Magic Barrage, the 8-Bit MMO
For a pixel based game looking to recapture that retro style then it is a triumph, the game world is pretty well designed and the movement is smooth.
Instant travel and auto-attacks are extremely popular for the asian market but for the western market it simply feels like playing on easy mode and completely lacks a challenge.
We took a look at the new pixel-based free to play browser game Magic Barrage from R2Games, and developed by Gameguyz. Currently in open beta testing the game is a classic retro shooter adventure where you run around the map dodging wave after wave of arrows, fireballs, acid and more whilst trying to drop enemies. A break from the typical 3-D browser graphics that are currently on the market the game is definitely a tip of the hat to those old school RPG’s used to love.
Getting into the game was as quick as filling in the simple registration and hitting the big blue play button which immediately takes you to a character creation screen, where you can currently make three characters (both further character slots can be unlocked, probably through paying premium currency), which is handy as to begin with there are only three classes that you can choose from: warrior, mage and archer. Still struggling from the festivities of New Year we decided to hang back from the fights and go long range with our bow and arrows.
The opening area is a quick tutorial showing you what buttons do what, which takes all of five seconds as the game is that simple. You make your way through the zone until you end up in the big bad Dragons chamber, seemingly the main villain of the game, and end up being part of a huge fight between it and a lower of adventurers that suddenly appear who proceed kick the snot out of it whilst you run around like an idiot. The Dragon flees and you suddenly appear in the main game area where your question really begins.
Quests have an instant teleport feature that instantly transport you to the required NPC with the click of a button. Quite honestly it’s these kind of short cuts and “time-saving devices” that I’m not a huge fan of, it generally means you’re probably going to be speaking to a lot of NPC’s a lot of the time and want to skip through their dialogue so they have implemented a feature to make it a little bit more bearable. Instantly teleporting between a few NPC’s for a while we picked up new quest which was accessed by going into the town portal and taking goes to an instanced area.
Each instance has a different setting that can be unlocked, from easy mode, normal mode and beyond (we only unlocked normal mode) and players complete the instance as quickly as possible and are given a score at the end which determines their reward. The instances pretty much consist of beating your way through lots of mobs until you reach the boss area, kill him and the quest is complete and the portal appears to teleport you back to town.
The controls basically operate on the WASD keys but does allow diagonal free movement, giving you an easier time for dodging enemy ranged attacks. Your character will attack in the direction that you left click with your mouse, at the least ranged attacks do as we only played the archer, which means you can move in one direction whilst independently shooting in another. My biggest issue is the implementation of the auto attack, which continues to fire arrow after arrow (which are unlimited) and also attacks the creatures that are one-hit kills anyway, completely taking the challenge out of the already quite easy game.
From what we saw there is plenty of typical MMO features, from Guilds, crafting, dungeons, arenas and more, as you kill creatures and gain XP to level up many of these features are unlocked along the way. The game was fun and quirky and oddly addictive, at least if you don’t play with the auto attack on, and will therefore have appeal to those who want the nostalgia of those first game experiences they had decades ago.