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Friday, October 16, 2009

Fly for Fun

Game: Fly For Fun

Publisher: gPotato

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: gPotatoes can be purchased and used to buy a large variety of items such as pets, skill and status boosts, and character costumes.

Review: Fly for Fun explores the world of Madrigal, starting on the island of Flaris. Despite the name, early exploring is accomplished by walking around the paths and fields on the island. Flight is easily accomplished after reaching level 20, and combat in the air is even possible.

Selecting enemies for combat is easy. By clicking on a foe its name and level appear, allowing for selection of targets in the right range to defeat without difficulty. Most enemies wandering the area are passive and won't attack unless provoked first. Those that are aggressive have their names in red, making them simple to spot and either avoid or take out first. Spawn times for basic monsters are low allowing for many players to kill in the same area with minimal downtime between fights.

Along with simple loot, monsters and enemies that carry quest items drop them regardless of whether or not the quest is active. This can make completing quests later simpler since the items can already be on hand, but it also clutters up a limited inventory space.

Appearance can be customized with costumes varying from sailor's suits to school uniforms. While not having much of an impact on stats the costumes do allow for a unique look.

Rating: 6/10 A slight cartoony look and feel. Combat is a breeze if a little repetitive. On hand inventory space appears quite large but can fill quickly.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Game: Shadowtale

Publisher: Hyper Awesome Entertainment

Download or web based: Web

What you get if you pay: Various “Members Only” perks including exclusive weapons, areas, and quests.

Review: Shadowtale opens with a mysterious woman telling the player about them being a destined hero. A short tutorial quest follows explaining the basics of battle and movement.

The tutorial quest leaves off in the small village of Edgewood. Here many quests can be undertaken and equipment bought to start things off. Arrows on the main screen and a highlighted path on the mini-map make navigating to quest goals simple enough, even if defeating enemies or collecting items is more of a challenge. Enemies include boars, goblins, and some soldiers attacking a nearby castle.

Combat is a basic approach and attack style with free movement in the area and between areas. Using skills and casting spells increase experience in the job the skill is based in. For example, throwing a fireball at an offending blood wolf will increase points in wizardry whether the wolf is defeated with more fireballs or a slashing sword. While experience is gained with each foe defeated, a tone sounds and total experience required for the next level will be displayed when all on screen foes are defeated.

Rating: 7/10 Fairly simple game play in an open world and large number of quests. Graphics are decent for not requiring a download.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Runes of Magic

Game: Runes of Magic

Publisher: Frogster

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Diamonds can be purchased and used to buy chests containing various helpful items. Mounts for speedy travel, potions for resurrection, and vials to increase skill levels are also available. Purchasing Diamonds also earns Rubies which can be used in a secondary shop of their own.

Review: Runes of Magic takes place in the land of Taborea. Residents of the land live in small villages and farms, outpost towns, and large, fortified cities. Players themselves also have “houses” that can be entered from many wide-spread areas. The houses can also be customized with furniture purchased from a merchant (for decoration only) or the Item Shop (which can boost experience and other things). Furnishings range from simple rugs and chairs to elaborate beds or even animal head trophies that can be hung on the walls.

Character creation is simple despite the variety of customizable features. Height, facial features, and hair style/color are options along with chest size, arm and leg muscle bulk and hip size.

Choosing a character's class at the beginning isn't as important in this game as it is in some. Other classes can be accessed after achieving level 10 and used as a new main class or utilized as a secondary class to boost the main class's traits and skills. Mages can use a Rogue's throwing skill to get the attention of foes and save their Mana points for powerful spells to take the angry enemy out.

Combat is accomplished by simply attacking a foe or walking past an aggressive enemy that will attack on its own. When the enemy is defeated experience and training points are gained. Training points can be used to increase combat skill levels. When utilizing the dual-class system only the main class's skills can be leveled.

Weapons, armor, potions, and many other items can be crafted from materials collected from many points in the fields. Collecting basic materials increases the level of the basic skills and allows for the collection of items to craft higher level weapons, pieces of armor, and other items. While the basic materials can be found practically anywhere they can be refined and used to craft items only when in range of tool benches for the specific craft type. Hunks of wood can only be made into pieces of lumber near Carpentry Tools in and around villages and towns. There are NPCs near each set of tools that can sell recipes for crafting as skill levels increase.

Player versus player is limited on some servers and wide open on others. Defeating other players in combat can shift one's alignment one way or another, depending on the alignment of challenger and challenged. As one progresses up or down the alignment scale exclusive weapons and armor become available to use.

Rating: 9/10 Excellent graphics and smooth transition from one map zone to another. Large variety of quests in starting areas eliminates boredom when leveling multiple classes for the dual-class system. Combat is straightforward and simple, but allows for quite a bit of strategy whether solo or in a party.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sorcery Quest

Game: Sorcery Quest

Publisher: Edgebee

Download or web based: Web

What you get if you pay: Tokens can be purchased and used to create new characters and buy weapons and armor. Extra turns, rings to boost experience gained, and picking up rare loot also use tokens.

Review: Sorcery Quest is a simple game from a company barely a year in existence. After creating an initial party a number of of simple quests can be started from the starting village of Debrinheim. Hunting mushrums and a variety of rats in the Outskirts of Debrinheim get a player familiar with battle and getting the right balance for their party.

New characters can be created and added to the party after acquiring coins from quests or purchased with Edgebee™ Tokens. The exact type of character depends on the coin used. Fighter coins can be used to create Knights, Monks, and other melee type characters. Rogue coins spawn Ninjas, Archers, and other stealthy and long ranged combatants. The third coin type, Spellcasters, make Evokers, Illusionists, and other magic-wielding party members.

The maximum size of a party is determined by the leader's Charisma stat. The more Charisma, the more party members can be managed. To control a larger party a character's Charisma must be set at creation or when reset to a coin and remade. Rare seeds can be acquired that will also boost Charisma along with other basic stats.

Movement outside the village is accomplished using the keyboard arrow keys or the navigation arrows under the on screen map. Besides a chance for a random battle on each square of the map there are treasure chests, sanctuary points for full healing, and the occasional secret passage.

Combat is turn based with a minimum of animations. Special skill use is displayed by a flash of the attacking character's picture and an up/down arrow or small icon displaying any long term effects such as a decrease in defense or paralysis.

Each combat encounter, visit to a sanctuary, or brief rest at a campsite uses up Turns. When the number of Turns reaches zero movement in dungeons is restricted until more are available. Turns regenerate at a rate of 1 every 2 hours and can be purchased with Edgebee tokens.

Player versus player combat takes place in the arena via ladder matches. A player submits themselves to the list and challenges others or waits to be challenged. The matches themselves are automatic and can be viewed after the results are posted.

Rating: 5/10 The simple graphics don't really detract from the game much. The biggest hindrance to long term play is the limit imposed by the number of turns on hand. It is difficult to explore maps and complete quests when only 12 encounters are allowed after not playing for a day. Some enemies are enjoyable. “Not-a-rats” are large rodents wearing silly glasses to disguise their “rat”ness.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Adventure Quest

Game: Adventure Quest

Publisher: Artix Entertainment

Download or web based: Web-based

What you get if you pay: A one time fee for Guardian status can be purchased to unlock many weapons and quests. Z-tokens can also be purchased for many rare weapons, pets, and pieces of equipment.

Review: Adventure Quest takes place in a fantasy world called Lore. The residents of Lore vary from simple humans to walking lizards to rabbit-like Moglins. These beings live in the many lands and cities of Lore. Mountainous regions, seaside ports, and monster filled deserts are all reached from the starting village of Battleon.

Quests are avaliable at almost any level and outnumber the varied species. From short hunt-and-kill quests to elaborate travels across the land following a familiar looking Frogzard hunter. Monsters can also be attacked individually without undertaking a quest to gain experience, gold, or just satisfy the urge to kill things.

Elements play an important role in combat. Weapons, armor, spells, and shields all are strong in one or more elemental atritbute. Enemies can be strong or weak in elements as well. Finding out what element is needed to maximize damage given or minimize damage received is accomplished by looking at the foe's in-match status screen. Weapons and other equipment can be quickly swapped during battle to allow for the best setup possible with items on hand. Pets from the pet shop can be switched in battle as well to enhance elemental damage.

Combat is a single screen, limited animation, turn-based encounter. Any game controlled companions of the player will randomly attack or not in the same turn as the player themselves. This includes any pets or quest related characters along for the ride.

Rating: 6/10 Despite the simple visuals and limited animations AQ is very enjoyable. The quests allow for a wide variety of gameplay options. The limited weapons allowed to free players is a slight hinderance but not enough to limit play of the game.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Neo Steam

Game: Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent

Publisher: Atlus Online

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Packages that increase experience gained. Crowns can also be purchased and used to buy customizing items as well as consumables that boost various stats.

Review: The game takes place on Chrysalis, a steampunk universe with war being waged between two nations fighting over the ancient technology of Neo Steam. The Republic of Rogwel believes in advancing technology to betterment of all. The Kingdom of Elerd wishes to promote a more ecological path, preferring to use the energy of Neo Steam to heal the environment.

Both nations are home to many races, some that are remnants of a former Taxn Alliance. Elves, Humans, and the wolf-like Lupine are common sights. There are also the Pom, a mechanically inclined race that resembles walking bundles of fluff.

There are many targets available for combat and numerous quests to defeat them. Besides the main story line quests there is a character that has lists of quests to help various residents of the towns. There is also the option of attacking players or characters from the opposing nation. This means that outposts of one's own nation may be attacked at any time with quest related characters falling in the melee. They will reappear after a time, assuming the enemy players have been defeated or moved on.

A small pet can be evolved and trained to use skills that assist their owner. Attacking, healing, and teleporting their boss to town are just a few.

Skills are gained and improved by spending Skill Points and Training Points. One Skill Point is used each time a skill is learned or increased. Training Points are spent in increasing amounts depending on the level of the skill, the higher the level, the more Training Points required. While both Skill and Training Points are gained each time a character levels Training Points can also be acquired by using training stations outside the gates of major towns.

Moving between towns and outposts is accomplished a couple of different ways. Balloons can ridden to outposts and other regions in the field. A subway system is used to move from town to town. The subway system uses a traditional train or a one person submarine depending on the destination.

Rating: 8/10 The variety of foes and quests makes for long hours of play without any loss of interest. The training stations are a great way to utilize the downtime required for minor things like eating, sleeping, and bathroom breaks. While having one's pet out and assisting can make leveling it faster it does require a large amount of food to keep them happy and active.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Far Wilds

Game: The Far Wilds

Publisher: Code Collective

Download or web based: Either. Can be played on web only, but has better graphics and sounds if downloaded.

What you get if you pay: Gold can be purchased and used to buy packs of cards or individual cards themselves.

Review: Far Wilds is a turn based strategy game in which the player tries to defeat their opponent on the battlefield. The ultimate goal is to defeat opponents and become powerful enough to be a major in the “kingdom” of The Far Wilds.

Victory in each battle can be obtained by gaining 20 “Glory.” Glory is gained by controlling more “flux wells” than the opponent. Constructing bases and other buildings near flux wells places them in the player's control, as long as the opponent doesn't also have a building in range. If both combatants have buildings close to a flux well then neither controls it.

Controlling flux wells also produces the energy required to call forth the army of characters held in the player's hand. Spells that enhance or weaken characters on the field are also available. The exact nature of the spells varies from race to race in the Far Wilds universe.

Three default army decks can be used upon starting with temporary bonus cards won from victories over computer opponents. These can be used in tournaments. Victory in tournaments earns gold which can be used to purchase other cards and packs. This is an alternative option to purchasing the gold directly.

Rating: 7/10 While the graphics aren't all that wonderful playing the game web-based, the downloaded version's 3D look is fantastic. Being able to play against computer opponents with varying difficulties allows for a newer player to get a feel for the game and develop a few strategies. With varying opponent decks and terrains the variety of game play is almost endless. Sealed deck tournaments and matches are also available that put new and experienced players on equal footing with unseen cards to build their decks from.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Free Realms

Game: Free Realms

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment

Download or web based: Web-based, but requires an installer to be downloaded.

What you get if you pay: Packs of cards for the trading card min-game.

Review: Free Realms is a fantasy game with a storyline that ties together many types of mini-games and areas of play. Various “jobs” are avaliable and can be changed between on the fly.

Rating: 3/10 Gorgeous graphics. However this leads to rough gameplay and can cause problems with the patience levels of those in the target age range. Requiring frequent load times for mini-games and to update the view when traveling leads to much waiting instead of playing. This game would be greatly improved by making it a medium sized download game instead of the constant loading of small packets again and again.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Game: 9 Dragons

Publisher: Acclaim

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Acclaim coins can be purchased and exchanged for items that boost attack or increase experience gained.

Review: 9Dragons takes place during Ming Dynasty Japan, a period of war between many clans. When creating a character one of the 6 clan homes can be chosen as a starting area. Three clans specialize in healing and helping the NPC villagers and three are out to support themselves by any means necessary.

Each clan teaches techniques taken from many kung-fu martial arts. Wu-Tang hand and sword fighting and drunken battle methods are each taught. When techniques are used proficiency in them increases allowing for longer attack combinations and more damage dealt. This also allows for more techniques to be learned from clan training centers.

Shaolin monks and Sacred Flower assassins are the only clans with any specific requirements to join. Applicants to the Shaolin monks must be male characters while the Sacred Flower assassins will only accept females.

As each clan has its own combat style it they also each have their own wardrobes. This makes identifying friendly clans easier as well as knowing whether or not a passing individual will be helpful as healer or for bashing foes in the face.

Self healing is accomplished via medicines taken during combat or meditation between battles. The exact look and motions for meditation varies from clan to clan.

Rating: 8/10 Graphics are smooth and combat is varied enough to not be boring with extended play. Wonderful scenery in small enough areas to not cause major amounts of lag from over-occupation yet large enough to not need constant loading while traveling. An easy tutorial animation could be a little more interactive but doesn't drag out long enough to cause a loss of interest.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Astro Empires

Game: Astro Empires


Download or web based: Web

What you get if you pay: Ads removed from game pages, limits raised on build and research queues and limits removed for number of bases and advanced buildings.

Review: Galactic exploration and exploitation are the basic goals of Astro Empires. Building essential buildings and shipyards allows for fleets of space crafts and planetary defenses. All is accomplished in a largely text-based fashion.

Rating: 2/10 There is little to do and even less to see early in the game while buildings are raised and early research is accomplished. After that fleets can be launched to other planets and more waiting can be done.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Game: Evony

Publisher: Evony

Download or web based: Web

What you get if you pay: Game Coins can be purchased and used to buy a large variety of items to speed construction, increase gold or resource production, and boost hired heroes.

Review: Evony is a real-time Civilization style game. A military force must be developed after much research and building construction. Units vary from basic workers that are good for little more than carrying supplies to ballistas that hurl things at enemy defenses. The strength and availability of individual units depends on what buildings are present and what technologies have been discovered. Defenses can bee built from the city wall as it is upgraded. Simple traps, wooden barricades, and piles of stones to roll over attackers can all be used.

Resources like food, iron, stone, and lumber are collected from spaces outside the city walls yet still a part of the town itself. The number of possible collection points is dependent on the upgrade level of the town hall.

Additional cities can be built on empty “Flats” or conquering already established cities of enemies. If a player only has one city it cannot be conquered however. Plundering of someone's single city is possible though.

Community is very important as alliance members can be called upon for support when low on resources or under attack by a large enemy force.

For the first week new players are under “Beginner's Protection” which allows them time to get established without being attacked and their hard earned resources plundered.

Rating: 4/10 As the game progresses it takes more and more time to build and upgrade town constructions. This makes it less of a game and more like something that gets checked once or twice a day. I'm not an English major, but some of the text could use a much better translator.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Urban Rivals

Game: Urban Rivals

Publisher: Acute Mobile

Download or web based: Web-Based

What you get if you pay: You can purchase credits used to buy card packs.

Review: Urban Rivals is your basic digital trading card game. Like other TCG's players utilize character based cards to attack and defend themselves from single opponents. Unlike other TCG's the characters in this game gain experience in “battle” and can increase in level, increasing their attacks and abilities.

Battle is accomplished by challenging another player or accepting a challenge. Four cards from a deck are chosen at random. First a card is selected from the four. Then one selects the number of “pillz” to use on the character featured on the card. The “pillz” boost the characters attack power by multiplying the base strength by the number of “pillz” used. The number of “pillz” used is hidden from the opponent is hidden until they have selected their card and “pillz.” The two cards then attack each other, the victor doing damage to the loser's owner. The match is over after four rounds or if one player receives a total of 12 damage.

Urban Rivals has entertaining graphics when the cards engage and the “evolution” system for the cards is unique and encourages play to see what the characters will look like and how their abilities will grow.

Rating: 7/10 Fun to watch and play, but playing for hours on end can get a little tedious.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Game: Shaiya

Publisher: Aeria Games

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Currency for potions that allow for extra experience gain as well as packages of items and medicines.

Review: Shaiya is a basic battle of light versus dark. What races and job types are available is determined by which side is chosen when first creating the game account. While the species on each side are limited the jobs for each race are varied. An over sized, dark Nordein can be either an axe-wielding Warrior or bow-firing Hunter. On the light side of the coin a Human Fighter or Elf Archer would be about the same choice.

There are many foes to fight and quests to undertake. There is also a large amount of Player vs Player options. Dueling amongst one's own race is an option as well as battling the other side over control of the contested Borderlands and the portals and idols they contain.

Abilities and skills can be put in customizable hot key bars for quick and easy use. As more skills are learned they can be added or rearranged in the bars.

While there are portals available for transport between major towns there are also many small outposts and regions that require some walking to reach. Paths and roads don't always take the shortest route between two points so finding shortcuts can make the travel time more interesting.

One unique aspect of Shaiya is the difficulty setting. When first crating a character there is an option of choosing a difficulty based on the player's preference. From Easy for new players that haven't played a MMO before to Hard for those up for a challenge. The top difficulty of Ultimate offers the added challenge of permanently deleting a character if death occurs and resurrection doesn't follow within 3 minutes. This can be a pain at the lower levels and make for possibly suicidal players if it happens at much higher levels.

Rating: 6/10 Very easy to play and can be fun for any skill level. However many quests in the early levels require walking back and forth between distant areas with no teleport available

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Game: Mabinogi


Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Nexon cash, which can be used to buy additional characters, pets, and additional services.

Review: Nexon has a number of games available. Mabinogi is an involved one. It takes place over a large area encompassing many villages and town. The major method of movement from one town to another is simply walking. Teleportation crystals are present by each major location, but can only be used to get to one destination at a time.

Battle is accomplished by simply walking up to an enemy and attacking. Long and short ranged weapon sets can be switched between with the press of one button. This makes it possible to launch an arrow or bolt at a enemy and equip a sword and shield before close combat becomes necessary.

Abilities, ranging from heavy attacks to healing, can be used via hotkeys. Training the abilities is done by using the ability to gain experience in it, then leveling it using an extremely limited number of Ability Points.

Losing a fight has options when one is knocked out. Each option has its own costs. Waiting for help has a medium cost, but requires patience to lay there until a person with the proper ability can come and cast the correct spell. Being teleported to the nearest town have the lowest cost, but can cause a piece of armor to be left behind at the battlefield.

Rating: 5/10 Fun and easy to play, but the strong presence of bots and RMTs (Real Money Traders or people that buy and sell currency on 3rd party websites) detract from the beauty of the surroundings.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pirates of the Carribean

Game: Pirates of the Caribbean

Publisher: Disney

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Access to storyline quests and ability to purchase stronger weapons and ships.

Review: Loosely based on the successful trilogy of movies this game provides a variety of play options. Sailing the ocean can be done solo or with a crew of friends. People can be found almost anywhere to help kill the numerous monsters and complete quests.

If traveling alone is preferred, then there are multiple options for weapons. Guns, swords, or voodoo dolls can be utilized for attack. It is even possible to switch between them on the fly should one not be enough.

Travel between the islands of the Caribbean is accomplished via a ship that can be bought from shipwrights in many locations. It is not always a safe sea voyage however. There are many enemy crafts of various classes that may or may not attack. Sinking ships owned by the East India Trading Company, the British Navy, or the ghosts of the not-so-dearly departed can earn booty that is cashed in upon reaching land.

The game is extremely limited for those that play for free however. The main storyline quests are locked early in the game, as are many other quests and weapons. This limits the player to running around killing random foes and sinking ships with no point or goal.

Rating: 5/10 Decent game play, but particularly limited free content.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Perfect World

Game: Perfect World

Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment/Cubinet Interactive

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Fun costumes and special equipment items.

Review: While this game isn't perfect it is fairly interesting. Characters can be created from a small number of species. Humans, Basic melee or magic types of each species are avaliable.

Weapons and armor are equipped based on a character's stats. These stats can be upgraded by a set amount of points each time a level up is accomplished. Some equippable items will also increase these stats.

Quests come from a number of sources and available ones can be found from an on-screen menu. Some early ones require killing a number of enemies and automatically obtaining an item with each kill. One quest involved jumping to the top of a wall at the far end of the town, opening a chest, and returning to the town leader in less than five minutes.

Jumping is one thing that relieves the monotony while traveling around villages or between battlefields. A simple double jump can be accomplished by hitting the SPACE BAR twice. This can be fun when landing in a tree or high up a cliff and jumping off. The long fall ending in a damage-less landing can make for a comedic moment or two.

Despite the ease of movement and simple battle methods crafting is overly complicated. Materials can be obtained from random spots in the field or defeating enemies. Crafting, however, can only be done at the shops related to the craft desired. Weapons can only be crafted at the blacksmith, medicine at the apothecary, clothing at the tailor, etc.

Rating: 6/10 Far from perfect, but not too shabby.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Game: zOmg

Publisher: Gaia Online

Download or web based: Web-based

What you get if you pay: A handful of attack and defense upgrades as well as tons of avatar costume options.

Review: zOmg is not as generic as the name might imply. It is part of the ever expanding Gaia Online community. This allows for interaction beyond game play. The basic story is an attack on the towns of Gaia by various inanimate objects come to life. Garden Gnomes, plastic flamingos, coin purses, toy dolls, and cloves of garlic are just some of the enemies available to attack.

A player's avatar is their Gaia avatar equipped with rings on each finger (none on thumbs). Combat is simply targeting a foe and selecting an equipped ring to attack with. Fighting can be done alone or by “Recrewting” others into a party.

There is no experience gain so no specific character leveling. Attack and defense are upgraded by collecting Charge Orbs and attaching them to rings in inventory.

Rating: 7/10 Tons of options for game play with an entire community for fun when not in the mood to play