I am surprised at how much I have enjoyed Rise of Mythos, a free-to-play browser game published by GameFuse. It's not as though my years of exposure to games from all sorts of genres and publishing houses has dulled my senses against browser-based games; it's that all of those years and all of that exposure has given me the ability to sense when a game will suck. Generally, I am correct. But this time, I thought Rise of Mythos would be a much simpler game, one of those click-once-to-do-everything types that have no depth to them. It turns out my senses were wrong in this case!
Rise of Mythos is roughly animated, sure, and the fact that it exists within a browser is enough to give many gamers a reason to run, at least those gamers convinced that the way a game is delivered is some guarantee of its quality. I found its easy access, interesting and surprisingly in-depth gameplay, and tons of activities to be a powerful mixture.
Call me gleefully wrong about this one.
You'll start off in Rise of Mythos as you do in a lot of different games. You can click through the tutorial without once reading any part of the text and find yourself a few levels higher and loaded with enough items to get you started. Combat is based around a deck of cards that represent individual mobs in your army. Each card has different abilities and uses, much like those you'd find in a collectible card game deck, but the game has the added element of the gameplay space. So one character might have a ranged attack or healing ability that truly depends on where he or she is on the game board.
You will be on one side of the board; the enemy will be on the other. As you each send out waves of enemies (pulled randomly from your deck) and mobs like wall creatures show up, the game becomes more like a tower defense title than anything. Some mobs have abilities that allow them to leap over defenses or to cast far-ranging magic spells, so just throwing your cards into a deck and hitting the auto-play button doesn't work all the time. I've seen dozens of games that use an auto-walk, auto-loot, or auto-combat feature, and it doesn't bother me unless it literally allows me to push one button to play the game. Auto features are great for people who enjoy watching battles instead of participating in them or for players who have less mobility or need the extra help to physically play a game, but auto features must be carefully done.
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I tested the auto-combat in this game and found it to be handy but not too powerful. I repeatedly used it during one or two important battles, but it just couldn't beat my enemy. Once I took over, I was able to win, even though it was by the skin of my teeth. I was glad to see that battles that once seemed impossible were doable after I tweaked my deck with one or two cards.
There is a city-building element to the game, but it seems mostly there to accent the combat. You can use a blacksmith to upgrade equipment, a seaport to send your army on missions while you are away from the game, an alchemist to blend two cards into a more powerful single card, and other standard buildings that allow you to fight your way to more levels and better equipment.
You would think that joining a guild would make a difference in gameplay, but I saw no difference at all. In many of these freebie browser-based games, you'll find a large number of players, probably younger ones, who value the numbers of friends on their friends list more than anything. I have a feeling I was randomly invited to the guild just as I am constantly and randomly invited to players' friends lists. Still, I like the fact that almost every MMO I play these days has these social options, even if they are often used for often bogus reasons.
The card deck is the name of the game in Rise of Mythos; it's an in-depth system that works even outside of solo play. Playing with a group is easy and makes sense. You and three other players line up on one side and fight your way through a dungeon, each player owning a "lane" of combat. I enjoyed group play a lot because it allows players to see new strategies and cards and to gain some cool experience and loot. At the end of the dungeons I went to was a giant boss or two, much like you would find in a standard client dungeon. PvP worked the same way, but with the enemy on the other side being controlled by a player. The combat system works perfectly in group play. Normally in a game like Rise of Mythos I would expect to solo my way through a week without needing other players. This week I played in groups a lot!
If you're into collectible card games, tower defense, and a bit of RTS, then check out Rise of Mythos. It's a casual game for sure, but you could easily plug away many hours in it. I didn't find the cash shop to be as rude as I would expect and in fact didn't find the need to use it this week at all, even though I normally like to try to put in a few bucks to pay for my time in the game.
Next week I am checking out World of Battles. The game has been around for a while, but I can't recall taking a deeper look at it. Better late than never, right? You can watch me livestream the game on Monday, the 14th of October, at 9:00 p.m. EDT, right here on our livestream channel!
Each week on Rise and Shiny, Beau chooses a different free-to-play, indie, or browser-based game and jumps in head-first. It might be amazing or it might be a dud, but either way, he'll deliver his new-player impressions to you. Drop him an email, comment, or tweet!