Lime Odyssey is an Anime-themed free-to-play MMO brought to us from publisher Aeria Games. It features three unique races and... oh, forget it. You already know this probably. The game has a lot of buzz behind it, and Aeria is known to put out some great titles. I knew that when I was invited to check out the alpha for a first impression of Lime Odyssey, I would find a game that was high-quality and beautiful and ran well.
Sure enough, I did find that game. There's something magical about so many Korean titles. Many of them sport some of the most refreshing and original artwork and music, and the engines that many of those titles use is perfectly fit for almost any machine. Yes, there are the three races to choose from, the great Anime graphics, the neat crafting system, and combat systems and much more. My only regret is that I was able to spend only a few days in the game.
Normally I like to spend about five days, around 10 hours, in an MMO before writing up my first impressions. We do not do formal reviews on Massively; we do not assign scores or stars. An MMO is a unique experience that can take years to fully explore, so instead we describe what we find in a first impressions piece or we dedicate a column to a single title for more in-depth coverage.
Normally, I stream my very first steps into a game on Mondays, play all week for a few hours a day, and then write it up for Sunday publication. With Lime Odyssey, though, the developers decided to shut down access to the game on Monday night, way too early for me to get a grip on the game. Luckily, I was so curious that I made a character days earlier and got a few hours in, but there are still many unanswered questions.
Graphically, the game is wonderful. Yet again, a foreign, Anime-inspired title comes over here and shows how to make a game beautiful and original. As I said during the stream, it reminds me of a junior Allods Online. There are quite a few graphical bells and whistles, but they are seamlessly blended into the game so nicely that minimal adjusting is required. The three races -- Humans, Turga and Muris -- are each unique and fun to customize. I played a Muris at first simply because I always prefer to play a smaller race if possible. I'm only 5'6" in real life, so I want my character to be a reflection of me. The game boasts a nice view distance and landscapes that morph as you walk. You'll look up and will find yourself in a purple forest when just moments before you were surrounded by grasslands.
From the beginning I could tell that the gameplay was going to be a lot of kill-ten-rats-styled quests. This is something I have grown used to, especially from games coming from Korea. It's a cultural thing over there; players often play in groups or in cafes where grinding is seen as a more social activity. It makes sense; I used to hang out with my buddies in a room while grinding through Diablo. We could have been playing Crossword Puzzle Online and our company would have still made it fun. I like to call the newer games "soft grinds" because they seem to have figured out that Western audiences do not enjoy grinding. Well, I should say that they do not enjoy grinding in any game that comes from Korea or China. If it's a World of Warcraft grind or a grind through Lord of the Rings Online, some players accept it just fine.
"Lime Odyssey moved fast but still gave me a bit of story and conflict to deal with. It's definitely a linear experience, but the emphasis on crafting made it enjoyable."
Still, it's important to note that the new "grindy foreign free-to-play game" stereotype is dying fast. Allods handed out a hellish grind in its gameplay, but many of the Korean games just want you to get in, make a cool-looking character, and have fun leveling. Lime Odyssey moved fast but still gave me a bit of story and conflict to deal with. It's definitely a linear experience, but the emphasis on crafting made it enjoyable.
While I was streaming, I was joined in-game by a representative from Aeria, who told me that the crafting can be done outside of pursuing combat, sort of like an official job. You can just work on crafting levels and forget combat altogether, although it didn't sound advisable. I wish more games would make dedicated crafting classes or jobs. Not only would it provide the stuff to make a good player market, but it would give players alternatives to combat. A lot of the time I do not want to kill mobs at all and would rather sit back and work on a crafting skill or trade. Those sort of combat alternatives make a game seem more immersive.
I wish I could tell you more about the game; I really do. The alpha's untimely end was a surprise both to me and to Aeria's PR. It happens, though, and if you watch the video, you will get a much better idea about the game anyway. A good playthrough video is worth a million words.
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook!