7 Overall Score
Graphics : 7/10
Gameplay : 7/10
Feature packed, colourful graphics, large engaging community of players
Many actions take a really long time to complete, zero sound
For our latest review we decided to check out the ancient Greece themed city building browser MMO Ikariam, which is about to see its seventh year since launch and so we thought we would check it out in honour of this great milestone for developers Gameforge.
Development began back in March 2007 and since then Ikariam has definitely come a long way from the six-man team that first started creating the game, launching just under a year later the game had pretty instant success accruing a registered 1 million players after only three months with its first German and shortly after International server. Now the game stands at a staggering 68 million registered players from across the world as the game is supported in 36 different languages.
The level of community is strong within the game and it definitely brings players together; the developers even report that from the community once a player had flown from Syria to Dubai to form a peace treaty with another player and their two alliances that had been at war in game!
A glance over the various milestones that Ikariam has made for itself over the years shows a constant stream of features, buildings and mechanics being added into the game with tweaks, graphical improvements and overall redesigns to cater towards developing technology and the wants of the community. Ikariam has a number of accolades to its name including Best Broswergame 2009 (Deutscher Computerspielpreis) and Browser Game of the Year 2011 (Browsergameoftheyear) and continues to do increasingly well on Facebook where it too had massive success at its initial release.
As a free to play real time strategy we took a few moments before we started recording to check out a tutorial with a fresh account to get to grips with the variety of intricate and pretty unique features that the game offers, upon which we then switched to the account provided to us which had a fully developed town for us to look over and a wealth of resources and premium Ambrosia currency to spend.
As we stepped into the game it was quite easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of features available from our provided account, showing how much attention and detail has gone into the game since its initial conception. Like many real time city building MMO’s you primarily focus on building up your resources, managing both them and your populous and more importantly your time; everything takes time in Ikariam, from how long it takes to construct a building, load soldiers onto a ship and send that ship out to attack enemies or settle new towns. The PVP element allows players to build up huge armies and invade other players towns to steal their resources, which can be somewhat protected by constructing warehouses. Each town has only a finite number of plots that players can construct a building upon, so players must balance the types and number of buildings they require in the town as well as focusing on upgrading them to improve their facilities (e.g. instead of taking up a plot to build another warehouse it may be more appropriate to simply upgrade one that has already been constructed so that it has a higher capacity).
Checking out your own town you also have the chance to zoom out and view the island that you occupy, each island comprised of a number of other players towns as well as a key luxury resource that makes them vital trade partners to other islands as not every luxury can be gained on every island. Aside from this are the island buildings such as the Quarry that players can upgrade to help everyone on the island earn more resources, offering up a higher level of cooperation and community than many other games in this genre do. Zooming out even further we see the world map and just how many islands have been created when new players have joined the game and showing off that huge number or players.
Interacting with other players is one of the key elements of the game, whether making enemies and declaring war on other players or creating your own embassy and founding an Alliance of your own, or simply working towards building a strong island for yourself and your neighbours.
From our brief time on our island the game looks pretty, has plenty of features and has a relatively simple learning curve for players to work out how everything operates; the biggest let down was the lack of music or sound in the game, even the option to have something there and turn sounds off is better than a default absence though it’s far from the worst thing for games like this.