I think it’s fairly safe to assume that I don’t “get” MapleStory. Sometimes that happens with the divide between the East and West when games are ported over. There are plenty of MMO staples over in Asia that aren’t as common here, and I guess a UI that looks like a cat barfed up menu options all over the place is one of them.
My interest in trying MapleStory was that we have so few 2D side-scrolling MMOs and I was genuinely curious if this title might make a good tablet port in the future. It’s easier to control 2D than 3D on tablets/iPhones in my opinion, and Glitch won’t be delivered to us in this universe. Universe D, now there’s the lucky gits.
So let’s start with the good, because there’s precious little of it. MapleStory’s look has a certain cartoony pop to it that is more engaging than annoying (in my opinion). It’s a step or two above flash, has plenty of primary colors going on, and is fairly well-drawn. The class choices also looked pretty interesting, and I went with a cannoner because the description said it came with a monkey. That would sell me on just about any class, really. “Janitor class? Eh… I don’t know. But it does come with an orangutan! OK, I’m in.”
That’s where it stops, because there’s a high wall of ugly and unwieldy to overcome before any “fun” is to be had. The download uses (sigh) Pando Media Booster, there are about six options when making your character that I had no idea what they meant, and when I finally got to playing my character, my class was nowhere to be seen. I was Mr. Explorer, level 1, with a microphone (?) as a weapon.
The control scheme is so odd, too. You use your right hand to control the cursor for movement, with the left handling jump, attack, and interact (ctrl, alt, and Z, I think). But then you’ll need your mouse plenty, so my right hand had to keep moving back and forth. My character didn’t really control that well anyway. Jumping and attacks felt really off, and by the time that the game allowed me to finally start whaling on the cutest little stars that you’ve ever seen, I was terminally bored of trying.
I guess this is supposed to appeal to kids, but there are way, way too many buttons and menus at the bottom to make it as kid-friendly as, say, Wizard101 or Free Realms. The dialogue, however, was right up your alley if you could only read at a third-grade level. It’s just cheesy and simplistic and about half of it was a monkey saying “Ook!” at me. And the chat window was one line? I gave up trying to figure out this UI.
Ultimately what was disappointing is that I just wanted to get right in the game and start blasting things with a cannon. It felt like MapleStory kept holding me back from that point for a while, and when it did give me a little slack, it was to whap stars with a microphone. I was led to believe that the game was a lot cooler than that by the screenshots I’ve seen over the years. Maybe it would be if I persevered, but first impressions count and this one turned me off.
Would I play it again? Bwahahahaha. What was the question?