Mobile games have come a long way. Same goes for mobile MMOs or similar games. Kritika is the only mobile MMO style game where I actually enjoyed the combat and didn’t nearly fall asleep while playing. While it is free-to-play with heavy-handed microtransactions; you can easily climb the levels without paying a dime.
There’s not really a story here and you really won’t care. After picking one of two available classes from the start (another is available after one character reaches level 15). Gameplay elements are slowly unlocked as you reach higher levels. Things like enhancing items, crafting, battle arenas, and various other gameplay elements will be thrown at you regularly. This helps with everything feeling stale too early on.
Once you get into the action you will actually smile. The game has lightning-fast and cool-looking combat. The control layout is nice for a touch screen and after a few rounds I was pulling off 200 hit combos like nothing. Of course, you will slowly unlock better skills as you level up. This all may sound solid there is one huge problem that keeps this game back quite a bit.
The big issue here is backtracking and monotony. Doing the same levels on different difficulties gets tiresome fast. Thankfully the levels can be beaten in less than two minutes a piece so it’s not so bad in short 30-minute bursts. Some people may not be able to stand this, but I didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would because I was leveling up pretty fast.
Like all other free-to-play games, you only get what you pay for. There are treasure chests that you can open which have different items in them. The keys are earned through rewards by logging in or beating levels. Some chests can only be opened by using Karats which can only be bought with real money or slowly earned in-game (almost none at all actually). The same goes for avatar items. I like dressing up my character in cool garments as much as the next person, but just one outfit can cost $20. That’s a damn rip-off.
Outside of all the usual free-to-play restraints, the enhancement and crafting system works fairly well and I like how I can take my items that are useless and merge them into my good item to raise the stats.
All in all, the graphics are fairly decent for a mobile game, but the textures could use some work. If you don’t have a strong connection you will get FPS drops quite frequently as well. The combat is solid if repetitive, but if you just play in short bursts I’m sure you won’t mind.
Let’s face it, everyone knows most F2P MMOs require a lot of grinding and this is usually what keeps me away from them. Scarlet Blade seemed appealing because of the scantily clad women and the game just looked good and fun. I gave it a shot (which I rarely do for MMOs) and it was great for the first few weeks until I go to level 23 and the grinding had to start.
Scarlet Blade has a simple story about Free Knights and Royal Knights Arkana who are AI women. The Royal Guards want to destroy the creator of the Arkana is a rebellious war while the Free Knights worship her and stay loyal. The story is somewhat interesting, but it is stretched thin over 40 levels of missions that you end up forgetting half of it. The characters aren’t interesting at all and are basically all text that you read. The main attraction of the game is the busty women and the fact that you can buy lingerie unsealed and have your character walk around nude. The combat seemed fast and satisfying, but after a while, the grind started kicking in.
The game’s main missions have you just killing different amounts of respawning enemies that roam the area. This gets tedious and boring after a while, but leveling up a character is always addictive, however, the rewards for doing so are poor. You only get one EXP point per level so it takes forever to properly acquire a good arsenal of attacks. I concentrated on 6 and even that took forever. Most mission rewards suck, they give you pet energy potions and mainly potions for yourself. You rarely get anything good like armor or a weapon, in fact, nearly every enemy drop was useless junk that could only be sold at a store. Very disappointing loot and even the large raid areas didn’t provide good loot. The game just disappoints on that level completely.
After about level 8 I had enough gold to buy all the best armor and weapons for my character, but there’s one set of certain levels. Once you buy it all that’s it until you reach the next level set. There were various other things that this MMO did that others didn’t like collecting cards to use for gambling that gave you boxes of items, you can complete puzzles every time you level up to unveil some sexy artwork and things like that. It isn’t anything that would get someone to play the game, honestly, I got bored after hitting level 23. One thing that I was concerned about was that the various item ranking systems are complicated and nearly useless, there are also so many of them. You can sell your item to rank it up more but must unseal it to sell it, you have to use Stardust Crystals to level up your armor and weapons, but the stats are so small you won’t notice a difference. Honestly, the game offers very little reward for all your effort.
There are some social poses your character can buy and learn that add to the sex appeal of the game. These do nothing more than offer you something to ogle at, however, some poses can make your character rest and heal up. There were other items that I found useless like megaphones that make your text in the chat gold so it stands out. Maybe items were useless and I just sold them, why an MMO would offer you so little for so much effort is beyond me. Two items I did require were actually useful. After a while, you get a mech you can use that uses CP points that do a lot of damage. Another item is a suit that is used in PvP only, these items were powerful and came in handy a lot.
There are various other systems like storing items, buying items, weapons, armor, and synthesizing which even at level 23 I still didn’t have any materials to do. The game is pretty bare-bones and there isn’t much incentive to keep playing once the grind starts kicking in. I did get a bike at level 10 which looked cool, but there are no customization features and upgrading your bike is nearly useless. All it does is increase the moving speed by one point with every crystal you use. You can take a look at other armors and apply them to your current armor, but honestly, these systems are all useless. I tried PvP battles and they seemed fun, but I couldn’t get any kills. The action was so hectic I kept losing track of my mouse cursor and did not even know who I was attacking. The battles rotate every hour and it was fun at first, but it’s not worth it. You can collect dog tags to turn into medals for the show, but once again, what’s the point?
After killing thousands of creatures and grinding to level 23 I started running out of quests to keep my levels going. I had to do repeatable quests and just kill dozens of creatures to level up. After a while, I figured there are better games out there to play than there are. Scarlet Blade is a good concept but seriously needs more content to be considered worthy of your time. Despite all that there are a lot of areas to explore and the game is huge, I found some challenging bosses and overall had a good time, but the nagging feeling in my mind was that the paltry rewards just weren’t worth it.
Scarlet Blade may feature sexy busty women, but in the end, you are going to start really grinding at level 23 and the rewards just suck. The game has too many synthesizing and item leveling systems so it becomes confusing, and overall the game just isn’t worth your time.
Graphics are great in games, but some just strive to be artistically beautiful rather than push your hardware to the limits. There were quite a few beautiful games in the indie department this year, but still a smaller amount than last year. These games look like moving paintings or drawings. These are the most beautiful of them all.
Journey’s art style just breathes artistic flow and imagination. Despite the brown color palette the overall design choices, effects, and visual representation of everything you see are just fantastic. Combined with a beautiful score, Journey is a one of a kind game that AAA titles can’t seem to provide.
The most disappointing isn’t exactly the worst. These games tend to be over-hyped and turn out just mediocre when they were claimed to be something amazing by developers.
Disney Epic Mickey
With a game that was supposed to be so amazing, and well, epic this game really was like a punch in the gut. With a bad camera, muddy textures, and poor combat and controls, Epic Mickey should have come out next spring with more polish. This just goes to show that a superb idea can fall flat.