Lunia Chronicles is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game, or MMOG, from OGPlanet. The game is free to play and funded by microtransactions.
Welcome to the continent of Rodesia. Within this continent can be found the dominant races of Human, Elf, Dwarf and Orc. Each race have their own gods, that guide the way they live their life. A massive war broke out amongst these races, that tore the continent apart. Without the interjection of their gods, the races could have been wiped out. Fortunately though, the gods came to agreement and the conflict ended. Many years of peace have passed since the war, and the races have learnt to co-exist. This is where the game begins…
Lunia Chronicles is an arcade game with rpg undertones. The player initially chooses one of four characters to begin the game. The choices are from a Knight, a wizard, a healer or a thief. There are other characters available, but these have to be unlocked either through the shop, for cold hard cash, or by completing special quests. These quests are well hidden within the game and will prove a challenge just to find. Either Way, you only have four to choose from to begin with, and each of these characters play slightly differently, with different skills and such, to cater towards a different gaming style.
After naming your character there is a simple tutorial that the player can work through to get used to the controls. It is important for newcomers to play through this, as the controls are unusual and prior knowledge is certainly preferable.
The controls and gameplay are where the game becomes an arcade title. Combat is far more involve than one would usually expect. Using the keyboard or a control pad, the player moves through the levels. Movement uses the arrow buttons and combat essentially uses A to hit. The arcade style combat will involve running up to an enemy and slapping the A button. If the enemy falls down, then the space bar is used to deliver a substantial blow to their prone body. Of course, there is more to than this, as combo moves are available by combination button presses, not to mention the use of spells which can be assigned to numbered hot keys. But this method of combat makes the game somewhat unique in that the player actually needs a modicum of skill in order to progress, not just better equipment.
As with all role play games, a lot of emphasis comes down to the amount of equipment and items that can be collected throughout. There are indeed plenty of goodies to gather, including some rather nice sets of armour that offer substantial bonus’ to the player, should they collect the entire set. Items collected can be assigned to hotkeys to enable quick use, especially handy for potions and such. As has become popular in MMO’s in recent years, there are even pets for you to acquire later in the game.
Lunia Chronicles follows an epic storyline, involving the player characters directly. To this end, the game has a linear feel to it. Upon completion of a quest, or stage, the player returns to their camp and can then choose to head straight to the next stage, or head back to the square (squares are basically different channels that the player can log into.) There are side quests available aswell, where the player can rack up some extra experience or items. When a stage is completed, the player gets to choose from two chests, along with the usual spoils. One chest will hold a standard item, the other has a chance of holding a high level item, or something slightly less desirable.
The game allows players to work through the stages either solo or, as is often preferred, in a team. This is well integrated into the game and easy to set up. Being in a group will make the stages easier to get through and is essential on the later stages. There is also PvP available, in all combinations from 1V1 upwards, for people to practice their skills against other living players. This works especially well in Lunia due to the arcade style gameplay, with victory being more to do with skill than with level or equipment.
It is important that any MMO updates regularly in order to keep its players coming back for more. LC does a grwat job of this, with frequent updates and special events. Some of these events even offer prizes
Graphically, LC uses 3D sprites on a 2D background. The backgrounds are colourful and bright and the sprites move well and are well animated. The whole game has a distinctly anime style about it. However, in this day and age, the graphics do look dated, but not necessarily out of place. There are plenty of MMO’s out there with a similar style and look. But the gameplay is what makes this game stand out.
Whilst not to everyone’s taste, the arcade style gameplay actually works well. Using the keyboard can be a bit fiddly until the player becomes accustomed to it, but using a control pad, the game is much easier. The collision detection can be a bit haphazard, with the character easily getting stuck on objects that seem to be not in the way. I also found it a bit frustrating that the character cannot stand still whilst in combat, and with each swipe moves forward. This can result in moving past the enemy and then being hit from behind.
The lack of ability to customise your character was a bit strange, I found. One would expect an MMO to allow players to develop a unique look for their character, to distinguish from all of the other players. This, in my mind, is a flaw in the overall game.
The storyline is, whilst not perhaps the most original, a joy to play through. It fits in well with the anime stlye and would not be out of place in a standard RPG. The games linear structure can be forgiven, as without it the story would be more difficult to tell. The characters have a reasonable amount of depth to them and you can really start to relate to them as the story continues. The variety of the games adversaries is good and the NPC’s are frequent.
Lunia Chronicles is good at what it does, there is no doubt about that. But I am not convinced that this style of gameplay will appeal to the mass market. Although everything is there, it just does not feel as deep and satisfying as a good RPG. Yet the sheer amount of game available makes it too involving to be treated as an arcade game. The anime styling, whilst finished very well, does nothing to make it stand out from the huge number of other anime styled games available on the net. For these reasons, I am not sure that I can see Lunia Chronicles as anything more than a very good niche game.
Visit the Lunia Chronicles homepage to find out more and download the client.