For now, we wanted to focus on finding out more about the two GameSamba free-to-play titles that players will be able to check out soon: Remnant Knights and Cocolani Island. So if you like the idea of adorable anime girls with obnoxiously enormous guns or tiki-themed minigame madness, join us behind the break for videos and more -- and don't forget the galleries!
First, GameSamba was very clear that while Remnant Knights is being converted from an Eastern game, the team is working hard to customize the game for the West. The overarching story for the world was penned by Jim Krueger, whom you might recognize from his work on myriad well-known comic titles. The other thing that sets this version apart from the Eastern localization is the all-new quests that were created purely for Western players who don't like being told to go to one zone and grind it until X level. The word is that, aside from some basic graphics and maps, this localization and the original game, Mara Mara, are completely different.
According to the lore, our world was long ago impacted by a series of asteroids that was initially dismissed as a freak accident. What the denizens of this land failed to realize is that the asteroids were caused by a break between our dimension and others, a rift that had formed above the Earth. Those asteroids were actually an invasion force known as the Skalari, who weren't detected until it was entirely too late. One man eventually figured out the way to manipulate the portal, and rather than saving mankind, he set about to conquer it by using the portal (and anyone who passed through it) for his own ends. Eventually he was defeated and sent to the Skalari realm before the portal was sealed -- although he took a large chunk of the planet with him.
Over the centuries, some of the planet was rebuilt, renamed Kasmari, and led by two schools -- the Dragon school and Owl school, who had their own polite disagreements on how things should be done. Now, with the portal opening again and the return of the Skalari, the schools must unite to save their world once more.
Aside from this new overarching story (custom-written for Western players) that pits players of the Dragon and Owl schools against the Skalari, Remnant Knights features other perks and systems to keep players engaged. There are six classes players can pick: Elementalist, Priest, Striker, Crasher, Dual-Gunner, and Heavy Launcher (the latter two seen below in the embedded video). Crafting is available in the game, but only for enchantment crystals and cloaks at the moment. Players asked for housing, so players can visit each other in customizable dorm rooms. Guilds are present; since there's a heavy school theme going, guilds are referred to as "clubs" instead. Mounts are varied, with offerings from animals to more wild things like a jet-powered surfoard. Pets are available as well.
Also, as with any two-party grouping, there are school rivalries and competitions. In single-player and team competitions, territory control maps, and even huge free-for-all deathmatches, players can definitely plan to get their PvP on. We were assured that while this is a free-to-play title, there will be no gear or weaponry in the cash shop that could cause an imbalance in PvP. Furthermore, once you've conquered, gained your achievement, and nabbed a nice bit of loot, you can cross-post your achievements to Facebook as well.
The second game that GameSamba is working on currently is Cocolani Island, which could best be described as a casual-frendly hybrid MMO/virtual world somewhat similar to Free Realms. While Cocolani Island is also free-to-play, that's the point at which the comparisons stop with its beta sibling, Remnant Knights. Players wind up stranded by a shipwreck on a series of brightly colored islands where the natives are heavy on the tiki culture. What do you do then? Live like a native by creating your own kooky tiki-headed character, exploring the world trying to uncover the Island's secrets, and playing several different clicky minigames.
You see, Cocolani Island is entirely Flash-based and launches from a browser. There are no prohibitive downloads, which means it can be just as quick log-in-and-out clicky fun as you'd like. Since the game is mainly focused on minigames and adventure, there's no leveling system and no need to worry about grinding. Cocolani Island currently has 16-20 different minigames available; however, the developers have hundreds more ready to import as beta testing progresses. Players will additionally have the ability to earn stuff to decorate their homes and generally spice up their tiki existence as they play, as you can see in the embedded video below.
We did manage to find out that GameSamba has an MMORTS and a sports title in the works, although that's all the company is willing to divulge at the moment, citing licensing discussions.
Finally, the GameSamba rep we spoke to let us know that, as its way of celebrating GDC 2011, the company has decided to open up the beta registration for both Remnant Knights and Cocolani Island so that anyone who is interested can pop in and check the games out. Remnant Knights is currently open up to only level 30; the intent is to offer progression up to level 80 by launch sometime later this year.
Meanwhile, Cocolani Island is largely in testing so the devs can add more minigames and goodies for players to get as well as iron out any lurking localization issues. As such, if you're interested in checking out either game, you'll want to drop by the site sooner rather than later to get signed up. GameSamba let us know that the sign-ups will close sometime next week, and players will have to go back to waiting to be approved or hunting for beta key giveaways at that time.