Com2uS is the developer behind many titles, but they are perhaps best known for Inotia and Inotia 2: A Wanderer of Luone. It was with excitement, therefore, that I opened a recent email containing a beta testing invite for their newest project...a "fully-featured MMORPG on the iPhone."
Yes, that's right: a real MMO, not that Epic Pet Wars or Zombies Live nonsense. The game is titled IMO: World of Magic, and the feature list includes guilds, a party system, a friends list, and chatting as well as the inclusion of three character classes, 50+ skills, and a trading shop. I grabbed the beta build early this week and have spent some time wandering through IMO's thirty zones. The game is indeed much like a "real" MMORPG. You've got guilds, skills, and monsters to kill. The game world has a cute Maple Story-like vibe and lag wasn't bad at all, though only the real launch will reveal Com2uS's server's capabilities. (Also note that I was on WiFi.)
The game so far has been a mixed bag. There are translation errors, the "pick up items" button seems superfluous, and chatting is hampered by both an absurdly short text limit and a clunky in-game keyboard. On the other hand, combat works quite well; you can play as a warrior, ranged fighter, or mage, and each class comes with its own unique talents. Teaming up with other random player to hunt piggies and moving bushes is fun, and the world itself is very cheerful. Even with its flaws, it's an impressive title simply because we haven't seen a "real" MMORPG on the App Store. I can see this being a great pick-up-and-play title: killing a few monsters in those five-minute breaks that populate our lives is both easy and fun.
Strangely, there isn't much of a story. Fetch quests from the villagers sort of give you an objective, but they're hardly exciting and there's no quest log to keep track of things. For now, IMO is mostly a grind: kill monsters, level up, gain skills and items, and kill some more monsters. Grind-fests are typical of Korean RPGs, but they certainly aren't my favorite feature, and there's little else to do right now.
IMO has a ton of potential, and this beta build is very impressive, especially from a technical standpoint. I'm still worried about the lack of a narrative, though. Once the revised version hits the App Store, rest assured that we'll be giving it a full review!