App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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The idea of combining an eBook with an MMO is an interesting one. Especially considering the fact that the developers/writers plan on using event results from the game to determine the content of the next book. It’s a clever concept and an interesting world to set both forms of media in, but it’s a bit more difficult to get excited about when the game itself isn’t very good.
Dynasty of the Magi is, as I’ve said, a clever idea. An eleven-book series feeds into the MMO, which in turn feeds back into the series. When creating a character, players can choose between good and bad sides, and their overall success with certain missions and quests will have a direct impact on the story of the next book in the series. It’s also interesting to note that reading through the eBook itself can unlock content in the game. As for the game itself, it plays much like a typical MMO for the most part. Players create an avatar, pick a “class,” take on quests, fight mobs, etc. Experience and resources earned through quests and fighting can be used to learn new skills or upgrade existing ones, and so on.
The symbiotic relationship between the game and the literary series is definitely an interesting selling point, but the game itself has a couple more things going for it. For one, it’s not very often (or at all) that I’ve come across a game set in modern times with an Ancient Egyptian mythological twist. I also think it’s pretty cool that mobs of citizens are “turned” rather than being otherwise dispatched and can actually act as support when fighting other enemies. That’s pretty much all the nice stuff I have to say, sadly.
It’s just that the underlying engine for Dynasty of the Magi is fairly awful. Movement is awkward, especially with no discernable camera control, and makes navigation and lining up for an attack incredibly cumbersome. It’s a good thing the character doesn’t have to be facing their target in order to connect. On top of that, it just doesn’t look all that great. Muddy textures, lumpy models, the works. Yes it’s an iPad MMO but it’s not the first, and most of the other examples look much, much better than this. I’ve also encountered a rather irritating glitch on more than one occasion where all the skills were removed from my action bar, requiring me to return to base and head right back out again.
The interesting ideas behind Dynasty of the Magi are certainly worth noting and since it’s free there’s no harm in taking a look. Sadly it’s just not a good game. Free or not, it’s just not something I could see anyone playing for an extended period of time.