Control of your character is simple, just touch the screen where you want to go, and interact with people and objects via the 'action' button. During each story you will encounter monsters to battle, which entails a fight cut scene with a 'time-based battle engine'.
The visuals in Arvale: Short Tales are fairly basic - reminiscent of 8-bit games - but functional. The characters and world of Arvale are the stuff of generic fantasy, though the dialogue is light hearted and humorous.
Fans of RPGs will probably find Arvale: Short Tales too old fashioned. The funny dialogue actually slows the game down too much, and when you're in a conversation, you are trapped in it till the end, even if you are repeating it. The start of the game is particularly slow - and the game holds your hand too much and you don't feel in control at all.
The biggest problem, however, with Arvale: Short Tales is the combat. Firstly, you cannot see monsters while you wander about Arvale, the game will stop you without warning to fight. This looks really odd, and the fight mechanics are awkward. The timed attacks are not very well implemented, making it better to 'flee' from battle rather than engage in it.
If you want an RPG on your Pocket PC, Arvale: Short Tales provides hours of gameplay, but this is only for fans of the genre.