App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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For better or for ill, MapleStory has spawned a second iOS spin-off. Fans of the original or the Thief Edition are bound to enjoy this little side-story, but I'm not entirely sure the same can be said for the rest of us. Read on to find out why I believe that, naturally.
MapleStory Cygnus Knights Edition uses pretty much the same framework as the Thief Edition. There's a lot of jumping, attacking, gathering and leveling-up. Plenty of wandering back-and-forth from zone to zone. And a story that's most definitely not the reason anyone's actually playing it. Again, it's bound to make those who legitimately enjoyed the other iterations happy. For everyone else, it depends largely on how much exposure they've had to other iOS action RPGs.
As with anything MapleStory, the Cygnus Knights Edition features some incredibly vivid and creative visuals. The enemies are all a joy to look at and the character designs are of the highest quality. The same goes for the backgrounds, which feature plenty of details and even a few interactive elements such as climbable ropes and such provided one knows where to look.
Unfortunately, I find myself having a hard time being able to recommend the Cygnus Knights Edition to anyone but die-hard fans. Admittedly I play more than my fair share of iOS games, including plenty of RPGs and their various sub-genres, but the controls for this one just don't function well. The movement pad feels unresponsive, climbing up or down anything sometimes takes multiple tries and leaves players open to enemy attacks while they're stuck on a ladder, jumping is way too stiff and oftentimes the zones themselves are designed in a way that makes traversing them a total pain. Miss-timing a jump on a moving platform just to sit there and wait for the thing to float back down and try it again is excruciating. Even the first time.
I've also had issues with finding quest NPCs. It says "Excavation Site 1," I'm in "Excavation Site 1," and yet the person I have to talk to is suspiciously absent. Add to that the gradual realization that most enemies are actually the exact same enemy with a different graphical representation (i.e. they all just walk left and right. That's it. No more) and I think it paints a fairly clear picture of my reservations.
If curiosity makes this game difficult to resist, I'd strongly recommend trying out the free Thief Edition first as it has a lot of the same fundamentals. This goes double for any newcomers to all things MapleStory. This is not to say that MapleStory Cygnus Knights Edition is a bad game, it's just that I've played better. And its controls aren't so hot.