Monthly Archives: December 2013

Alfheim Tales Review – Same ol’ same ol’

By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist

Alfheim Tales is a client-based 3D MMORPG brought to us by Gamedp. Boasting “anime-style” graphics, the developers promise an outstanding world to travel and intense battles to participate in. The game is low-spec and is integrated with websites such as G+, Facebook, and Twitter. Gameplay is very traditional, with quest-based progression and a point-and-click combat style. There is also an interesting pet and sprite system, with over one-hundred pets available. Let’s see if Alfheim Tales can deliver on its promises.

Customization

You aren’t given much to work with. A few hair styles, some face types, your gender, and that’s about it. You don’t even get to choose the color of your hair – the style you choose already has a color that you can’t change. There are four classes to choose: Knight, Mage, Priest and Assassin. Nothing new or exciting, to be honest. The only place you’ll find some decent customization is the neat pet system. Can’t say I’m happy with that.

CharacterCreation

Graphics

What originally caught my eye with this game was the art style, which is marketed as “3D anime,” and that basically means it’s chibi or very cutesy. The graphics are very dated, especially for a client-based game in 2013. You won’t be mind blown when you play, but unless you’re not a fan of the art style, you’ll find some joy in the bright and cheerful world that is portrayed. I was very disappointed with the limited perspective, as you’re not given much control over your camera past being able to orbit around your character. This means you can’t really look forward, or up, and your view is extremely limited by this, which can feel cramped.

Graphics

Controls

I already mentioned a bit about the controls at the end of the “Graphics” section, but I’ll say it again – the camera controls suck. Other than that, most things seem to be OK. The UI (though very generic and out-dated) is functional and I liked that both point-and-click and WASD movement was available. You can press V key to initiate auto-fighting (which I’ll get into later in the gameplay section), which makes this a great game to play if you need something to pass the time but don’t want to invest much effort.

Community

The community is mostly foreign (which is understandable, as I played on an SEA server, the only one available at the time). However, I noticed a lot of English speakers on the global chat. To my surprise, I even found a couple of guilds from my time in Age of Wushu, so there are at least a few decent guilds playing the game. Despite that, it seems like a majority of players are younger (probably around the 12-15 year old range), which is understandable considering the simplicity of the game and the anime-style graphics. Along with young teens comes a lot of trolling, so that was a bit of a negative. Other than that, my time participating with the Alfheim community was alright.

Chatbox

Gameplay

Right off the bat I noticed that I would not enjoy the gameplay in Alfheim Tales. This disappointed me a bit because I truly did find the graphic style appealing and I was hoping for something decent. Unfortunately I found an out-dated game (in terms of gameplay mechanics), and a game that offers a complete hand-holding experience with a lot of automated systems. I can understand the use of an auto-pathing features – most MMOs require a lot of meaningless running around that can be annoying. What really got me, though, was the auto-fighting feature that completely eliminates your input as a player while questing.

AutoFighting

I do realize that while this does not appeal to me, there are probably a lot of people that will enjoy that they can play an MMO without having to invest a lot of time and effort. If you’re doing work, or even playing another game, this can be a decent game to play on the side. Only if you don’t mind a slightly pay-to-win cash shop, that is. Progress Quest is still the best game to play if you don’t want to have to actually play the game. Alfheim is decent if you don’t mind downloading a client and having to click every once in a while, though.

AutoPathing

Combat is OK, but is kind of ruined with the Auto-fighting feature. Why bother if you can let the AI do all the work, right? The few times I did take over manual control of fighting were for some of the harder mobs, and those fights weren’t really intense. I do have to praise the animations and neat effects while fighting, though. As I type this, my character is killing some mobs for a quest and it’s quite the light show.

Combat

Quests are extremely simplistic and follow the traditional formula – collect/kill X amount of Y and in return I’ll give you Z. The most input you’ll be required to do in the game while be accepting quest, as afterwards the game will take over and bring you to the quest objective and start killing/collecting. After experiencing the repetitive questing, which is the primary mode of experience game (at least in the beginning), I found myself thankful for the automated gameplay. Repetitive questing is never a good thing in a game, especially when it requires that a near completely automated gameplay is required to make the game something that people will want to play. I’m more than a bit disappointed.

Quest

Something neat that I enjoyed was the Sprite and pet system. You can have one pet and one sprite out at any time to help you in fighting. Both the sprites and the pets can upgraded, enhanced, and evolved so that they can become more powerful. Sprites can also be used for things such as entering the Sprite Realm to fight epic bosses, treasure hunting, and they even have their own talent trees. There are a ton of pets to be made, and a lot of them actually look great. Looking at the Pet book, there seems to be a total of 108 possible pets right now and they span several different elements such as air, fire, water, and toxin. This is definitely one of the better features in the game, and the one that gets me most excited to play.

PetsAndSprites

Conclusion

I came into Alfheim Tales with a lot of optimism, but was a bit disappointed with what I found. Despite having some great anime-style chibi graphics, the gameplay was repetitive and boring, especially due to the questing and automated gameplay. The pet and sprite systems helped redeem the game a great deal, and I found myself playing longer than I thought I would have just because of them. This game would be great for you if you’re looking for something that is low-spec, or if you just don’t have as much time as you would like to play games. If you do have a lot of free time and a decent computer, I would have to suggest you look for something else as this game will more than likely not appeal to you.

Features: 3/5 –
Repetitive questing but the pet/sprite system saved the day.

Customization: 2/5 –
Very little customization.

Graphics: 3/5 –
I liked the graphic style, but the overall quality was low.

Controls: 4/5 –
Smooth and responsive.

Community: 3/5 –
A lot of young people means a lot of trolling, but it’s not all bad.

Overall: 3/5 –
It’s an alright game, but will only appeal to you if you’re looking for a low-spec game or something that doesn’t require much input.

 

Nexon Shutting Down Sudden Attack In January

Sudden Attack Closing

 

Nexon America announced earlier this month that it will be terminating its services for Sudden Attack on January 29, 2014. The game’s cash shop has already closed as of December 5.

A community letter from CEO Min Kim stated that Sudden Attack was “unsuccessful in growing the community to a level necessary to maintain its development support and service quality.” Nexon is offering its North American Sudden Attack community a compensation package for those willing to transition to Combat Arms. Players from Europe, the Middle East, and North African can instead transfer their accounts to the European Combat Arms community.

War of Ninja Review – Browser Based Ninja “Action”

By Jason Parker (Ragachak)

 

War Of Ninja Review 1

Browser-Based Ninja “Action”

Browser-based RPGs are becoming more mainstream than ever these days. War of Ninja is an RPG that fits this mold, where you do not have to download a client, and can log in from just about any browser at any time to get some quick gameplay in. There are a variety of game modes, and sliding difficulty for battles.  As a gamer, I do not have a lot of experience in browser games, except ones that wish to get you to pay for progress (The Microtransaction model popular on Facebook).  Luckily, this one does not appear to have any pay-to-win function that I have seen.  Your currency is gold, which is acquired through various in-game means, and I played for several hours at a time without having to stop, save defeats becoming so crushing that I absolutely had to take a breather.  This is easily one of the most positive things I have to say about the game.

The community is fairly active, and at most times of the day you can find players chatting in the small chat applet provided at the top left of the screen.  It manages like many browser or forum based games do, with options visible to click that do a variety of things, such as change your personal settings, send and receive private messages, and check what gold you have spent in-game, in case you happen to be curious where your in-game money is going.

For fans of this type of turn-based game, there are lots of options for you to enjoy. Whether it is the story mode, quick battles to unlock characters and gold, or tournaments and ranked battles, there is something for every playstyle. The story itself is very reminiscient of traditional Japanese Ninja Anime, such as Naruto. You play using teams of three, and use a variety of ninja tools and skills to defeat other teams, regardless of what mode you are in.

Mode, Mean, Median

There are several modes of gameplay for War of Ninja. At this point in the game, I was not a high enough level for the Ranked Matches, which are in their current preseason. The requirement for that is level 25;  however, there are tournaments that players of any level can enter provided they have the gold required for the entrance fee.  Players can mail each other gold with a slight tax on the transaction, meaning if you have a more experienced friend they can be a serious help in getting started. My in-game time was spent in Story Mode, Quick Battle, and the Prologue, since I had no backer to fund the hefty tournament entry fees.  My team is nowhere near powerful enough to compete even if I did.

 

War Of Ninja Review 2

Prologue: The prologue teaches you the how-tos of the game proper. You start with just one ninja, but as it progresses, you unlock two others that assist you through the trials that you will face later in this mode.  It is not terribly long, but it does succicintly explain how to handle combat.  In this you learn that for each person on your team that is alive at the end of a turn, you gain one energy.  However, it is not always energy that actually helps you.  Each turn, if you meet the requirements, you can convert two points of one element of energy into one point of another.  The energy pool is shared across all three characters, so a fair amount of thought has to go into what you use.

 

War Of Ninja Review 3

Story Mode:  In order to access the story mode after the prologue, you must use “Quick Battle” to unlock characters. Each chapter of the story is based on a particular ninja, and you must unlock them to gain access.  Unlocking characters is not a given, and there is a chance with every Quick Battle to acquire someone, given you have the gold to hire them to your side.  The story is less immersive than what I hoped for.  In the last iteration of War of Ninja your character led a team who helped the Ninja clans who were in peril.  In War of Ninja: Reborn, it feels less immersive, like watching an anime or reading a manga about ninjas, rather than being immersed in the storyline.  Having to constantly play Quick Battles just to access the story was very off-putting for me.  I would rather be able to unlock characters through the story rather than this side venture that is totally based on chance.  As you complete chapters, you get gold stars on the list of said chapters.  These increase the difficulty and show that you have completed the chapter at least once.  You do not need to acquire all three gold stars to proceed with the tale however.

 

War Of Ninja Review 4

Quick Battle: Quick Battle provides immediate access to combat against random foes.  You can choose a preference for the AI, or human opponents, and if you have human opponents selected it will put priority on finding a suitable thinking opponent before matching you against an AI substitute.  There are differences in difficulty besides level. Energy gains vary by level as well.  The harder the difficulty, the more energy your enemies attain.  In AI matches, you can contract ninja after the victory is gained, but not in a human battle.  You can pick from any ninja you have already contracted, which you can set up in premade teams for fast access.  This is where I first learned one of the most frustrating things about the game. As listed above, your energy gains are random. It does not always give you something that will help.  More often than not, I would be defeated because I did not have the energy that I needed to perform skills.  One or two of my team would be able to attack, but very rarely did all three get to use one of their ninja abilities, or even one of the tools I purchased in the shop.

 

War Of Ninja Review 5

Private Battle:  Private matches are battles against specific people.  You can invite one of your friends to do battle with you in a pair of modes. One allows you to establish your team in advance while the other tests your ability to react on the fly by utilizing a drafted team. This can go very well or very poorly, depending on who gets drafted to your team.  The same game rules apply here, but you do not get to contract ninja at the end of battle, since these are only human opponents.

 

Ranked Game:  As of this writing, I do not have the level to attempt ranked matches, but there are a variety of rewards for doing well.  The Ladder is presently unavailable, as the game is currently in preseason.

 

War Of Ninja Review 6

Tournament:  There are tournaments up pretty much anytime during the day.  These generally require a gold fee to avoid people abusing systems to get free tournament points; this way they can’t climb the soon to be implemented ladder with no work.  To join, you simply go to “Battle,” and click “Tournament.”  If there are slots available, you will be able to enter.  The amount of rounds that you will play vary from tournament to tournament.  There are varieties of tournament styles as well, such as constructed (where your team is picked by you), Tsuyu (where ninja are offered as a grand prize), and the draft.

 

 War Of Ninja Review 9

The Balance of Imbalance

One of the major issues of War of Ninja is balance. Not all ninja are created equal.  This in and of itself is all well and good.  In most games, there are characters that stand above others. Whether it is the God-tier characters/flavors of the week in League of Legends, to the S-tier fighters in BlazBlue or Street Fighter, somebody is almost always better than whomever you have unlocked or picked.  But when certain team comps can crush any competition, this can lead to frustration, or boredom.  There are also problems with the game, whether intended or not, that can lead to easy victories.  One fine example of this I noticed without browsing the forums or internet.  At level 3, you can unlock the Ninja Shop, where you can buy other tools for your characters.  One of these is the Poison Dart.  It’s an active between levels 1-3 of a character, and it provides a poison damage over time for five damage a turn for a set amount of turns.  This is a fine way to deal damage.  But, if a ninja has a damage-soaking shield, this poison damage will hit them anyway, and not lower the shield.  This is made more powerful by Poison Dart stacking. At one point, I was fighting a level 10 boss at level 5, and stacked the ability 5 times. Now, only one person appears to be able to equip it at a time, but you can easily build your team to make this an all encompassing strategy.  Simply have a damage shield on your team, and a pair of stuns, and slowly nick away at your opponent.   There are several ways to cheese your way to victory in War of Ninja.  If I could come up with one just by playing casually, just imagine what the veteran players can do!

 

War Of Ninja Review 8

Final Judgement: Good

Graphics:  3/5

The graphics for this game are very simple. The ninja portraits are detailed enough, and each character does look different.  But this is a browser game, so I do not have high expectations of it having cell-shaded, 1080p worthy art.  It is simple, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.   The character art is exceptional, though.  There is very little actual animation, but it is a decently drawn flash game.

Controls: 4/5

The controls are simple, easy to use, and explained in the tutorial.  I had very few problems in the game, and those I did experience were mostly related to mouse drag rather than browser lag.  As a flash game, the left click is the only button you truly need. Despite some not so obvious commands like cancelling an attack declaration, the game is straight forward enough to be able to play without bothering with the tutorial.

Features and Gameplay: 3/5

While this game has a wide variety of features to choose from, in order to truly see them all, it requires a great deal of time commitment.  It is a very long haul to see all of what this game has to offer.  Some of this can be marred by the balance issues it has.  There are exploits that crop up from time to time, and balance issues as stated earlier in the article that can seriously injure one’s enjoyment of the game. However, the staff does seem to be pretty quick to react when they find a major exploit that can ruin gameplay.

Music and Sound:  3/5

There is music, and there are sound effects, but I personally found them to become monotonous and tedious to listen to after awhile. Thankfully, there is a gauge at the top of the screen to lower these volumes.  The music is not bad; it is soothing, and the theme of Japanese sounds are very appropriate.  I just did not see enough variety in it to keep it active after a couple of hours of gameplay.

The Repopulation Returns To Kickstarter

The Repopulation Pontoc

With a new year in sight, Above and Beyond has launched a new Kickstarter for its ambitious title The Repopulation, in addition to its Steam Greenlight campaign.

The new Kickstarter campaign is focused on stretch goals that are designed to help add additional features to the game without slowing down the game’s main development and allowing for further polish to the game as it prepares to head into beta. For previous backers, a “bump-up” package is available. Launched just after Christmas, the Kickstarter is already over $33,000 of its $50,000 goal. You can find out more at the new Kickstarter page.


Meanwhile, Steam players can support the game with a vote and comments on The Repopulation’s Greenlight Campaign, helping boost the game’s coverage and adding a new market option for the game come its launch.

Naruto Spirit

Naruto Spirit is a ninja-themed MMORPG based on the popular Naruto anime series. Featuring three ninja genres, instinctive gameplay and fantastic ninjutsu powers which give you unique breathtaking game experience.

It was developed by Yeahgame and run by Young World Technology – a start-up company based in Vietnam.

Features:

Transformations: Every character has a unique skill. If players want to experience and use these skills, they can use the “Transformation” option. Transformations also give players access to buffs and other special traits.

Dungeon system: Upon reaching certain levels, players will gain access to special campaign and elite dungeons where players can participate in various battles straight from the anime/manga series.

Battle arena: Battle against waves of enemies in order to earn money as well as ninja ranks.

Aura Kingdom Closed Beta Review

By Jordan Arnold (Pwarp)

Aura Kingdom Review 1

 

Welcome to the world of Aura Kingdom Online. Published by Aeria Games this anime inspired mmorpg blends a fantasy world with anime graphics and does it very well. With a very fluid combat system, a diverse skill tree and a different take on the pet system, Aura Kingdom should satisify players who have been craving that anime type mmorpg.

 

Storyline

Your journey in Aura Kingdom starts off as you are thrust into what seems to be a battle between humans and demons. Your first task is to defeat the boss that threatens the lives of those around you. It’s fairly easy to do so since your level is much higher than a beginner and the main character’s equipment is much better then what you would usually start off with.

Aura Kingdom Review 2

After defeating the demon you wake up in the starting town feeling a bit dizzy. Was it a dream..or reality? Only time will tell as you progress through the storyline.

 

Character Creation

I was very surprised with not only the options in character creation but, most importantly, the amount of classes Aura Kingdom has. There’s a total of eight classes and a ninth class that has yet to be released. These classes include Guardian, Duelist, Ravagar, Wizard, Sorcerer, Bard, Grenadier and Gunslinger. After selecting your class, I choose a Duelist, you can then customize the style of your character. Aura Kingdom provides you with a bit more options then usual to help distinguish yourself from other players. While creating your character you have ten different hair options and nine different face options. I was a little surprised that we didn’t have the option to make our character taller, shorter and skinny or large as well but, to me, it’s not a huge flaw as usually there’s reasoning behind it. After picking your hair color and eye color you are then taken to the Eidolon selection screen. I’ll talk about this in greater detail later in the article.

 

Controls

Aura Kingdom uses the standard keyboard and mouse control scheme. You can move around with the w,a,s, and d keys or, if you choose, you can left click on the ground. You can rotate the camera using q and e and also holding down the right mouse button. All of the controls seemed very responsive and fluid.

Gameplay

Aura Kingdom starts off just like most mmorpg games today. You are asked to talk to the villagers and help them with various tasks around the village.

Aura Kingdom Review 3

Doing so helps you familiarize yourself with Aura Kingdom’s controls and auto path system, which I found very helpful and rarely buggy. Combat in Aura Kingdom is extremely fluid. Not only can you move around while attacking, but you can also use your jump while executing moves and even glide and attack your opponents which will really open up some strategic possibilities once you are able to enter PvP. Skills and attacks are used like most games out today with 1-9 and Control+1-9 activating your abilities and a separate hotbar for your Eidolons attack if you wish to manually activate their abilities (by default they are set to automatically use their skills). Monsters also have attacks of their own and, to help make the game less static, monsters’ special skills will show with a red indicator on the ground, allowing you time to dodge them to avoid taking any damage. This gives the battle system a more action type feel as those who don’t bother playing reactively in dungeons will either get decimated or give their healer a massive headache.

Aura Kingdom Review 4

Leveling in Aura Kingdom seems to be pretty solid. I’m not sure if the exp is increased during Closed Beta or not but I noticed that I leveled up fairly fast. Hopefully it will stay close to where it’s at now as a lot of players experienced in the Taiwanese version have said endgame is the best part.

Aura Kingdom Review 5

Early on, you get access to your first mount, an Ostrich. This helps you move along the map a lot faster. Some people might wonder why you need a mount when you can just glide (which is faster) but the reasoning behind this is the autopath system. You can’t auto glide but with your mount you can auto move a lot faster. That and many regions have pretty steep hills that aren’t too glide friendly.

 

 

Don’t be shy, be Social!

Aura Kingdom offers many social options if you wish to use them. There’s plenty of emotes and different types of waves and greetings you can use to socialize with fellow players and friends.

Aura Kingdom General Skills

Aura Kingdom Social

Not only can you customize your greeting when your friends see you online but you can also edit what you say after you win a duel.

 

Aura Kingdom Stat Window

Stats Stats and More Stats!

Aura Kingdom provides a fairly nice stat system compared to the auto stat system a lot of games use. Instead of choosing your stats for you, you have various options for placing both offensive and defensive points. In the Offense tree you have Damage, Critical Chance and Speed. Damage increases how much damage you do to an enemy, Critical Chance gives you a better chance to critically hit your opponent, and Speed decreases your skill cooldowns and also increases your movement speed. On the other hand you have the Defense stats which include HP, Defense and Evasion. HP determines how many Hit Points you have, Evasion determines how well you can dodge attacks, and Defense makes you stronger so attacks that damage you will do less damage.

Aura Kingdom Envoy Path

What?! There’s not a skill tree??

Not this time! Instead of the standard skill tree, in Aura Kingdom you get a giant square called “The Envoy’s Path”. The Envoy Path allows your character to advance in the way you choose which leads to you creating the type of character you want to play. You don’t have to follow a certain path and you are free to customize your character the way you want. This helps make each and every player unique regardless of class and stat points.

Aura Kingdom Review 8

Eidolon System

The Eidolon System in Aura Kingdom is an advanced form of a pet system used in most mmorpgs today. You start off in character select choosing one of four Eidolons that will help you along your journey. I started with the more human like Eidolon mainly because I thought he looked the best and seemed to fit my playstyle. That’s right, the Eidolon’s aren’t just for show. They come packed with their own abilities and will be able to help you in battle. After you progress a bit through the beginning storyline you find yourself feeling ill. As a healer attempts to heal you, a mysterious orb appears next to you. This orb will eventually turn into your Eidolon, sealing your fate as an Envoy of Gaia.

Aura Kingdom Review 9

You can also use special skills that will combine an attack with both you and your Eidolon. Stylized cutscenes typically accompany these attacks to add style beyond the massive damage they typically unleash. In some rare cases you can even ride your Eidolon as a mount, altering your skill bar to a new set of options.

 

Squash the Bugs!

Knowing that Aura Kingdom is in Closed Beta, I was expecting to find numerous bugs. I was very surprised that there wasn’t to many but I did encounter a few. One of them initially involved my torso disappearing during screenshots (floating arms and legs for the win!). Another bug (I hope it’s a bug) was that when during a storyline cutscene if I had leveled up prior to the scene beginning, the level up icon would remain pasted over my head, breaking immersion pretty harshly. The path finding system was surprisingly very fluid and I only found myself getting caught on a tree or two while auto pathing. In towns it worked flawlessly almost every time.

Aura Kingdom Review 10

I believe I can fly!
The gliding system is a very fun feature in Aura Kingdom. After jumping into the air you simply hit R to glide around the map. I found myself having a lot of fun just gliding around town and in the forest and looking at the beautiful graphics Aura Kingdom has to offer.

 

Aura Kingdom Review 7

 

Conclusion: Great
Aura Kingdom offers a unique Anime type MMORPG that many fans of this genre have been waiting for. It doesn’t offer many new features but the features it has are polished and make it easy for new players who are new to the genre to jump right into the action. It seems XLegend has moved quickly squashing bugs in their limited Taiwanese release as the localized version is almost perfect, and the small bugs still existing should be simple to iron out before open beta. All in all I would say that this is the game that the Anime fans have been waiting for and even those who are just tired of low quality mmorpgs will find Aura Kingdom a breath of fresh air. With fluid combat, many social actions, and a diverse range of classes, I would say that Aura Kingdom sets a high standard for future anime mmorpgs to compete with.

Primal Carnage

Primal Carnage is a multiplayer first person shooter where players can compete against each other in a clash between man and beast. While the game’s theme is heavily influenced from films as Jurassic Park, Primal Carnage creates unique scenarios with heart stopping action and gloriously memorable moments as the fight for survival reaches an all-time high. It’s kill or be killed. Hunt or be hunted.

Note: This is a buy-to-play retail game.

Features:

Team-based combat: Both teams must cooperate with their teammates and use various strategies in order to hinder their opponents.

Humans vs. Dinosaurs: Players can choose to play as either humans or dinosaurs, both of which have five playable classes with distinct weaponry, abilities and skills.

Asymmetrical gameplay: Combat plays out in a 1st-person perspective for humans and a 3rd-person perspective for dinosaurs

Community-driven development: Content and DLC is primarily based on community feedback to help shape and improve the game even after release.

Blade Hunter – Satisfy your Violent Urges

By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist

 

Introduction

Blade Hunter is an action-packed side-scrolling MMOARPG. If you’ve played Dungeon Fighter Online, the nostalgia factor will be high. With its 2D graphics and intense combat, you will probably find yourself enjoying the game immediately. While not much new is offered, what is available is tried-and-tested gameplay mechanics that have proven to be quite enjoyable. With it’s own unique spin on the side-scrolling ARPG genre, Blade Hunter should be a blast to play.

 

 

Customization

This one of the weak points of the game, unfortunately. However, I can understand it as Blade Hunter is based on the popular side-scrolling ARPGs that were developed in the early 2000’s, so it makes sense that they would go that route. You are given three classes to choose from, and these are your typical caster, warrior, and rogue. You don’t have much control over your character past the gear you decide to wear, and the choices are limited even in this area. Perhaps later on in the games development more customization will be offered, but for now it’s severely lacking.

 

Classes

 

 

Graphics

I was actually surprised by how much I liked the 2D graphics in Blade Hunter. I didn’t think I would hate the graphics, but at the same time I expected I wouldn’t particularly like them either. However, once I was actually in the game and playing, I couldn’t help but marvel at the background artwork. The character artwork and animations aren’t half-bad, too. Can’t say I can complain about anything as, once again, the retro-style was a purposeful design decision by the developers. It’s a bonus that it turned out quite well, and you can tell some talented artists worked on this game.

 

Graphics

 

 

Controls

I don’t think this often, but Blade Hunter would be a great game to play with a controller. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have one handy. WASD or arrow keys were used for movement, and keys such as H, J, and L were used to activate special moves. I have to admit that, at first, I found the controls confusing and hard to use. After a half an hour or so, though, I was able to play just fine. Overall, the controls were responsive and smooth, so I can’t complain.

 

 

Community

The game offers many different chat channels to communicate with other players, including guilds, parties, and PM’s. It seems like a lot of the players do not speak English as a native language, and it’s not uncommon to see other languages in the world chat (and there’s nothing wrong with that). There are a lot of English speakers, too. A lot of the players seem to be younger (in the 12-16 age range), but there are more than a few mature players though. I didn’t notice any trolling, and had a mostly pleasant experience with the games community.

 

Chatbox

 

 

Gameplay

The gameplay in Blade Hunter is similar to other ARPG’s. There are a hub towns, from which you go out and complete zones and dungeons of varying difficulties. The goal of the game is to progress along the story, trying to complete areas with the best possible score while completing quests for rewards. Although the game is a “side-scroller”, you are actually given six directions (Forward, backwards, up, down, foreground, background) of movement, as opposed to the usual four (Forward, backward, up, and down) that we expect from a side-scroller.

 

HubTown

 

Combat in the game is pretty exciting. There are basic attacks, special abilities, and combos. Expect to see enemies (or yourself) flying around from being hit. Movement, specifically jumping, is important to combat when fighting certain types of opponents. Hit-count is very important in this game, to the point that your end score when you complete an area is affected by how high you got your hit combo.

 

Combat

 

The questing and storylines in the game aren’t as in-depth as you would expect from a game in 2013. Quests consists of completing areas, so don’t expect any choices or puzzles. The story unfolds via cutscenes, which you’ll probably end up skipping after the first story-arc (I did, at least). I didn’t have much of a problem with this, as most of us wont be playing the game for the story (though it is a nice bonus). Don’t expect much more than a decent read if you want story from this game.

 

Cutscene

 

The areas are pretty straight forward. You’ll go to the edge of the hub town, get a map that allows you to choose which zone you want to enter, and then you’re in. From there you will kill plenty of normal mobs, maybe one or two sub-bosses, and then you’ll face off against the main boss of the area. The bosses often have special abilities and a massive amount of HP. This will, for the most part, be the only challenging portion of the area. Once you kill the boss you are given a score, consisting of stars for different things such as your hit-combos, and an overall grade. After that you’ll get a chest to open for some loot, and then you’re popped back into the hub town.

 

Score

 

 

Conclusion: Excellent

Blade Hunter is a pretty nice retro experience. I had previously never played games like this, but always regretted not giving Dungeon Fighter Online a try as it seemed like people were having a blast playing it. So getting a chance to play Blade Hunter was a treat and I had a blast with it. Some nice bonuses are the fact that the game is browser-based and the game is fairly low-spec and will be playable even on old machines. If you’re looking for a side-scrolling ARPG that is browser-based, this will more than likely be the game that you’re looking for.