Written By By Michael Justice
When I look at all of the arcade games that were created in the past that were meant to be played at an arcade, I think of all the good times I had, gaining high scores and playing with friends. We used to go through quarters and quarters just playing Gauntlet and we always had fun co-operating through the game and helping each other out. Now, think of that, only, remove the quarters, switch the high scores out with experience points, change the joystick into a keyboard, update the graphics A LOT, and replace your friends with the internet.
The end result will get you Lunia. Well, O.K., maybe not an exact result, but it’s something like that. Lunia is a game where you can relive those action-packed and adventurous good times online, in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. From the moment you first double-click “Lunia Client.exe” you will be amazed at how fun this game can be. All the way from the catchy opening song whose lyrics you will probably never forget, to walking around the main square, talking with friends. It’s a game which you can enjoy, and not worry about grinding or getting the best gear.
To start out, Lunia’s game play is very similar to that of those wondrous arcade founding fathers like Gauntlet. It is, to be brief, an online beat-em-up. However, there is just too many ways to actually beat the monsters up that you might be a little overwhelmed at first. You can set up your own directional keys to move, so it can be WASD or up, down, left, right, or even the number pad if you want. You of course, use these to move, because the game just really isn’t fun if you’re not moving. Lunia does have some slight features which make this arcade beat-em-up much more exciting, like the ability to perform amazing aerial combos, unleash powerful skills and do cutesy little dance emotions with your friends. The game does have a very sharp learning curve from the beginning, but you should be able to master some of the basic combos within a few minutes of playing. The only downside to this is that there is no character customization, what-so-ever. The only thing that you can do to make your character unique is to buy items from the cash shop, and we all know how that goes.
The game utilizes classes from the beginning, because let’s face it, if it didn’t have classes, nobody would really look at the game. There are 3 main generic, boring classes which of course, everyone probably already knows, even if they haven’t played the game themselves. Yes, I’m talking about the Warrior, Magician, Healer trio which you will see in pretty much every single MMORPG for as long as you live. While people may frown upon this, after they’ve started playing the game, and realizing that warriors can do more than punch, magicians can actually attack and healers can do some ridiculous damage, they overlook it with not a moment to spare. There are also other classes you can unlock, but I will talk about that later.
While going through the ever-so-fun missions, you will acquire experience points (pause for oohs and ahhs). If you gain enough experience points, you level up! (pause for cheering). After you level up, you gain skill points, which you can use on skills to upgrade them, but some of the skills require you to attain very high levels, such as 30 or 40 (pause for booing). This is one of the things that really turns me off about this game, is that there are some of the coolest skills, but you have to attain ridiculous amounts of leveling to be able to even use them. They could have easily implemented a combo system that can utilize these skills, but they obviously want you to become so addicted you will level until your fingers fall off. The grind isn’t that hard, but I will explain why it is so mind-numbingly boring later.
This game actually does have a storyline. Yes, it’s true, game developers are actually starting to care about a game’s memorabilia, and not just “here’s this big world have fun killing these bunnies”. It turns out that there’s a princess, or something, and her name is Eir, at least I think it is, because some parts of this game were so horribly lost in translation during its beta phase that it looked like someone ate a Japanese and English alphabet soup and then threw up all over Lunia. Anyhow, Eir is the healer you can choose to play as, yes, generic princess is the heal whore, what a surprise, oh, wait, we can add to this cliché! She’s being escorted! By whom you ask? By this weird wizard guy named “Dainn”, who is also one of the character you can play. He wears a cape and hood and carries a staff, but of course, he has ripped muscles, so he can obviously hit monsters with his little staff thingy as well as cast spells. Well that’s no fun, he’s not generic enough. So the princess and her escort are walking in the woods and they run into this crazy little warrior boy who I want to punch every time I see him because he looks so painstakingly like Naruto that I am glad I started as a healer, so I could let him die. DIE! MUHAHAHAHAH! Ehm, anyways, his name is “Seig” and he is the last piece of this generic fairytale puzzle that adds to a story that never takes itself too seriously. Through the game, after you beat a mission, you see a cutscene that unravels part of the story, which does sort of get better. They are constantly trying to make jokes and stuff, but altogether, the story is really just there to be an added bonus to the actual game, because people play this game for fun, not to watch the gimmicky cutscenes.
All-in-all, this game is what arcade action-adventure games should be, with the great experience of having it all online and for free. There isn’t much to do with it, per-se but the time you have playing will always be fun. That’s pretty much a guarantee. The newest company that took Lunia under its wing is called 12Foot tall, and the last time I had checked up on it, which was about two weeks ago, they had added a new character, Tia, to the beginning character creation. She’s apparently the generic slutty character, who’s a thief… wow, go figure. So with that little update, I am guessing they are still planning on continuing to update the game even further. In the other versions of Lunia there is, of course, much more content, so the English version is a bit behind, however, that really doesn’t matter because the game is simply about playing a character and experiencing the actual fun there is in an MMORPG like Lunia.