The game is set in the King Arthur world of knights and magic and even promises intense co-op action and many hours of gameplay. I did play it for many hours and enjoyed most of my time, but the game's issues pop up almost immediately.
I played a Mage, one of three (soon to be four) classes that players can pick from. She fired off massive fire spells and lightning bolts as if she were born to do it. She felt mostly powerful, even in a tight spot, and killing tons of baddies was usually not an issue. It did become an issue when an enemy was directly behind me and the massive d-pad didn't respond to my commands quickly enough. There's also the issue of "lanes" of combat, a similar issue I found in the mostly enjoyable Dungeon Fighter Online. While you can steer your character to almost any point on the screen, you do not control where your fireballs or other abilities land. You can fire only in a straight line. Sure, some abilities do some splash or AoE damage, but for the most part, you will find yourself becoming a little frustrated when you are seemingly a hair's width away from destroying an enemy. At times the abilities seem to seek out enemies, but I'd rather have some way of controlling where my abilities aim. I don't want an easier game, but I would like more control.
I gained quite a bit of loot as I played through Excalibur but barely noticed any difference when I used it. I realize that loot might be a selling point to someone who loves loot. Perhaps the lack of reliance on gear makes the game more about the action. Isn't that the point?
Of course, I know that eventually I will have my butt handed to me by some massive boss mob, but for the time I played, I found that dodging my enemies and looking out for the more clever baddies that disappear and pop up behind me is more important than anything.
There are some great moments in the Excalibur -- namely, the stages that throw you into a much more chaotic dungeon instead of the usual adventures that have you moving perpetually to the right. There are "events" to take part in as well, although every one I joined tended to favor higher levels. I tried to join random PvP matches and was thrown into a fight with a player who was much higher level than I was. The game seriously needs some tweaking in the match-making department. I hosted a 2v2 match twice but both times had to quit because no one else showed up. Again, good ideas... that are not implemented that well.
Excalibur is most fun when you are beating the snot out of tons of baddies. The side-scrolling open meeting areas remind of of Golden Age's towns, and the boss battles do evoke older classics. That's all good stuff. There's a fourth class -- the Ranger -- on the way too. Unfortunately, the combat is just about all that is offered in this game. It could use better social options and more emphasis on smoothing out multiplayer adventures. But heck, it's free, and you'll even get a nice chunk of in-game gold when you sign up. Not a bad deal!
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.