There are a few interesting things about Maple Story that I need to share with you. The first is that it's a sideways-scrolling 2D MMORPG. That's not something you get to say every day. What's more, it's free to play.
Feeling a little deja vu? Yes, we have reviewed this before (PCG 152, 66%), but that was as a baffling import. With the game now out in Europe you can download it and be Euro-baffled as people talk to you in Russian and Portuguese.
The reason this game is free to play is that it includes a feature know as the 'cash shop', wherein you can trade real greenbacks for in-game points, allowing you to buy pets, hats, and stuff that makes your life in the two-dimensional world of Maple Story a little easier. You don't have to, but it is there.
Like most online roleplaying games Maple Story is about hitting things to earn loot and experience. You'll hit snails, mushrooms, angry sentient logs, and weird smiling blobs of goo. Everything you hit will be super-cute and die in a way that befits the anime-styled family-friendly visuals of the game.
This is my second run through Maple Story and I've noticed something this time around, perhaps as a result of the servers I've been playing on being rather more populated. It's this: loot can be picked up by people other than yourself if you take too long with the hoovering.
This means that twats can follow you around trying to steal your loot. This little feature could be so easily fixed within the game that its inclusion seems like a deliberate annoyance. There are also far too few quests for the serious player to avoid the need for massive critter-killing.
On the other hand, Maple Story has a distinct charm: it keeps my girlfriend occupied for hours at a time. She's new to online games, but the accessibility, ease and cuteness of Maple Story have enabled her to play and enjoy this game in exactly the way that I cannot, now that I am an embittered, hardened veteran of virtual worlds.
Millions will love this game, but I'm going to stick with EVE.
The flat embodiment of cute grinding. Now in Europe