Part 1: Prologue
At the beginning, the game allows us to choose who we want to play as. Both teams consist of two people, and for now let's go with the pair on the left.
After that slightly ominous intro, we find ourselves in a strange room with a bunch of other people standing around, looking just about as befuddled as we are.
♫ Music: Agent's Theme ♫
Suddenly, a voice of a woman is heard from behind...
You don't want to tell me? Fine. Wouldn't be the first time a woman hated me.
But I will say this. Try anything like that again... and I will kill you.
And with this, we are now free to look around the big room.
This is how we move around:
Being a game for touchscreen platforms, of course we don't have a physical joystick available. However, we do have a virtual one--just put a finger anywhere on the screen and a virtual joystick appears under it! We drag in a direction to move and when near an object/person that can be interacted with we can push the "!" button in the corner to activate.
Before we do anything else, let's talk to that woman again, maybe she'll give us some idea what's going on and why she's apparently trying to murder us.
Do you know what happened?
All I remember is the sky getting pitch-black, even though it was the middle of the day.
Nothing to say, huh.
Hey... you didn't kidnap me and bring me here or anything, did you?
But... you may be here because I wished you to be.
Huh? What are you talking about?
I'm so happy to see you again... Escher.
How do you know my name?
Hmph. This is pointless.
We are not going to accomplish anything here. Let's talk to the other two; it seems that the big group has in the meantime dispersed around the area.
Now that you mention it...
But then, why did I get stuck with her?
That's true. You certainly don't look like a couple...
Have you met her before?
Never in my life!
We were attacking a castle when, all of a sudden, it grew dark well before evening.
Our friends and enemies seemed to freeze in place and before we knew it, we found ourselves here.
Yeah, that's about what happened to me.
When you consider the couple factor, this situation becomes truly fascinating. Don't you agree?
Fascinating? More like a pain in the...
Ha ha, I see. I can understand that. But me, I was getting tired of my life anyway.
Hey... can you feel that?
Yeah... Someone's watching us.
It must be the host that invited us here.
And it doesn't look like they want to throw just any old kind of party.
I can't wait to see what they have to say.
At that moment, we are interrupted by a disembodied voice...
♫ Music: Downfall ♫
...and then this appears above us:
Good news: at least we know everybody's names now! Our companion (who tried to kill us just minutes before) is called Musiea.
And where you will now fight for your lives.
Did you say... fight for our lives?
All of you here are but one sheep in two bodies. The person standing next to you will be your partner on this journey.
Of course, we do not ask you to do this for nothing.
Well, he definitely seems interested now! But wouldn't that mean we would have to kill all these other nice people? That seems wrong...
Me...? Pair up with... him?
You may not refuse to compete in the Ark Arena. Likewise, you are prohibited from fighting until I allow it. If you break either of these rules, you will pay with your lives.
I am under no obligation to answer your questions.
Hmph. You really think we're stupid enough to fight each other just 'cause you say to?
You may be the chosen warriors, but you are not yet qualified to fight in the Ark Arena.
In order to qualify, you will first need to find and equip the rings beyond this door. That will be your mark.
And with that, he disappears. Well, even if we don't really know what's going on, at least there is an immediate task for us to do...
After this scene, we are again free to explore. The door directly ahead is now available to use should we wish to proceed with the task of getting the rings, but we're not going to do that yet. Let's introduce ourselves to other "contestants" and try to gather some information.
First of all, Alto is quite shaken by all this...
C-come on out already. This isn't funny, okay? You promised we would always be together... Garrick...
(What a mess... Oh well. It's out of my hands now...)
Note: lines in parentheses like this one are intended by the game to represent character's thoughts.
Next, let's stop by Olgar and Vahti...
But they just keep saying vaguely mysterious things that tell us nothing.
It may or may not be obvious, but this hall extends also to the left and to the right beyond the screen edge. So if we walk to the right...
...we find Ayuta and Mana alongside two as yet unexplored doorways.
There is no way I could defeat them.
Why was I even brought here? I'm just a stablehand...
Still, now that I am here, I must keep Princess Mana safe.
If I were you, I'd pray you don't get me as your first opponent.
...My country... What happened to my country?
I just pray it's all right...
Damn it! Isn't there any way out of here?
Let's check out the room on the right.
So it's just a bedroom apparently provided for the "contestants". But it does contain a chest at the far end.
And this is what we find in the chest. Some mulled vine! This is an item that revives a KOd ally in battle (exactly like Phoenix Down). This is good to have, although we'll have an easy way of buying them later.
The name of this item (which literally translates to "burned vine") pretends to be in French, but really fails miserably at that. First of all, it should be "vin brûlé" without that extra "e" at the end and second, even that doesn't matter because mulled vine is in French most commonly actually called "vin chaud" instead ("hot vine"). Since the game app is multilingual, you can switch to French and you will find that in that version this item is indeed called... "Vin chaud". Oh well, we won't be using this very often anyway so...
The other room is just another bedroom, containing nothing of interest. So we'll now go to the left side of main hall. And there we find a computer terminal (try to ignore for now the weird thing in the far corner, please).
But it just repeats what we already know from the Agent.
Over here, we find Zhamo and Eluca. Let's see what they have to say.
All we have to do is find it...
There is only one door in this whole room, though.
Either way we have no choice but to move on.
I definitely didn't expect anything like that. Things are really getting interesting now.
How can you say that! Our lives are at stake!
Hey, I don't have any problem laying my life on the line to obtain immortality.
I can't believe you...
I wonder where that door leads to...
Don't think we can avoid checking out the "thing" in the corner any more...
♫ Music: Merchant's Song ♫
Um, what do you mean by "in 10,000 years"?
You won't find a better selection or service anywhere else! Not that there is anywhere else here...
Anyway, looking forward to your business!
Oh god. This is weird. But anyway, this is actually a shop where you can buy items and equipment. Simple, like in a typical JRPG, monsters drop cash that you can then use here to buy items and better weapons and armour.
We can also talk to Piu-Piu some more (what kind of name is that anyway?)
Or was it my movie-star like charisma that drew you here?
I'm sorry about that. I try to keep it under wraps, but there's just too much good stuff to keep it from getting out.
And that goes doubly true the older you... Wait... what was I talking about?
Hey... Are you... human?
Huh? What else would I be?
I see... Well, whatever. (I don't have time to worry about this... thing right now.)
In fact he already has for sale a slightly better sword for Escher (and also one for Musiea, not shown here)! But we have no money to buy it with. Money in this game is called Ohnz and is usually represented by the abbreivation OZ (as you can see, in the top right corner it says zero OZ, sigh). As is typical for a JRPG, money is tight to start with, but soon enough we'll be swimming in it.
Well then, it's finally time to check in with Musiea and perhaps make a move.
Hey, there's no point in hanging around here, right? I don't like being told what to do, but...
I like the idea of becoming immortal.
You can come along if you want. I'm used to looking after helpless women.
...This is revolting. I've traveled the country looking for him, and now...
Fine. You won't escape me again.
I'd watch your back if I were you.
Hah! Now things are getting interesting.
Well, it's time to head through the door! And through the door is...
... our first dungeon, "The Clashing Grounds".
We have to go through dungeons in order to unlock the subsequent ones, but once we finish a particular dungeon once, we can return to it any time we want by going through the door and making a selection from this menu. You may notice the four stars in the right corner under the dungeon name; I will explain a bit later what they are (hint: not a rating).
Not only that, but the game allows us to select what should be the level range of enemies. We level up the standard way, by gaining EXP from fighting enemies--I mentioned before that this game is a bit "grindy"; if we want to try gaining a few levels faster, we can select a higher enemy level range here since higher level enemies give more EXP, obviously. Of course that means that they also hit a lot harder, so it may not always be advisable to do this, especially now when our characters are only level 1 and don't have a whole lot of HP. The game kind of tries to limit you a bit here by unlocking higher enemy ranges only gradually as you progress through the story.
So in conclusion, for now we'll choose the level range 1-10 because we would get murdered otherwise. Later on, this will change.
Beyond the door, we find a snowy landscape that still has room for some chests with items!