• Free2Play,  Reviews,  Shooter

    Free2Play Spotlight: Bullet Run

    Bullet Run is a brand new first-person shooter from ACONY Games and published by Sony Online Entertainment. Honestly, I almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to review this game; the install process was distinctly nontrivial. Between installing punkbuster, patching and setting up an additional Sony Station account to be able to play it took far longer than strictly necessary. And then the launcher helpfully puts an animated bar next to the Play button that looks akin to a loading bar at a casual glance. I waited at the launcher for about half an hour before I realised patching was complete. Oh well, you live and learn, I suppose.…

  • Free2Play,  Reviews,  Shooter

    Free2Play Spotlight: MicroVolts

    MicroVolts, by NQ Games is a title I’d seen before. It took me a while to realise it, though. Almost two years ago today a trailer for a Korean game appeared and made some waves in Team Fortress 2 communities. It appeared to advertise a class-based shooter and on the face of it was an exact copy of TF2 with the mercenaries we know and love replaced with dolls and toy robots. The trailer very obviously lifted scenes straight from the TF2 launch trailer. The game was H.A.V.E. Online. MicroVolts is H.A.V.E. Online re-branded for a western audience. If you’re still reading after that, do not be dissuaded because, for all that…

  • Action/Adventure,  Free2Play,  Indie Gaming,  Reviews

    Spiral Knights: Free to P(l)ay.

    Following on from Meroka’s encouraging article regarding the stigma surrounding Free-to-Play gaming, here’s why you should be giving Spiral Knights a try! With a massive rise in Free-to-Play games it’s difficult for individuals to stand out, be long-lived and become profitable for the developers. So what makes a good Free-to-Play game? Accessibility, the chance to earn all content in the game without spending a real life penny. Community, a structure that allows players to interact, socialize and work together. Value, because if you are spending money to enhance you game play experience, it’d best be worth it. And new content, lots and lots of new content. Keeping players interested and…

  • Free2Play,  Rant

    Lamenting the Stigma of Free-to-Play

    “So yeah, I’ve been playing this new game, it’s really fun, you should try it, it’s free!” “No thanks, I’ll give it a miss.” “What? Why? It’s free, all it’ll cost you is time and bandwidth just to try it.” “Those games are always won by the kids with the richest parents.” That’s paraphrased from a few different conversations I’ve had, but the general theme is always the same; if it’s free it can’t be any good and it can’t possibly be anything other than Pay-to-Win. The counterpoint I usually hold up at this stage is the wildly popular Team Fortress 2 from Valve. Already a cult hit, the game moved…

  • Free2Play,  Indie Gaming,  Shooter

    Free2Play Spotlight: Moon Breakers

    My last Spotlight showcased Super Monday Night Combat. Uber Entertainment return this time in a publishing role, playing host to Imba Entertainment’s Moon Breakers. A company I’ve been able to find precious little information on, the game shares a number of credits with those of SMNC which, in addition to the naming similarities, leaves me wondering if they aren’t in whole or in part the same guys. That’s an aside though. Irrespective of who actually made it, it’s available now on Steam and Chrome and it’s free to all who would partake, so that means it’s up to me to poke it with the review stick. Moon Breakers is a…

  • Free2Play,  Indie Gaming,  Shooter,  Strategy

    Free2Play Spotlight: Super Monday Night Combat

    I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been back and forth on this, debating whether to review Super Monday Night Combat or not. I’m biased. Well, I feel biased. It’s not like I work for Uber Entertainment, or even that they’re paying us for advertising or sponsorship. I’m not even a prominent enough player to be one of the lucky chosen few to go to PAX as one of Uber’s exhibitors. But goddamn do I love me some Monday Night Combat. So take the following with a pinch, nay an entire shaker of salt. Monday Night Combat started out as a DOTA-style class-based shooter on the Xbox Live Arcade. Somewhat successful, it…

  • Free2Play,  Indie Gaming,  Reviews

    Free2Play Spotlight: Realm of the Mad God

    With the recent rise of the indie gaming scene, free-to-play games have matured somewhat beyond the (often Korean) pay-to-win grindfests and can now be viewed as a genuinely acceptable business model for a respectable game. In this column, I’m going to attempt to experience as many of them as possible to try to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully uncover some diamonds in the rough. First up in the spotlight: Realm of the Mad God RotMG has been around in a publicly available format for a little over a year at this point with the “official” launch on June 20th 2011 and an open beta prior to that.…