Tales of Laputa (Review)

Tales of Laputa is a turn-based online browser RPG launched by Ngames Limited, which is also the developer of several similar browser-based online games like Foxli Rush, Pockie Pirates and Pockie Ninja. The closed beta of this newly available product has been live since April 1, 2013.

The title of “Tales of Laputa” instantly reminds me of Miyazaki Hayao’s animation, Laputa: Castle in the Sky. As described by the developer, the game does blend in anime elements. The world of this game borrows from the animation Laputa, which is set in a continent where magic and machinery coexists. You will be playing as a member of the Order of Morias and joining its war against the bandits group by following a very brief storyline.

Gameplay in Tales of Laputa is very much un-original. You start by creating your avatar from a variety of choices and naming it. There are 6 classes: sniper, mage, assassin, priest, swordsman and wizard, and 12 Japanese-style anime appearances. No matter what class you choose, you will be experiencing the same thing. As it is a browser game, you will need to use your mouse a lot and keyboard less, as all in-game actions can be performed by left-clicking. Battle in this game does not deviate from the common turn-based battle model in which you encounter an enemy, enter combat interface, click a couple of skill keys, and wait till enemies are dead.

This game includes most of today’s prevalent gaming elements, from pet system, market and auction system, the arena and Colosseum system. There are altogether 20 maps to explore and more than 300 monsters to encounter. Its richness in contents could serve as incentive for players to keep returning to the game.

However, a trend among today’s RPG games is to make the gameplay more and more simplified and player-friendly, and this game is no exception. You progress throughout the game by completing quests. Upon entering the newbie zone, you will be given an endless, incessant stream of quests, which will bring you to level 35 without effort. All you need to do is talk to an NPC, and the auto-path system will enable your character to march to the destination automatically. By clicking on the quest “Name” shown in the right screen, your character will be able to move to the right location, talk to the right NPC, collect the designated items, and return to deliver the completed quest. By opening the auto-encounter and auto-battle mode, it is also possible for your character to encounter and defeat enemies on its way. In intelligent battle mode, you can even use skills appropriate to the occasion, which means it can auto-finish all sorts of battles and certainly battles in dungeons. Sometimes, all you need to do is sit there, watch at the screen and wait for your character to finish something.

The gaming experience in Tales of Laputa is more about leisurely entertaining rather than adventurous and exciting. The developer seems to be designing games for infants. For example, the system will show you how and when to apply newly attained equipments, items. There are potion crystals that will automatically refill you and your pet’s HP and MP. As there’s less to do, it becomes less fun.

On the upside, such simplified modification leads to a faster gaming pace. This game has optimized the speed of character’s skill release, combing with auto battle, each turn-based round could be ended more quickly, and thus the battles in general have become more intense.

The social features in the game allow building a 5-player team. After creating a team, you can either invite nearby players to join or post recruitment ads to find more qualified teammates.

The graphics in this game are cartoon-styled, but vivid and detailed. The color scheme is bright yet soothing to the eyes. And the Japanese anime style characters are simply adorable, and their appearances change depending on the armor/clothing that they wear. There is little slowdown of frames, even with a mediocre network speed. As a browser game developer, Ngames has done a good job with its visual presentation and performance.

In general, Tales of Laputa is one of the top-notch browser games so far. Although flawed, it has the advantage regarding integrative performance. For those who newly touch on an online RPG, it will be an excellent choice. But for players looking for an old-fashioned adventure experience, it might be a little frustrating.

Source: dotmmo.com

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