A Little Look At… Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan (on iOS!)

Anyone who’s suffered my internet presence for a while will no doubt have heard me harp on about Xian Jian or another Chinese RPG at some point so it’s probably no surprise that when Softstar finally released the original Xian Jian game on iOS devices a few weeks ago (and just over a week after the lovely Xian Jian 5 Qian Zhuan) I snapped it up.

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The game’s little more than DOSbox+the original files - but when a second hand copy of the real thing costs at least £240 on Taobao paying £1.50 for this port suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. This bare-bones approach is also still better than the awful Saturn port, something I’m annoyed about to this day.

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There’s no real getting around the rather basic graphics and some distinctly old-school mazelike dungeon design but while it’s definitely worth mentioning (especially if this is your first look at the series) I’m not entirely sure it’s fair to criticise an eighteen year old game for looking and acting its age.

Anyone looking for a first taste of Xian Jian would probably do better to purchase fellow iOS app 仙劍奇俠傳5 - 劍傲丹楓 as it’s based on the more recent Xian Jian 5 and as it revolves entirely around hitting monsters there’s not a lot to get stuck on even if you can’t read a word of Chinese, not to mention it’s a heck of a lot easier on the eye too.

I can’t not like this release though – it makes an old and expensive game easily available for a very reasonable price and that’s something I wish far more publishers would do. Thank you Softstar!

Ooh something important I forgot to mention – the app page states that the app is available in Chinese (both forms), English, Korean and Japanese… but this only seems to apply to the DOS-related options menu. The game itself is only in Chinese.