Legends of Zork Review: Browser-based AND Enjoyable?
Written by James Mathis, OnRPG Journalist
We've all tried to find a good way to waste time whilst browsing the internet, usually in the form of a game. Whether it be a flash game or a text-based RPG (even a MUD or two if you're a brave soul), there's one thing that most browser-based games have in common. They aren't very entertaining. Well, one day I stumbled upon the Legends of Zork, a newly released, persistent online adventure brought to you by Jolt Online Gaming. Just a young lad with a moustache, I was more than happy to find out that this game wasn't absolutely terrible.
At A Glance
In the Legends of Zork, you start out as a level one salesman with not a care in the world and not a Zorkmid (in-game currency) in your pocket. You can have multiple characters on the same account. There are "Ability Points" which allow the character to perform certain actions like fighting and exploring throughout your visit. Once they run out they must either be recharged using Coconuts, the cash-shop currency, or refilled when the next AP reset rolls around.
The Player's "Base"
In the game there is a specific location where players go to handle all of their business (inventory, equipment, skills, etc.), and that place is your Base. There is a base in each zone for all of the leveling brackets. You can choose where your base is located, so if you're adventuring in one zone, it just makes sense to move your base there! Your Base will surely be the heart of everything you do. You want your heart close by at all times, don't you?
First off, the combat is a big hit-or-miss. It's a simple roll-of-the-dye system where once you start a fight, it automatically finishes it. A monster will pop up after exploring and you have the option to fight or flee from the battle. On occasion a special zone to explore will pop up allowing you access to special monsters and loot for a set number of turns. Other times, a "Group Battle" will commence and you will be able to join one of two teams in an all-out brawl! A percentage showing your chances of winning is displayed before and after the initial rolling of the dice on all fights, but often times it seems fairly unimportant. Equipment and spells are the deciding factor in finding victory while exploring or battling other players, so make sure to save those Zorkmids or find a clan that'll let you take items out of their Armory on the cheap-cheap!
Every level you gain a Skill Point which can be distributed into the three basic talent trees: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Each tree gives various bonuses to stats. Mind affects percentages involving higher drop rates for loot, lower prices in stores, and higher chances of solving different types of traps. Body, you guessed it, affects melee/ranged based attack stances. Spirit, being the only tree left, deals with combat probability involving all things mysterious and Magic(al).
Every few levels you acquire a new quest, usually to fight in a certain area to obtain an item. The dialogue has a touch of humor to it that I personally appreciate since most games (especially browser games) try too hard to be super serious and hardcore. The warm-hearted text can even provoke a few little giggles every now and then, which is hard to find in a game.
In LoZ, there is system known as "Fanucci". Fanucci is a stat-bonus system activated by finding cards in battles. There are four categories (Mind, Body, Spirit, and Fanucci Gambit) to place these cards, each category consisting of four card slots. While randomly finding cards is the easy part, assembling them in the correct order for maximum benefits is up to the player! Either that or it can just as easily be looked up on the Internet. But where's the fun in that!
The Community Side of Things
As mentioned before, the occasional group battle will pop up whilst exploring different areas of the map. This, however, is not the only time that can happen! In the Legends of Zork, you have the option to invite three of your friends to join a Group and go adventuring together.
Clans abound in the game, many of which are willing to help out new players by giving them armor and weapons to explore and adventure with. Some Clans are only for higher levels, but this is to be expected in any game. Since all Clans are created and maintained by players, you never know what you'll stumble upon when searching for the perfectly Clan to join! There is surely a Clan out there for any type of person with lots of new people to meet.
Fame and PvP
Like most browser games, Legends of Zork offers a nice little PvP system that's found under the "Battle" tab at the player's Base. Through the course of winning and losing battles, Fame is acquired. The gain and loss of fame is based on whether you win or lose a battle versus another player, simple as that. The more fame you get, the cooler you seem! It's another thing in the game for players to grind at and finally reaching that goal for a certain amount of Fame sure does hit the spot. Casually players, or even just players who have no taste for PvP, can avoid Battle all together. Everything in the game is a choice, so don't feel obligated to go try and gain Fame if it isn't your preferred play-style! There's no penalty for not having a certain amount of Fame.
Graphics & Appearance
Upon visiting the home page for the game, the artwork will instantly catch your eye. Vibrant colors and lively characters can be found left and right. The game doesn't try to be too serious, which is a nice touch. It's fun to see all of the characters and creatures, cartoony as they may be. The style isn't for everyone, but that's just how opinions work. The atmosphere it creates, however, is very inviting for people who are just looking to waste a bit of time throughout a small part of the day.
While previously mentioned in the review, the Cash Shop is nothing special. There are a few little items for things like Fame Loss Prevention, name/character changes and the likes, but those aren't necessary. Any average player can get along just fine without the few Cash Shop perks. Besides, Coconuts can be purchased with Zorkmids in-game!
The game isn't bad. It's worth a try, and it's completely free and the Cash Shop is more than acceptable! We all know nothing is a bigger turn-off than a ludicrous Cash Shop. If you have some spare time and don't mind making a few friends along the way and having a few genuine giggles every now and then, give the game a try. The time that you'll put into it is well worth it.