Xezi: A Silk Road Adventure similar to ‘choose your own adventure’ books.
I have been asked to review a game called Xezi: A Silk Road Adventure, a new buy low and sell high adventure. Do you remember the choose your own adventure books? Do you want to rub the lamp to release the genie go to page 5, if you don’t go to page 15? These were a staple of my youth. This genre was also quite evident in the popular Mass Effect games. I am now waiting patiently for this type of movie. Imagine it, augmented reality, omni treadmill, and a choose your own adventure model. Enter Xezi a trader game, with some choose your own adventure aspects.
The story is dark at times, and really does try for some humor; the dialogue wins some and it loses some. If I am being honest, the story scenes are a bit long. This model does not allow for a quick get in and out model. It seems many people want to be able to play on break, while using the toilet (you know you do), or before/after bed. The dialogue may give you 4-5 choices at times or maybe one or two. Sometimes the choice matters and other times the story directs you, through dialogue, to choose again. I like the story, but wish that it was not so intensive, specifically at the beginning.
Now to the game itself. The developers state on the App Store that this is an easy game to learn and a hard game to master. I will say that they are right on the money with this statement. You start out experiencing an epidemic (zombie skin rot disease), which is spreading. You have been given the cure for the disease, but nobody believes you, “FIND THE SOURCE OF THE WATER.” Go to Chang’an, the greatest city in the world to start this adventure.
With the scenario laid out for you, you enter the first town, are given 3,000 gold and 2 camels. Now, you need figure it out! There are some extra main story quests to muddle through (no extra gold for these). This leads to more dialogue. When done you are taken to sell mode.
Once inside the town you see items for sale to the left. Long press on the item, you want to buy, and drag this into your bag, opening a slider dialogue box detailing quantity and total price. Adjust the quantity of items desired and purchase them. Your virtual currency will be docked. Once quests are complete, once you have purchased desired items, press the X in the top right and exit to the world view. From here, you can tap on any city and travel to the destination. The catch, it costs 100 gold per each town.
Whether you buy rice, dye, skins, gems, wool, etc. you take your wares to the next town. The idea, the further you get from the original town of purchase, the more profit you will make. Initially you may make 2-3 extra gold per sale. You may lose money on the deal as well. Unfortunately, this is not enough to offset the 100+ per town for travel. I have yet to find a good deal >10 gold per sale, in the initial 3 towns (200 gold to travel to town #3) then another 200 to return (round trip 400 gold). Needless to say, I ran out of money quickly. If you are in a pinch, you can sell a camel by going into the caravan tab (top right), while in world view. However, should you do this you get about half back on the price of the camel and your caravan is able to hold less stuff for transport. This is a double-edged sword.
If you travel enough, you will be set upon by soldiers/thieves and have the option to fight, surrender or flee. Fighting initially is not a great option, as you do not have enough soldier support to muster a defense. You are given 2 mercenaries initially when given 3000 gold and 2 camels. Choosing fight, you will be taken to a Mini game. You see a soldier at the top (enemy) and you have a deck of soldier cards to play. Each turn you get 3 moves. Long press your soldier, move him forward and advance. Do this again and you will attack the solder. Each soldier has attack/defense and the tutorial shows strengths/weakness of each soldier type. I have fought about 6x and have lost every time. The tutorial suggests surrendering may be the best option as they may show mercy on you. If you lose the battle or if you try to flee you will lose a portion of your gold. Gold is the scarce resource here.
I enjoy a good challenge, I like games that promote thought and make you work at obtaining milestones/achievements etc. Although helpful, I feel that the tutorial is lacking on some key information. For example, in trade view, when selling an item you are met with 2 numbers. The number to the left is the selling price, the number in parenthesis is the previous purchase price. You may immediately notice that neither of these numbers are the selling price of the item in your current town. It appears that there is a supply/demand algorithm that determines the price they will buy the item from you. After a few travels, I figured this out. I wish that there was a way to have an idea of what a town was needing, to give you any idea as to what to purchase. A suggestion to improve this mechanic would be to have a scouting feature. For 25 gold send a scout and get a glimpse of prices, items that may be worth purchasing or selling at various towns. Or, you may have a rumors tab, similar to what many gamesIt may be a good mechanic possible demand list or option to send scout for 50 gold.
The game is fun, yet very challenging. I would rate this at 3.5/5 stars. I will continue to play this and may just require more learning on my part. It can be purchased through the IOS App Store. I really like their model. Buy this once and never pay for any add-ons. Good luck.
DOWNLOAD – Xezi: A Silk Road Adventure – $0.99 – iOS