15th Century Spain. Ezio is chasing The Inquisition, hoping to eavesdrop on their meeting to learn about their latest nefarious scheme (no doubt involving the Apples of Eden).
No, this isn’t Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood or Revelations featuring one the franchise’s most loved characters, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
This is Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion, a free mobile game and a fun little take on the genre. It was developed by Behavior Interactive Studio in cooperation with Ubisoft and released for Android and iOS. Note that it’s not multiplayer.
You Had Me At Leap Of Faith
You’re introduced to Ezio right at the beginning, and you’re pleasingly placed right into the tutorial action without any of the long introductory preamble that some RPG mobile games seem to love.
Your objectives are clearly marked at the top right corner of your screen, and if you press the pause button you can get more detail about what to do and how to progress in the game.
In a nod to fans across the world, the tutorial early on introduces one of the franchise’s signature moves – the Leap of Faith – right into a faithfully recreated and handily located cart of hay. At this point, the game had won me over.
Helpfully, you can zoom right out to get a feel for the layout of the level you’re on, your objectives and to admire the smooth yet sharp graphics. You can also zoom in on your characters in all their beautifully rendered glory. There is no doubt it looks beautiful on my 2018 iPad.
Build Your Brotherhood And Recruit Your Assassins
As a turn based combat, 2D strategy game, Assassin’s Creed Rebellion’s mechanics are reminiscent of XCOM and Fire Emblem.
Essentially your goal is to assemble a force of Assassins, and at the beginning of the game, you claim and begin to upgrade a base of operations in the form of a fortress.
To progress through the story, level your characters up and work on building your Brotherhood into a thing to be feared, you’ll be tasked with missions such as raiding supplies from the Inquisition.
With the loot from these daily missions, you can then upgrade your Brotherhood and build rooms such as a Training Room, Living Quarters and an Intel Room. You can find these missions in the Objective button on the bottom of the screen.
There are also Standard missions you can attempt for rewards such as XP, gold, wood and medicine. These are provided on a map, with 5 separate regions currently provided for players to unlock as they progress through the storyline.
Play As Different Assassins
During the game, you get to play as different characters in a team. You start off, for example, with an Enforcer, a Shadow (Aguilar) and a Specialist (Hamid). Each has a different set of special skills that allow them to navigate certain parts of a level with ease and panache.
The video below shows how players can tell which character will be best for the next section of the level.
New Brotherhood heroes can be acquired by opening Animus Data Cubes, and apart from receiving new characters throughout the story, you can get DNA fragments in the shop.
Assassins Creed: Rebellion Combat, Parkour and Movement
As any fan would know, there are a few important aspects of Assassins Creed that you’d want them to get right, even in a mobile game.
Parkour skills would be one and combat another. Parkouring, while featured in the 2D game levels, obviously doesn’t require the skill of the main games in the franchise, and therefore does not provide much excitement.
However, you can hardly blame the developers for restricting the parkour element of the game while adapting it for a mobile audience.
Combat is turn-based, and each character has been given basic attack skills, as well as unique active skills. These have to recharge over time and become fully charged when you enter a new room.
This gives your fighting a strategic element as you work out which character would be best in any particular combat situation, as well as which skill will kill your enemy with as much efficiency and style as possible.
Your movement across each level is automatic, letting you focus on getting the most from your characters in your assembled team as they navigate across rooftops, up walls and in combat.
As in the main Assassin’s Creed games, you generally get to choose which path through a level you want to take – will you barge ahead, facing superior numbers of enemies or will you avoid head-on confrontation by taking the roofs or sneaking in a back way.
These decisions can be made easier by zooming out and assessing all the options as you go, as you plan for minimal casualties to your little team while maximising the loot you’ll get at the end of the level.
Music Captures The Atmosphere Of The Franchise
One of the best things about Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion is the music and sound effects. Anyone familiar with the Assassin’s Creed II soundtrack will recognise the tracks and sound effects featured on different levels, in your Brotherhood screens and in the main screens of the game.
The music is actually impressive for a mobile game, atmospheric and certainly helps build a feeling that you’re playing a familiar game.
I’m not sure what I expected from a mobile game based on Assassin’s Creed, but at this point I’m impressed and feel it could hold my attention for a while – possibly longer than other mobile RPGs – thanks to its familiar elements such as the characters you get to unlock and the music which brings back all the nostalgia of playing Assassins Creed II.