It’s not every day that you come across a game with a squishy
pink raid boss, pets that poop on command , a Meiji-era castle full of evil
ninja, and a haunted mansion that fills up with quests every Halloween, but MapleStory, Nexon America’s free-to-play
side-scrolling MMORPG, offers all of that and more.
The adventure begins when you select your class. You pick from a hodgepodge of seemingly random characters, like a time-traveling samurai and a magical girl who can transform into a super hero (complete with theme song and catchphrase). Each character has a unique combat system and back story, but they’re all tied together by a common goal: to stop the Black Mage, the source of all evil in Maple World.
You’ll spend a good chunk of time perfecting your character’s looks—and we don’t just mean equipment (though there are several robust systems that allow you to fine-tune your gear). We’re talking demon wings, duck pajamas, bell bottoms, pancake hats, briefcases, headphones, and hundreds of other items that let you create an in-game persona. Admiring people’s style while chilling in town is almost a mini-game of its own!
Sooner or later, you’ll want to group up with other
players so you can experience the game’s Party Quests, like one that lets you
mount dragons to fight enemies in the air. MapleStory
has several ways of letting you do this. You can join Guilds, Alliances
(big groups of Guilds), and Families. If you’re monotonously-inclined, you can
even get married and gain access to a love-themed dungeon.
The game offers more—pets, mounts, a monster farm, medals, theme dungeons, crafting, familiars—but in the end, it’s not the systems that make MapleStory so unique... It’s the game’s perfect blend of panache and heart.
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Reviewed by: Pete Rowley