I don’t claim to have nearly as
free-to-play games as our resident guru Ralsu, I’ve always
been open to trying out new MMOGs regardless of the business model
employed. So long as any micro-transactions don’t overstep
their bounds and infringe on my ability to enjoy the experience,
I’ve adopted a “live and let others worry about
item malls” attitude. With that in mind, I decided to try on Lunia
for size to see if walking a few virtual miles through the
cartoon-inspired landscapes of Rodesia was worth the price of admission.
Developed by Allm and brought to the US via NHN USA’s ijji.com
games portal, Lunia draws much of it’s inspiration from
action arcade games while still providing players with elements of
character advancement you’d expect from a more traditional
fantasy-based MMOG. Lunia is squarely aimed at attracting a more casual
gamer, yet still offers a certain degree of depth if you can overlook
some of the quirkiness, button mashing and annoying boss fights.
Tigers and… Exploding Ostriches? Oh My!
may sound exciting, but you'll want to avoid the exploding ostriches.
Getting started in Lunia is a pretty simple affair. After a relatively
painless client download and install process, you’ll be able
to launch the game directly from the ijji.com game portal, which also
provides access to general info about your characters, PvP rankings,
and the requisite item mall.
From there character creation is fairly basic, as the offered classes
are all based on specific characters from Lunia’s main
storyline. So if you have your heart set on playing a thief for
example, hopefully you won’t mind being limited to a female
avatar. The class selection is also pretty standard for a fantasy
setting, but through the course of gameplay you’ll be able to
unlock new characters and classes that help round out the initial
offerings. Personally, I can’t wait to unlock Lime
the Combat Slime, but that’s just me.
With my freshly minted carbon copy thief good to go, it was time to set
foot into the great, wide open world of Rodesia.
Unfortunately, Rodesia isn’t exactly what you’d
call “wide open”. And as far as great goes... that
comes down to a matter of perspective.
to Meet the Top of Your Head
in Lunia blends arcade action with MMOG elements.
Though I’ve been gaming for much longer than I care to admit
(*hides his Pac-Man
shirt in the back of the
closet*), I’ve always been pretty vocal about specific things
in games that drive me bonkers. Most of that is personal preference,
but I felt the need to add in a brief disclaimer before diving into
Lunia’s primary gameplay mechanics.
One such area would be fixed, overhead cameras. Call it what you will,
but isometric perspectives in RPGs inevitably lead to a feeling of
complete detachment. Considering that the camera will pan in to give a
closer view of your character when you open your inventory,
it’s a shame Lunia doesn’t allow players the option
to do so more freely. While this might be a non-issue for some, it
tends to hinder immersion now that I’ve been spoiled by
modern 3D MMOGs.
Lunia’s saving grace comes in the form of a series of
cleverly crafted cutscenes. These come into play at the beginning or
end of each chapter in a longer series of repeatable missions that you
can play through either solo or with small groups. You’ll
access mission instances from main social hubs, and have the option to
set up a private room that only those players you allow can enter.
Missions themselves tend to be fairly quick, and bring the arcade-style
combat to the forefront. Though the control scheme can be a bit wonky,
once you’ve gotten used to it and added a few skills to your
hotbar, combat can be an extremely satisfying experience. Well, most of
the time anyway.
throws plenty of boss battles your way.
If there’s one thing I loathe more than poor camera controls,
it would be the dreaded Boss Fight
While I’ve come to accept
the fact that raids in modern MMOGs are simply a bigger version of a
boss fight dressed in pretty clothing, the concept still seems about as
dated as that Pac-Man shirt I refuse to admit I own.
Though I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of
Lunia’s overall storyline, every mission I’ve
completed so far is marred by a boss battle at the end. While
combat throughout a given mission might pit you against large swarms of
enemies that require the use of various tactics, the bosses in Lunia
are true to form in the sense that combat is reduced to alternating
between attacking and running in circles. Did I mention that bosses
have special attacks that can kill you in one hit? Not my cup
of tea, but to each their own!
Put Bacon in the Soap?
While my experience with Lunia so far has been fairly brief, I
certainly look forward to spending more time with the game. That may
sound contradictory to some of the things mentioned above, but plenty
of unique areas easily make up for Lunia’s shortcomings.
Somewhere between the comical cutscenes, cartoon graphics and Exploding
Ostriches I’ve found myself genuinely wanting to play more
each time I log out. Considering how much I despise Boss
Fights, that’s saying quite a bit.