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End of Aspiration (Android) artwork

End of Aspiration (Android) review

"Man, couldn't they at least have made it look like they tried?"

Kemco only released a few RPGs for Android devices in North America before settling on an apparent blueprint for success. For bad or for even worse, the publisher's strategy relies on three pillars:

FREQUENCY! In the early going, Kemco released a new RPG in North America every few months. By late 2012, a new game was arriving each month. Since then, rarely has a month passed without a new one being added to the pile, thanks to a development strategy that finds four teams taking turns producing titles. End of Aspiration, released in November of 2012, was developed by World Wide Software, one of Kemco's most prolific teams at the time.

SALES! Allegedly, the price to download the average Kemco RPG is $7.99. I say "allegedly" because in the months I've owned my Android device, I've only occasionally seen a Kemco title offered at full price. They are fairly consistently offered at a 50 percent discount, meaning consumers pay an actual price of $3.99. Even that's not good enough, though; the company regularly holds sales where various titles cost a mere 99 cents. My original plan to play through them in approximate release order has since been scrapped because sales are such an easy distraction.

IAP! Once it started shooting out games left and right, Kemco hopped on the in-app purchases bandwagon and hasn't looked back. This typically amounts to little more than an in-game shop where players can spend real money to purchase items that make the game easier. In the case of End of Aspiration, the first North American release to feature IAP, optional dungeons also hide behind a paywall.

That third point actually serves as my first issue with the game. It offers a short campaign, less than 10 hours long, and you'll find a lot of IAP dungeons spread throughout the world. You're missing out on a good amount of content if you purchase only the game itself, in other words.

Many of Kemco's titles offer a means of accessing that content without spending the extra money. I searched online and found reports that in End of Aspiration, you can catch enough fish in various ponds to acquire anything you might want, all without opening your wallet after initially purchasing the game. I caught a dozen or so fish without ever receiving the required points, however. The process was boring and tedious, so I lost interest when I didn't earn the expected reward. For all I know, the version of the game that I played didn't feature support for that mechanic. I don't know and, quite frankly, I no longer even care.

You might argue that I could have paid to access those dungeons, but that wasn't ever a consideration because I'm of the opinion that End of Aspiration wasn't worth even the pittance I spent to purchase it, let alone extra cash on top of that. Symphony of Eternity is an example of World Wide Software taking the extra steps necessary to ensure that retro RPG fans enjoy a fun experience reminiscent of yesteryear's classics. This game is the apparent result of those same designers facing a rigid deadline, throwing up their arms in frustration and tossing a bunch of crap together in the vain hope that it somehow works out for them.

The smoke and mirrors did suffice for around half of the game, at least. You initially control Eril, a sorceress, as she chooses to confront members of the Mafia (a gang that more closely resembles a group of Mad Max thugs). Just when things are looking dire and the Mafia's second-in-command appears to dispose of the interloper, help arrives in the form of Yute, a wandering trader. The villain flees and the story next focuses on Yute's travels, which eventually net him Eril and another companion. After clearing a couple of dungeons together, the trio decide it's time to put an end to the Mafia's plans. They take a ship across the seas to the enemy headquarters.

Then the scene shifts again. You now find yourself on the continent to which the heroes are headed, only two weeks in the past. You're controlling a martial arts master named Earon and his pupil, Kaede. When you were controlling Yute and friends, you heard about two troublemakers who were imprisoned by the Mafia. Earon and Kaede are those troublemakers, and now you get to learn now what they did to earn their reputation and eventual imprisonment in the basement of a tower.

That's all well and good, as far as it goes. The problem is that after Yute's team rescues the two prisoners and you find yourself controlling a five-person party, End of Aspiration stumbles all over itself in a quick rush to the end. Your quintet scales the tower, defeats the second-in-command, goes to another island to get an airship, flies to the big island in the middle of the world, explores three dungeons to access a fourth, and finally faces off against the leader of the Mafia. It all flies by so quickly and anticlimactically that when I reached the end, I found myself stunned in a "Wait…that can't be all, can it?" sort of way.

Interesting plot points are introduced along the way, but then abandoned. Early in the game, Yute warns Eril about the risks involved in using a power-enhancing device known as an Accelerator. Those risks never amount to anything, though, and the device doesn't seem to imbue her with any additional power. The only time you might get any impression an Accelerator does anything worthwhile is during Earon's ill-fated battle with the Mafia leader, when he unleashes a powerful attack that you never see again.

Virtually everything about this game is cut-rate. Dungeons are boring, consisting mostly of llengthy, painfully linear corridors. You'll tread lengthy paths to travel short distances, knowing all the while that the bends and curves exist merely to deliver a few more battles and pad the game's length. Playing this game immediately after World Wide Software's previous (and far superior) release, Symphony of Eternity, was a jarring experience from start to finish. There's no opening video. Encounters are random once more. There's next to no character customization, either. You buy skills from vending machines and distribute them as you see fit, but each person can carry only a finite number. Though the game isn't mindlessly easy, there's little fear that a group of monsters will ever defeat you.

All of the above issues add up to a short but tedious experience that is not fulfilling on virtually any level. Kemco has released nearly 50 RPGs for Android during the last few years. That's a lot of material for anyone to endure. My advice is to skip this one. Or, if you MUST play End of Aspiration, look into the free version. Occasional ads might be a pain, but when nearly everything the game does is already an annoyance, does one more issue really even matter?

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (November 13, 2015)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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If you enjoyed this End of Aspiration review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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honestgamer posted November 14, 2015:

I hope you enjoy the next Kemco game you tackle a bit more. If this keeps up for too long, the Kemco Khallenge could be the death of you!
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overdrive posted November 15, 2015:

Lol, if there's a bright spot, it's that I've gotten the impression that End of Aspiration is one of Kemco's lowest points (along with Sheterra the Skyworld). Most of their games can at least be described as competent, if unexceptional. Like I'm playing Covenant of Solitude now and while I can think of some areas that could be improved, the overall product is at least respectable and reasonably enjoyable to play.

This game, though, it doesn't hit on those points. Not even close.
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overdrive posted November 18, 2015:

In fact, Covenant of Solitude just went up a notch in my estimation last night when my party was wiped out by a random encounter. It got a preemptive attack, one of the monsters has a powerful spell and my party was at 50% health. That spell killed two of them, I tried to run, both characters failed and I died the next turn.

This is the fifth Kemco RPG I've played. This is the first time a regular encounter killed me. In fact, if memory serves, I've had a full-party death a grand total of one time throughout the 4+ I've played — against a post-game optional boss in Symphony of Eternity. When one of their games shows some teeth (ala: Symphony of Eternity), I'm pleased. For the game to actually bite me is actually impressive!

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