By Rickee Charbonneau (Jammart), OnRPG Journalist
Synopsis and General Gameplay
FreeSky Online is a fairly new browser based strategy game published by IGG. The main plot of the game revolves around a sky battle between airships of enormous quantity and size. You may choose one of two main paths in FreeSky: commercial trade or military empire. Unlike most online strategy games you have ever played, FreeSky is a fully-graphical browser based game with a unique storyline and context. It is extremely casual and offers a system that allows your account to keep growing while you are not necessarily playing the game.
Like all games of this genre, you begin with an undeveloped territory that you will have to begin to develop immediately. You must choose from one of the four nations at your disposal, but choose wisely as they are all against each other. The four Nations are: Light, Shadow, Diety, and Devil. I did not personally try them all out, but I do fear that they are overly generic and offer little to no difference in game play (not in terms of game mechanics, but any alteration besides visuals whatsoever).
Stepping foot into a world of airships
Your first goal in this game is to build and maintain a wonderful castle. After that, you simply have to bring prosperity to your mini-province, or take down the opposing nations by raging war against members of enemy nations. Once you have updated your income and your resources, you will then have the opportunity to build around your castle and expand your territory, studying sciences and other important mechanics along the way. Ultimately, one's goal will optimize into owning various mighty castles.
FreeSky Online is more community oriented than one might perceive. Within the nations, players can create special alliances to help each other out in their conquest. This is where the game play distinction between economic players and military players is useful. Both types of players can easily give each other a hand with this alliance system and boost their development twofold. A nifty "miracle village" system is also introduced on FreeSky Online's official website, but it is poorly explained and I was not able to try it out. It is simply a village of combined effort within an alliance, and it offers some pretty good perks to its members as it develops.
This game is very easy on new players. As you start up, a helpful tutorial is offered, and a beginner quest line soon afterward to keep you on track. Building units and such is almost instant as a beginner, but it promptly becomes tiresome and takes many hours in queue to build simple buildings. This is why I brought up the casual game aspect of FreeSky. Not only is there little to do currently, but building and upgrading your nation takes so long that you will most likely only hop on for a few minutes daily and then resume different gaming or other activities unrelated to this game. This is when I begin to lose my understanding of the purpose of this particular game.
Production: Building and using collected resources
The resources obtainable in-game currently are gold, food, sand stone, crystal, wood, and metal. With these particular materials, you will be able to eventually craft a wide range of airships used offensively or defensively in combat. However, parts will be required to build these futuristic machines. With the help of players who develop economic science, the production of metal parts, wooden parts, and power parts is possible through wealth and hard work! All players have access to creation of the parts, but some have very hefty requirements. There are also other items available for craft that do not involve airships such as weapons and engines. Oh, and of course...buildings! Some building units are more important than others, and some act simply as pre requisites, but I will not get into detail with them as it is far too similar to other strategic games. However, one building type is very particular and unique: the taverns.
Heroes and Alcohol
Taverns are simple buildings that offer entertainment for various characters that may enter or leave your city. After you have successfully built one, you will come to notice every so often that a hero character has come inside to relax and have a good time. If you proceed to clicking on your tavern info, you are then given the option to hire these visitors as members of your city, working as town archons performing tasks for you in city development, or army commanders bringing your fleets to war for you. These hero characters take a lot of weight off your shoulders, but they do require payment. You may train and level up these hero characters with the help of some special building units.
Unfortunately, this game was a bore for the most part. The attacking, building... well, almost everything is done automatically. Fleets fight once they meet in war, buildings are always in construction queue, and everything just seems so robotic. The graphics and sound were above average, the concept art was especially well done, and the user interface is ground-breaking for a browser based game of this style; it really feels like a 2D client game. As much as I did not really enjoy this game, I would not dismiss it right away. There is a lot of potential with a game like this as it is just so accessible to just about anyone, and it is so casual and easy to play that there is no real time consumption on your part in order to play effectively. This means that basically anyone can play without the hassle of being in front of their computer all day long. There are even plans of maybe releasing this game on the iphone soon-pretty nifty!
All of those facts aside, I still do not see what the point of playing a game that you do not really play. Maybe for bragging rights... maybe for killing a little bit of time... maybe for seeing the results of your growing city? Whatever enjoyment you may extract from playing this game (if you decide to try it out that is), I hope you will be more satisfied than I was. Happy gaming!
-no learning curve
-not time consuming
-not very challenging
-generic in most aspects of game play
-maybe too casual
-loaded with spelling mistakes.