay for them. If you do not want to be a part of this, you can try to find a game without these features.