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MMObility: Google's Nexus tablet and Dark Legends' update

Beau Hindman
Beau Hindman|@Beau_Hindman|June 29, 2012 4:00 PM
Google Nexus tab picture
Some weeks, mobile news just comes right up to my doorstep and invites itself in. This was one of those weeks. The mobile MMO market is still only a fraction the size of the standard one, but thanks in large part to browser-based games and smart studios like Spacetime Studios and Gameloft, we mobile fans still have a lot to choose from. In my opinion, mobile MMO gaming will slowly rise to the popularity of the standard mobile game market, especially given new tech like the new Google Nexus 7 tablet that we're going to talk about today.

Still, mobile MMO fans have got to be diligent and need to know what to look for. They also need to be a bit flexible in their game choices, sometimes playing around with different styles of MMO like MUDs, browser-based strategy games, and games that are a bit more primitive in the graphics department. Luckily, Spacetime's Dark Legends just released a pretty game-changing patch, so I'll give you the skinny on that as well.

Google Nexus details
First, Google's new tablet, the Nexus. It's a smaller tab, but I've started to grow fond of the smaller sizes. I get time with my wife's iPad 2 and like what I find, but there are several differences that make the Nexus a neat tab and even maybe an iPad alternative. (Note that I did not say iPad "killer.") It has a nice, 1.3 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core CPU, and that includes a 12-core GPU and one gig of RAM. Those are pretty impressive processing stats, especially for a seven-inch tablet. The screen is 1280x800 pixels but doesn't come with a slot for expandable memory cards.

If you're a Google fanatic like I am, you are already using many of its services. Google Play is the company's digital marketplace and includes books, games, movies and music. If you pre-order the Nexus tablet (for its July release), it comes with $25 in Google Play credit. For handheld MMO fans, this really doesn't make much of a difference unless we can use the credits to buy the in-game cash that comes with many free-to-play mobile MMOs. Even then, that $25 will buy you several books, single-player games, or albums, but a few good movies would probably fill the 8- or 16-gig hard drive a bit too fast.

The prices start at only $199 for the 8-gig size and $249 for the 16-gig, but bear in mind that Google is a company that wants you to work in the cloud, which is something you're probably already doing from your home PC. I use Google's documents, Google Hangouts for a videocast, and Google Drive for a constantly updating stream of files, and of course, most of my work is done through Google's Chrome browser. I have even begun to use Google chat for taking voicemails and for chatting with all of my friends. Honestly, Google provides some of the very best and easiest-to-use tools out there, all for the low cost of free. The Nexus tablet looks a lot of fun just for the fact that it provides more impressive stats than other seven-inchers but ties in (seemingly) so nicely with Google Play, so it looks to be a great deal. I've yet to order mine and will wait on just a few more reviews before I do, but my next tech purchase will probably be a Nexus. I'd love to see a 4G version that would provide me with an always-on connection. If that happened, I'd be a very happy mobile gamer.

Dark Legends screenshot
Since I'm speaking of mobile MMOs, let's move on to the slightly controversial Dark Legends by Spacetime Studios, which just released a major patch that takes away the energy requirement for 3-D missions. If this doesn't make sense to you, allow me to explain. A while ago I sat in on a Google hangout with Cinco Barnes, the big cheese over at the mobile studio, to discuss many aspects of the game. While I enjoyed myself during play, the fact that an energy mechanic sometimes stood between players and the only action-based dungeons in the game didn't sit very well with many members of the community.

Luckily the developers listened and took away the energy requirement, so now players will only have to keep it in mind when performing non-combat tasks. Players can also now hire allies to do their bidding, essentially paying an NPC to go off for a certain amount of time and return later with a shiny or two. The cost is a bit of energy, and depending on the task, time. It's a cool way to have the game work for you while you're away; it's perhaps the last task you do right before you log off. The timer ticks down, and you come back the next day to collect your goods.

The developers have also added a daily login bonus, new items in the store, and a series of goals that entice players to learn some of the basics of the game. All in all, it's a pretty robust series of changes to the game, but if the studio's other titles are any indication, there will be a lot more changes to come in the future. The action sequences in the game really are where it shines, and playing on a phone feels much more natural than playing through the browser. However, those of us who can't play long while holding a phone do like to have that browser option. In fact, if you play in the browser but are having issues with the game fitting to your screen size, here is a helpful article that will give you a fix. I found it easy to make my game run in a widescreen mode, a much better experience especially for those used to running it on a mobile device.

Hopefully, within a few weeks, we will be reading more reviews about the new Nexus 7 tablet. Until then, I'll be killing zombies and sucking the blood out of victims in Dark Legends.

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.
MMObility: Google's Nexus tablet and Dark Legends' update