Join me today for a review of Madtale, which explores in depth the fairy tales of our childhood with a modern twist. Discover with me this gacha RPG on Android and iOS that's sure to make a place for itself on your phones this summer with a zest of joyful colors and a hint of strategy, for a recipe worthy of the best witches.
The fairy tale adventure of this Madtale review begins
The adventure begins as Marie Perlo, an alternative version of Little Red Riding Hood, tries to unravel an intrigue linked to her grandmother and the arrival of Pollution in her fantasy kingdom. Already, we can salute the realism of the situation - there's nothing like a battle against pollution to motivate the troops in the twenty-first century.
Based on this simple premise of world-invading corruption, this Madtale review took me on a vast series of fairytale worlds over the course of the main campaign. To get the most out of the adventure, I recommend you use the modifiable interface if you need it, as well as the language of your region, since many languages are available on release.
The changeable interface comes in handy for unusual adaptations, such as cameras that block the screen on certain devices. It can also be used by players who prefer to play one-handed, and who will benefit from a shortened screen with all its features. Madtale's UI is organized in a slightly different way from traditional gacha RPGs, with lighter menus for hero placement, easy viewing of buffs during your battles and even a combat instance that only takes up half your screen. Thanks to this system, you can not only see the map during battle, but also access certain menus without pausing the action.
A classic gacha RPG gameplay loop with some practical subtleties
We continue Madtale review with an analysis of the gameplay. Alongside the story, you'll learn how to use the game's mechanics through the tutorial and the start of the exploration campaign. Fans of gacha RPGs won't be disappointed.
The tutorial and Basic Exploration are stingy on resources, which can be confusing. It's when you unlock Madtale's various game modes and rewards tabs that you start summoning much more. This was reflected in my week of testing, where I felt held back at first, before diving into the full potential of the game and its roster. After all, the gacha model requires a balance between frustration and infinite pulls for summons.
As a matter of fact, during my Madtale review, I was able to appreciate the already packed launch roster, with its varied skills and endearing characters that you'll easily recognize on the battlefield. It's one of Madtale's great strengths to have turned easily identifiable characters into memorable heroes. Factions and ranks have unusual names like Council of Thorns, Glitter Partners or Tough Skeleton, but you'll quickly get the hang of it. And you even have the option of displaying the heroes' factions directly in the field, so you can get the hang of it.
Once you're familiar with the characters, you'll be able to take advantage of the synergies of their powers to exploit the full potential of the different game modes.
- Obviously, you start with the Exploration of the story, bolstered by instances that break the linearity;
- There's also the classic Thorn Arena PvP mode with tickets;
- The Giant's Garden offers a dungeon of seasons to explore in roguelite. Choose your path, accumulate victories with every level and add the best upgrades and heroes to your composition to reach the final boss;
- Underground Ruins as a PvE Tower;
- The roguelite system is more complete in Polluted Prison with a much longer and varied gameplay experience that will have you interacting with wells, bees, old ladies and naughty polluters;
- On top of all this, there are also PvE Maps to clear and guild activities.
For fans of gacha RPGs and intensive farming, Madtale's biggest strength is its use of Skips everywhere. And it has to be said that skips are very useful, both in dialogue and in combat. They allow you to take only what you like out of the experience, without wasting time.
Other classic gacha RPG elements enhance the Madtale experience as you progress through the game. These include:
- a pity system for your summons, reduced by 200 gems in batches of 10;
- a level-linking mechanic to develop your strategy;
- sacrifice of weaker characters to generate more resources;
- heroes can be merged to reach higher levels;
- numerous systems for improving your "secret" runes, equipment, treasures and team composition.
But Madtale doesn't stop there, multiplying the in-game activities to keep you in front of your screen in its imaginary world. Between battles, you'll also have potions to brew, not found everywhere, which will give you a serious advantage in certain game modes. In instances and on the Exploration Map, free movement could be used more. This would also allow us to go beyond puzzles that are too superficial, and bring more to the story, the lore and the interactivity. Of course, this would also run counter to the skips' focus on speed, but some modes would benefit from this compromise to give the game more depth.
Deep dive into fairy tales
In the story section of this Madtale review, I'd like to dwell on the original characters and tales. As its name suggests, Madtale imposes its vision of fairy tales with a touch of madness and darkness. The world Corrupted by Pollution is just waiting for your team of heroes to reveal its colors and fantastic stories. I have to say that I was very impressed by the character design. The characters are clear references to the fairy tales of our childhood, with changed names and a good dose of badass attitude to boot. This is also evident in the voicelines and gameplay elements, which emphasize strong characters. Snow White becomes Maria Lohr with insane AoE damage, Cinderella's prince becomes Renard Panni, an archmage with control spells, and Cinderella herself transforms into a high-level assassin with targeted damage.
I think it's a shame to come across the same characters in the plot as in composition, which becomes ridiculous when Snow White kills Snow White, even if we can understand the usefulness of reusing assets for speed of production and the final weight of the game.
Immersion in a Madtale review with bewitchinggraphics
We get to the heart of Madtale test and review with the game's atmosphere and graphics. While the game's gameplay is based on gacha RPG achievements, the visuals are a genuine success. Cartoonish without being ridiculous, colorful and neat, the graphics shine with intelligence and balance on screen. I can't fault the graphics, since the character designs as well as the menus, transitions and combat animations are coherent and follow a distinct artistic direction. Looking at Madtale's visuals, I don't think I'd confuse it with any other similar title, and its characters bring a nice depth to the combat thanks to their varied personalities.
Some translation problems through the test, but awell-crafted soundtrack
The atmosphere is not to be forgotten either. The music fits in well with the theme, and each character has his or her own attack or selection voicelines in play. The coherence of the game as a whole means that you can really immerse yourself in the world of Madtale and the fairy tales on which it's based without looking away. The only downside is the general lack of accurate translation throughout the game's texts, in both menus and dialogues. As for the buttons, they're fine, but for certain improvements, you really have to read between the lines or test them in-game to find out what their real effect is. And I think it's a pity that the studios haven't made any effort in this respect: it doesn't make the game very accessible, and for those trying to understand the essence of each strategy, it can become quite tedious.
Testing the Madtale business model
Let's move on to the business model in this Madtale review. As I said in the introduction to this test, the beginning of the game is rather restrictive, limiting your summons to a dozen or so throughout the tutorial and your first adventures. Fortunately, the game then opens up with all the strategy-switching possibilities familiar from gacha RPGs, thanks to pulls, linking mechanics and more complex game modes that require you to have at least two viable compositions on hand.
Then, on the shop side, prices are set for all packs on defined ranges, from 2 euros to just over a hundred. I don't expect this to be within everyone's reach, and on an APK build like the one I had access to on a recent server, it's hard to compare with many people to know whether the pay-to-fast is more imposing than on other gacha RPGs or rather average.
Some members of the JeuMobi community who tested the game earlier lamented its pay-to-win aspect, and I advise you to follow the model that suits you best to enjoy the game. Being a free-to-play gamer at heart, my review of Madtale , a PvE-heavy title with very little PvP, encourages me above all to spend an hour a day farming and developing my composition in peace and quiet, without going through the cash shop. The campaign can be frustrating, as it rewards your progress so little, but the other game modes with more depth and the numerous rewards daily will come to your rescue.
This test review was produced in partnership with Archosaur Games, the publisher of Madtale, who also gave the JeuMobi editorial team access to the APK build before the official mobile game release.
My final review of Madtale
Madtale is a complete gacha RPG with a rare level of polish. You can download it right now on Android and iOS to make up your own mind about this title. Its fairy-tale theme is truly supported by graphics and soundscape on par with the best titles on the market. Yet the gameplay remains classic, with several game modes to vary the experience from simple auto-exploration to roguelite dungeon crawling. The story is still rather simple and we regret the absence of a proper translation, but if you're hooked on the characters and the meticulous art direction, you'll spend many hours rediscovering the characters of your childhood in a new light and having them battle it out in PvE or PvP.