Sonny was a game I had played on my browser ages ago; it was a turn-based RPG with a lot of depth, a good amount of skill effects and difficult challenges. When I saw it on the app store, I wondered if it was going to be the same as I once played. It's almost that, but not quite. Sonny on iOS is a cool RPG with enough customization and difficulty to keep you engaged. It does mostly one thing - fighting enemies - and it does it well. I didn't manage to get through it, but I've played enough to know that I liked it.

After a light intro done in the comic book style used in a few games, you're thrown in a few tutorial battles. Your character, Sonny, can equip a combination of eight active or passive skills to fight hordes of monsters that each have their own moves. Some moves have cooldowns, some are basic attacks and most of them have special effects. Either they can attack for more damage if you have a specific buff on yourself, they inflict a debuff on the enemy, while passives range from healing you when you deal damage, protecting you against attack, increasing your stats, and so forth. You can upgrade them through five levels but I feel that the upgrades give so little that I never wanted to do so. I wish they had given more serious boosts.

I'm not super in love with the itemization, however. You get items after certain fights and you can buy them at the store, but the stats are a bit messy for my tastes. Gear improves three of your stats while lowering two, and your eyes glaze over about if it's better or not than what you already had. Is a five point loss in power balanced by 15% more crit chance? Should I go with ten defense or ten vitality? I think they should've went with a simpler stats and clearer choices of which new gear to buy or equip. There's also an upgrade system for items, but it's random stat bonuses, adding to the number soup.

After a few bits of the story, you meet party members that act on their own with their own moves and AI patterns, you can also change their gear - which I wish you couldn't - and if you die during battle, they can finish the job for you. The main game menu lets you go back to previous levels and fight, principally. You can also 'grind', but the game is weird about that. There is a notice in a menu about how the game can be completed without grinding and how you'll lose some honorific if you do grind to make it easier. I understand that this could be an achievement, finish the game without grinding, but that got stripped away as soon as I hit the 'free fight' button and immediately exited, gaining nothing, woops.

More mechanics unlock when you get through chapter 2. Your skills can 'evolve' after a certain number of turns in battle. They gain randomly assigned temporary buffs that end after the combat is over. They help, and they change each time so you can always try new combinations. You also get a choice of class at the end of chapter 2, so you can selected between Nature, Shadow, Fire, Ice and Electricity, each with their own skill trees and play styles, so this encourages multiple playthroughs. You can always respec your skill points if you mess up, as well.

I had fun with Sonny! There's a good turn-based RPG system in there even if the item aspect is so-so for my tastes. I wish I could've sunk more hours into it, but I had a good time regardless.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories4/5, iOS, RPG