MapleStory Adventures? What? Bouncing orange mushrooms?! Pigs wearing ribbons?! One-eyed tree stumps?! If your first reaction to those images is a promise to yourself that you are going to stop eating Chinese food after midnight, that’s also alright. But if the first thing you do at their mention is to check if you have stacked enough health potions and begin warming up your fingers, then you are one of the 100 million people world-wide that have been enchanted by the immensely… cute MMORPG called MapleStory. And now, you can play it on Facebook.
What is MapleStory Adventures?
MapleStory Adventures is a new side-scrolling Facebook RPG from the workshops of NEXON that brought you the hit MMORPG MapleStory, as well as games like Atlantica Online, Dragon Nest, Vindictus and others. It is entirely based on their mega-successful MapleStory and they share many of the same features. This is, beside Mafia Wars, the biggest game on Facebook platform. So let us take a closer look at MapleStory Adventures.
The Maple World
The in-game environment is essentially the same in MapleStory and MapleStory Adventures: you are in an area called Victoria Island that’s divided into eight sections. Experienced MapleStory players will recognize Henesys, Kerning City, Ellinia, Perion and Florina Beach and many of the recurring characters like Shumi, Jane Doe, Chief Stan and others. It is important to point out that, although it is quite playable, the game is still in its open beta development phase and many of the areas and features are still not available.
The user interface has some common elements with other Facebook games. There is the Friend bar right at the bottom that enables you to hire your friends as assistance in combat situations. Summoning a friend also helps you gain Heart XP, which is a new feature that promotes in-game interaction with your friends provides some rewards each time you gain a Heart level.
In the bottom right corner you can find six buttons. The first one called “My Stuff” is a shortcut to your inventory screen. A click on the book-shaped one called “Skill” will lead you to a screen in which you can upgrade your skills and choose a method of attack. The “Camera” button enables you to make screenshots. The “Map” button is very useful. A click on it takes you to the map screen which you can use for “fast travel”, or in other words, click where in the world you want to go and your character will go there automatically. The “Shop” button takes you to the in-game shop where you can buy different items and the “Collection” screen enables you to track the status of your collections and claim prizes for completing them.
Playing the game
The game is really straightforward and it has an easy to use point-and-click interface. It does not use any keyboard shortcuts or combos and there is no need for frantic potion drinking. It is as simple as they come and, while that is a positive boon with casual players, it makes the game quite monotonous.
As with any RPG, you advance through the game by gaining experience and leveling up. Experience is gained by destroying monsters and doing quests.
The quests require little imagination. Although there are somewhat diverse basic tutorial quest that introduce you to the different aspects of the game when you start playing, they quickly come down to the usual pattern. Your task is to either collect drops from monsters or you have to kill a certain number of them – and, due to its over-simplicity, that will get quite boring really fast. Now, if you are not demanding when it comes to your Facebook gaming or gaming in general, or whether you just want time to pass quicker while your thoughts are on vacation, this game might have enough things going for her to keep you interested. So let us take a look at other aspects of the game MapleStory Adventures.
The Baddies and the Goodies
As far as your character is concerned, there are basically two different classes for players to choose from. You can either play as a Warrior or a Mage, although the difference is purely cosmetic. The Warrior specializes in hand-to-hand combat, while the Mage is oriented on spells as a form of ranged combat. The main difference between the classes is in the choice of clothing and equipment. The Mage uses pointy hats, robes and wands, while the Warrior uses swords, axes and heavy armor. All of your equipment contributes to your power rating, which is your only relevant stat, expect for energy. You attack monsters by clicking on them and deal damage depending on your power rating. Attacks expend your energy and limit your game time.
The strength and type of your attacks is also dependant on your skill. You get to raise your skill or learn a new one when you gain a level and you unlock new skills as you progress. But there is a catch. To learn and upgrade more advanced skills, you need something called Skill Permits. You can get them from friends, as random gifts or buy them from the shop. Each new skill level requires a certain number of skill permits.
As for the monsters, they are quite docile. They do not attack you on sight and you can move through them without taking damage. That is, unless you hit them. Then they retaliate, but only as long as you are in combat with them. Their hits burn your energy and that will shorten your game a bit.
Filling your wallet
When you start the game and take a look at the shop, the first thing you are going to notice is the prices. They are high. Not soul-crushingly, jaw droppingly, my-credit-cards –are-hiding-in-fear-and-shame high, but high enough to give you pause and get you thinking about a second job. I am kidding, of course. The amounts of gold that are necessary for buying high level items seem very large, but they are level appropriate and after a while, you will be able to purchase just about anything that can be purchased with gold in this game.
There are three ways to make money in this game. Well, four actually. Let’s be honest – there are just the five ways to make money in MapleStory Adventures. The first way is to get it off of monsters. When you destroy a monster, it drops a certain amount of gold, some magic stones and possibly some quest items or equipment. If you dislike the equipment you got, or you cannot use it or your old, obsolete equipment is lingering around, cluttering your inventory, you can sell it in the game shop for a relatively small amount of money. That is the second way to make money, although it will not get you rich.
The third way to make money is to craft it. You can purchase recipes for making gold from a gray haired crone with thick glasses called Yulette that appears in every town, next to a couple of giant cauldrons. The main ingredients in crafting are the Magic Stones. They are combined with other ingredients, such as Elixir, Food Ingredients, Ancient Coins, Enchant Scrolls and Enchant Ingredient items to produce Pet Food, Money, Mystic Dew (an energy renewing potion) and Enchant Scrolls. Ingredients can be harvested throughout the game, but you can also purchase them from the shop and receive them from friends in the form of free gifts. Each crafting takes a progressively larger amount of time (depending on the size of the item in crafting), but you do not have to wait around for the crafting process to complete. Just place your order and go about your business. After it is finished, the game will notify you of the complete process and you just have to stop by Yulette and pick up your finished items.
The fourth way to make money, in MapleStory Adventures, is by getting rewards. The game is pretty generous with rewards – you get rewards for almost anything. That includes hiring your friends, finishing quests, playing regularly, completing collections and collecting little treasure boxes that monsters drop from time to time. There are two kinds of boxes: Mystery Boxes and Treasure Boxes. Each, when opened, gives you a random gift. The gifts get better as you progress through different towns and the gifts in Treasure Boxes are better than the gifts from the Mystery Boxes. You can open a Mystery box (if you have one or more) any time you want, but a Treasure Box has to be unlocked with a Golden Key. Golden keys can be obtained from friends, as prizes or purchased from the shop.
Buy, buy, buy!
Now, the fifth way for making money in MapleStory Adventures is still in development, but it requires real, actual money. Okay, actual virtual money. You will notice that to buy most items in the MapleStory store you need Facebook credits. Facebook credits are a virtual currency that can be used to make purchases in all the games on the Facebook platform. You can buy Facebook credits using PayPal, a mobile phone or credit cards and several other purchasing methods. It is a widely accepted business model for games on Facebook. Items and bonuses bought in such fashion are usually better, stronger and/or more advanced than their “free” versions and they bring a considerable advantage to the player that purchased them.
As far as MapleStory is concerned, its strength and appeal has always been its cuteness and character customization. So far all the items necessary for combat in MapleStory Adventures can be bought by the in-game gold currency, but food, Skill Permits and fashion items (yes, there are those as well) mostly require Facebook credits. Those items are not vital for playing the game, but they make it easier and more interesting.
MapleStory Adventures conclusion
Let us be honest – MapleStory Adventures has some of the cutest “monsters” ever seen on a computer screen and it is one of the most adorable games ever! But do not expect a lot more than that. It does not pose any challenges, it does not require any (and I mean any!) thinking. What it does require is a whole lot of clicking. Seriously. If you want to get anywhere in this game, you will have click so much, your fingers will be sore.
If you want a lovely little time-waster that is easy on the eyes and does not strain you in almost any way (remember the finger pain), MapleStory Adventures is perfect for you.