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Level-5's ROID Service Kicks Off Today

All about the new mobile portal service and its games.


Level-5's much anticipated ROID gaming service kicked off today for iMode cell phone users. For those of you who were smart enough to switch to iPhone and thus don't have access to the service, here's a basic overview.

First announced at 2008's Level-5 Vision press conference, Roid is a virtual gaming platform that will offer a variety of games and other services. The name is short for "Revolutionary Original Ideas Discovery."

[end_p text="Click to read more on ROID, including details on upcoming games" /]

As detailed in an "about" section at the service's PC-based official site, ROID promises a variety of offerings, from full game experiences such as RPGs and online games, to more simple puzzle titles. For the most part, the service will deal only with paid content.

The service is compatible with DoCoMo phones series 703i/903i and beyond (iMode is the application platform for mobile service provider NTT DoCoMo). The DoCoMo Prime series P-07A phone from Panasonic, available since May 22, came pre-installed with the ROID iWidget. Level-5 says that, for mobile users at least, the service is only a DoCoMo thing (this makes sense, since DoCoMo is one of the service's backers -- a company rep even spoke at Level-5 Vision).

To use the service, players will have to pay a monthly fee. Level-5 is offering five pricing plans: 315 yen, 525 yen, 735 yen, 1,050 yen or 1,575 yen. Pricing for the available content is a bit tough to come by without actually accessing the service, but aside from one piece of free content, it appears that everything is 315 yen and up.

Six titles were made available today:

Chara Jo (left) and Sloan and McHale (right).
Sloan and McHale's Mystery Story
A ROID version of the recently released DS puzzle game. Currently, only the first chapter is available. Level-5 plans eight in all, with each chapter priced at 315 yen.
Professor Layton and the Mansion of the Mirror of Death Remix
A remix version of the like-named Professor Layton game that was available until March on the popular mobile portal Mobage Town where it saw 2.5 million downloads. The Roid version offers new puzzles and has been made more accessible. This app is being made available for free to anyone who accesses the service this month.
Chara Jo P
A hostess simulaiton where you attempt to become the number one girl at Castle, a hostess club in Neo Ginza. You can customize your girl with face parts, hair styles, makeup and clothing.
Yuuenchi wo Tsukurou Revolution
A simulation game where you create your own amusement park, setting up attractions and services and making management decisions about admission fees and employees.
Treasure Island
A treasure hunting-themed RPG where player treasure discovery rates are tracked online.
Elf the Dragon
A grid-based strategy game set in a kingdom protected by Dragons.

The first three titles are Level-5 productions. The other three come from companies other than Level-5.

Upcoming titles for the service include Colorful Danbo, Moe Ni-ji-taisen Raku, and Komige Town: Kimokawa Pack on June 15.

Famitsu detailed four additional titles in its latest issue. These have bigger names but lack final release dates.

Ni no Kuni Hotroit Stories
An iMode app set for distribution exclusively through ROID. Players will be able to experience the world of the Studio Ghibli tie-up in advance of the DS version's release. You'll be able to take control of Ni no Kuni hero Oliver and explore the game's setting of Hotroit City. A release is set for Fall.
Danbol Senki
An iMode app version of the upcoming PSP title of the same name. The game will make use of your cell phone's wireless capabilities for wireless combat. A release is set for the summer.
Inazuma Eleven Future
A new entry in the Inazuma Eleven series. You play as the Conan Endo, the great grandchild of the DS version's main character Mamoru Endo. While the gameplay systems remain similar to the other Inazuma eleven games, the sport has changed from regular soccer to a future sport called "Element Soccer." A release is set for this Fall.
[dt]Professor Layton's London Life[/dt]
A new take on the Professor Layton series. Rather than solving puzzles as Layton and Luke, as you do in other entries in the series, in this version you play as yourself. You get to make your own avatar and live life in London. Screenshots do indicate that at least Luke will appear in the game. A release is set for this winter.
Ni no Kuni (left) and Professor Layton's London Life (right).
Inazuma Eleven Future

An additional title, Magical Sonar, appeared in a Roid ad in Famitsu, but was not detailed in the magazine. This game comes from a third party.

The Roid service will take distribution of new games twice a month, every 1st and 15th. Additionally, Level-5 plans non-game content like screensavers and the like.

The actual Roid portal offers the following sections:

The mobile portal interface.
Town Information
Get information about new game releases.
Famitsu Roid
A Roid specific publication from the editors of Famitsu.
Roid Theater
Enjoy game trailers and demos.
Purchase new games.
Purchase Roid Points here.
My Room
Check your current Roid Points and the games that you've purchased.

You can also get a glimpse at these areas of the service at the PC-based ROID site. The service was originally announced for the PC as well, but Level-5 hasn't shared details on when PC service will start.

The PC official site. Level-5 has yet to share details on when service or the PC will start.

I'm one of those wise individuals who ditched his regular cell phone for an iPhone, so I can't try out ROID for myself. From what I can see, for all the hype, this just turned out to be Level-5's own mobile portal.

However, things could get more interesting once Level-5 offers the service on the PC.

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