Old School RuneScape Mobile Impressions – MMO to Go

I’ve been playing RuneScape in some capacity since 2006, which means I’ve lived more of my life with a RuneScape account than without one. The beloved game made its way to Android and iOS devices earlier this week and while phone ports can sometimes go poorly, Runescape has made the transition wonderfully. Old School RuneScape Mobile is a well-crafted, smartly constructed port of the classic massively multiplayer online game. And thanks to its decent controls and frame rate, it feels great to tap around Geilinor and slay goblins on the go.

Old School RuneScape is a fork of the game based on a full backup of RuneScape from August 2007 that was re-released under the “Old School” banner in 2013. OSRS, as players call it, has received various improvements, quality-of-life patches, and new content based on player polls. The full mobile release is an important milestone for the decades-old RuneScape. The “New School” version of RuneScape, sometimes called RuneScape 3, will also be getting a full mobile release at some time in the future.

Old School RuneScape Mobile Impressions – Small Screen, No Problem

RuneScape Mobile has a smart UI built for touch screens.

The biggest change is the user interface, as it must now account for imprecise touch screens. To get around this, developer Jagex has built a generally good bespoke UI for the game. There are two rows of menu panels along either side of the landscape-only game. A click-through chat window and the collapsible menus keep as much of the game available for viewing, and a generous amount of zoom is possible for the mobile release. Interactions are largely done through single short taps to travel around the world and interact with objects. A secondary long-tap will open a context menu for objects and characters in the world, allowing you to examine items, drop items from your inventory, and interact with other players.

There have been some issues with the UI for those with notched phone screens, as the game’s UI doesn’t currently account for the notch. One row of menu buttons is partially obscured by notches, and some Reddit users have complained about this oversight. Some phones have the problem, while others have said their devices do not. The game has had a smooth launch on mobile though, as few users have voiced complaints about login issues.

Old School RuneScape Mobile Impressions – Playing Around Town

Overall, in about four hours of play, it felt like the same ol’ RuneScape on a touch screen. That is a very good thing for Jagex even if it is an old MMORPG, as it is fully cross-platform and accounts can migrate freely. There are some small annoyances like accidentally opening the chat and keyboard, or Android’s softkeys not going away after taking a screenshot but those are relatively minor gripes.

I spent some time on my main account, wandering the wilderness and working through the Dragon Slayer quest. The mobile release preserves the point-and-click nature of RuneScape, and the game’s emphasis on player freedom continues to be enjoyable in 2018. And its new functionalities improve that core game like being able to close the chat and other windows. It gives a lot of screen space to the game world, and makes navigation quick and easy. I ran through Tutorial Island on a new account, and had no issues dealing with the mass of other players in game.

Old School RuneScape Mobile Impressions – Performing Well in the Modern Day

Tutorial Island in Old School RuneScape Mobile.

I’m playing RuneScape Mobile on a Motorola Moto X Style. It’s a three year old device, having launched in September 2015, and I bought mine new in mid-2016. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM run Old School RuneScape moderately well. RuneScape Mobile allows users to limit the game’s frame rate to as low as 15 frames per second to increase battery life. Densely populated areas run worse, although that is typical of the game even on more powerful hardware.

I tested the game in a variety of settings and it ran acceptably throughout. Densely populated areas such as Lumbridge and Tutorial Island dropped the game’s frame rate, although never to an unplayable degree. RuneScape‘s less action-oriented nature allows it to run worse without affecting gameplay too heavily. Other areas, like the Wilderness and Edgeville Dungeon, were desolate and ran closer to the game’s maximum frame rate.

RuneScape Mobile launches quickly on my device taking around five to six seconds to get to the login screen. It takes a bit longer the first time it is started, because the game has to download extra data. For new players, the account creation is a breeze and took me under two minutes to get into the game. The whole experience feels snappy and intelligently put together. Jagex has been testing the game in beta for months leading to the full release.

Old School RuneScape Mobile Impressions – Where It Counts

RuneScape Mobile is full of new and returning players.

Old School RuneScape Mobile has brought an influx of new and returning players to the game. OSRS player counts have jumped thousands, and are currently sitting at around 110,000 players. Mobile players can also get a seven-day trial of membership, which adds a lot more content to play. The game has already been downloaded over one million times on Android, and its subreddit is exploding with activity. Developer Jagex brought a fully-fledged MMORPG to mobile devices, and is keeping parity with other versions of the game.

I plan to keep playing Old School RuneScape Mobile when I’m out and about. It feels great to always be making progress on this one account between different platforms and devices. RuneScape can feel like a relic from days gone, but it is one still worth experiencing.