Casual Friday: Eternium
It's just so hard to find a nice, unassuming app that lets me wade through hordes of ghoulies with intuitive controls built specifically for my touchscreen, without a single mention of real money attached. This is that app. On the surface, Eternium is a stripped down, mobile-friendly re-skinning of a classic dungeon crawler like the original Diablo. And it's completely gratis, without any popups or banner ads ruining the ambiance.
There's the standard two-currency system, with basic transactions coming from gold coins and the more vital things, like unlocking sockets and spell slots, as well as opening certain treasure chests, costs gems. And certainly, you can buy gems with real world dollars, but it's hardly necessary. The game gives you ample opportunities to watch optional ad videos to pick up the extra handful of them, daily logon bonuses and side-quests (things like "kill 50 of this particular enemy NPC") pay even more. There's no point where content is locked behind a paywall. The ads are easily skipped over if your time is worth too much, and there isn't even a "Store" button where you can pay to win through various god gear. It's just a game, and a good one.
The loot is plentiful, and the different modifying effects of armor, jewelry, and weapons is enough to equate this to a fairly sophisticated PC game system. You can even craft items, socket them for the myriad of jewels that you will collect, and the best part? You can sell items at any point. No need to teleport back to a safe village or finish the current map before getting your salvage reward, just pick something up, click sell, and that's that. This is a necessity, since the inventory remains teeny-tiny for a good long time. By Level 10, almost all looted armor and jewels had to be sold outright without any experimenting with different combos. I just didn't have the room.