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Mobile Game Review: Old School Runescape

Growing up as a kid in the 00’s, one of the most popular games was Runescape. It knew how to draw in a crowd, it was a relatively early example of a subscription model (which was cheap enough to make it worthwhile) and it was, all in all, a game which set standards for MMOs in the years to come. Whilst it’s a bit of a dated game, Old School Runescape exists – And it’s still hugely active. Recently however, Jagex dipped their toes into taking Old School Runescape to our smartphones. So join me for a look at what makes Runescape different on our phones, than it does on our browsers and PCs.

Review

Technical Stuff

A big thanks to IMistermaru for donating me a lot of money and putting me in the right place to train!

I’m not going to review Old School Runescape (hereby shorted to OSRS), as I’ve done this previously. Instead, I’m going to review how well OSRS plays on mobile and where any conflicts between the normal game exists. If you’ve never played any form of Runescape before, or if you’re curious about what I had to say about the PC version of OSRS, then you should check out our full review of OSRS here. If you’re just curious about the mobile version, then read on.

Runescape is known for being fairly simple to pick up and play, although for an MMO, it certainly has its number of nuances. Due to the age of the title, it’s fair to say that it’s a little bit stiff when you play it. However, given the age of it, it’s amazing that OSRS is as smooth as it is. The gameplay feels unaltered, which is hugely important for a port – But what amazed me the most was the camera.

The camera in OSRS on mobile is really very smart – With one finger, you can change the camera angle, or turn the camera to the left or right. With two fingers, you can zoom in and out. This is pretty standard affair for any mobile game, but due to how light the game is – which we’ll talk about in a moment – the camera does not stutter. There’s no struggle, even on my slowly aging (2014) Xperia Z3.

Runescape isn’t the prettiest title in the world. It’s blocky, it’s choppy, it’s old and outdated – And yet, the graphics are a good part of why it’s ported so well to mobile. With a download size that’s less than 6MB, I was genuinely shocked at how small the title is. It’s not too big of a shock – Textures are simple, models are equally simple – It’s all very simple and, really, that’s to the benefit of the port.

One criticism that people have of OSRS is the interface. It’s quite small – where some people are saying you’d do better if you had some form of stylus. Meanwhile, I’ve played it perfectly okay without a stylus and very minimal input issues. I think I only once pressed somewhere I didn’t mean to, however I am very particular with how I press things on my screen. If you have small fingers, or are very specific where you poke, then you’ll be fine in OSRS.

The other criticism that people have made is of the battery drain, which, I will 100% get behind. However, I stress tested this, to see the impact on my phone’s battery. From a full charge to 65% in one hour sounds pretty bad, but it’s fair to point out that: A) I wouldn’t normally have a mobile game running for an hour and B) I would normally turn the brightness down (even for Pokemon Go). To this effect then, whilst it does indeed drain the battery (at lower percentages, it took 10% in 10 minutes at one point), it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen. Definitely carry a power pack with you, if you intend to play OSRS on the go.

Graphics

I mentioned how OSRS isn’t the prettiest title in the world – and I stand by that. However on mobile, the graphics feel perfectly acceptable. Indeed the mobile version of OSRS is no different to the original title. Here are some images I took of the game, which really understands how sometimes, less is more.

Audio

Unedited, unchanged – It’s exactly as I remember it. From the little victory-style noises whenever you level up a skill, through to the sound of punching and slashing. OSRS has decided to keep itself exact to the PC version, which is awesome. If you’ve never heard how it sounds before, then I’d recommend checking the above video. The audio won’t blow you away, but it’s certainly good enough for a mobile title.

Overall

It’s 2018; I thought I was done with Runescape. Apparently not, as little GOTimlah and I have had a blast cutting down as many trees as we possibly could. All in all, I’ve enjoyed the port of OSRS to smartphone and I truly believe that Jagex have done a stellar job. It’s one of the best ports of a title I think I’ve ever seen, so it’s fair to say that I’ll be playing it a fair bit longer – Much to the detriment of my real world responsibilities.

Have you tried out OSRS on your phone yet? What do you make of the decision to port it to mobile? Do you think OSRS should have stayed away, or do you feel porting games like this is a good idea? Share your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Game on, folks!

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