Preview

Astro Lords Pre-Release First Look

By David Piner -
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Astro Lords is a free-to-play browser based 3D Strategy MMO (or MMORTS). Oh boy, I know, you're getting all excited at the idea that it's browser based, but hold that thought for a second. In Astro Lords your commander of a flying asteroid and its associated fleet flying around, mining stuff, doing browser based game stuff like building up your city, waiting on timers, waiting on timers some more, and contemplating emptying your bank account to stop waiting on timers.

Astro Lords though is a little bit different, actually, a lot different, otherwise I wouldn't bother to write about it. It has all of the trappings of any other MMO strategy game (Strongholds Kingdoms, Clash of Clans, etc.) but one thing it has on others is the fact that it's 3D and has real time combat. Oh and multi-

There is an ongoing evolution in these browser based strategy games and that they're merging more and more into actual real MMOs with persistent worlds, active combat, and actual real time combat and move further away from the timers and the base building.

There is still the entire monetization strategy of praying on the player's patience, which is a thing and it's a thing that a lot of people don't like, but it's successful (otherwise people wouldn't do it). I fiddled around with an account loaned to me by the development team, with tons of currency, and it didn't feel like I could really instantly win since a lot of timers didn't have a hurry up issue and most of the currency based items were upgrades, supplies, and a premium mode.

We can thank Unity though for the games interesting and, I dare say, "visually stunning" graphics. Now I did do the whole quotation thing there because I know some dude on the Internet, his fedora equipped, and his long flowing beard is getting ready to explain to me that using that is an insult, nay, a superciliousness way of saying it, but give me a moment. It's visually stunning compared to the usual run of browser based games we're faced with playing.

For instance, Yu-Gi-Oh BAM! looks like most Yugi games out there. Castle Age is still pretty much graphics after graphics. Zynga games are still about 10 years old in the graphics department. For something I can play in my browser, online, with others, it's doing a great job of what it offers and that to me says something. Something so much I might say it would stun me.

All kidding aside - let me talk a little bit about the actual gameplay. It's confusing, tough to get through, and has a huge tutorial. That's the sign of a game with a lot of depth and games with a lot of depth naturally. I wasn't able to play some of the more interesting things, like fleet battles and defense, because I haven't had a ton of time to dedicate, but I was able to do the death match against aliens, fiddle with building things, and overall experience the entire tutorial going over the systems.

It's got a lot going for it, because there is something neat about an MMO quasi-4X game, and the real time battles are really neat, not to mention that you can do co-op vs aliens with your friends or launch into PvP matches with others. The controls are slightly frustrating (you drag in the direction you want a weapon to fire, which is a bit cumbersome) and there are a lot of things that aren't perfect, but for a browser based game it's neat enough to check out.

Astro Lords will be available some point in the future, on the Internet, this exact specific one. I'd say if you like browser games, timers don't put you off, and you love 4X or RTS type games, to give it a look, even for the fact you can just co-op kill aliens and that's pretty neat in of itself.

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About The Author

David "Xerin" Piner
Get in the bush with Xerin every Monday for his weekly column, Respawn, as he analyzes the hottest trends, buzz topics, and absurdities in MMO gaming.