Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

MMObility: Parallel Zombies, Glitch's new butlers, and a new space MMO


It's been a great week for mobile MMOs. That's a wonderful thing to type up, especially considering how few mobile MMOs are released when compared to standard browser- or client-based games. This week, I found myself logging in quite a bit of time with a few titles, but I still want a lot more time to explore some of these games. One you can't play yet, another you have played probably quite a bit already, and the last one promises to suck up a lot of your time in between meetings.

It's neat to see another iOS MMO. iOS doesn't seem to get as many MMOs popping up in its market as with Android, but things are slowly evening out. The imbalance right now might be due to the fact that Android phones feature larger screens and sometimes more power than the latest iOS phones, something that is simply appealing to gamers. I wonder whether we'll see a larger iPhone screen anytime soon? Probably so -- and that would mean more MMOs!

Parallel Zombies screenshot
Parallel Zombies by PerBlue, the studio behind Parallel Mafia and Parallel Kingdom, is a bit different from the previous titles released by the mobile king. Truthfully, Parallel Zombies is a lot different if just for one main, glaring mechanic: It's action-based. Your job in this new title is to run around maps that are based on real-life locations (same that we have seen in the other two titles), but instead of clicking on something and slowly watching the combat meter do its thing, players literally click a button to swing an axe or shoot a gun in real-time. I found myself chopping my way through zombie flesh in the tutorial only to later be tasked with mowing hordes of zombies down with a super-fast (and loud) machine-gun nest.

The game is currently in alpha, so I knew I wasn't getting nearly the complete game, graphically or mechanically, but it was loads more fun than the other titles offered by the company. Well, I should clarify and say that it was a different kind of fun. Parallel Kingdom is almost a strategy game with a slower pace and emphasis on large groups of players, and Parallel Mafia is a more modern take on its medieval cousin with some interesting new mechanics, but Parallel Zombies' action-based gameplay feels almost perfect on the phone. It's also cool to mix in the real-life location aspects of the game, and I can only imagine what that might mean once released. Will I be able to attack other players with bloody axes or take over their buildings with actual, real time force?

Crafting and the UI of the game is similar to what's offered in the other Parallel titles, and that's a good thing. I also enjoyed the fact that right out of the box, going into a building was more like fighting through a dungeon. I got quests, fought my way through waves of creeps, and achieved my goals. My only concern is over whether the faster pace of gameplay will be upset by the real-life map interaction. In the other titles, players are limited to move within a certain area before having to relocate in real life or by visiting other player's locations, so we'll see.

Glitch's butler screenshot
In other killer news, Glitch gave out butlers to current players. Butlers are essentially just what they sound like: customizable little... things that can help around the house in a number of ways. They can deliver and hold messages, speak to your guests, and even be taught to do several tricks and where to stand. I had mine acting like a zombie in no time. Of course, this being Glitch, a game made by Tiny Speck, I imagine we'll see all sorts of new ways to customize the little people over the next several weeks. Really, the butlers are just an extension of your house, so making them match house fashions or moods in important. As it is right now, the customization is thorough, but all Glitch fans know just how much customization is appreciated. I see a future series of cash-shop purchases to outfit the little helpers. If I could make my butler (named Roy) look just like my avatar, I would freak the heck out.

Empire of the Eclipse screenshot
Empire of the Eclipse is a new iOS MMO that sets players up in their own solar system (literally an entire system) to slowly grow and possibly gain control of neighboring systems. I have barely begun to explore the game, but I'm pretty impressed by the graphics and atmosphere of the title. Granted, it can be pretty frustrating at the very beginning to figure out how to do simple tasks, but luckily the developers have a list of mostly helpful video tutorials that explain the basics. The game is really reserved for short busts of play, but I can imagine that once a player joins the higher echelons of the game, she will need to log in a lot more to hand out orders. I'm not sure how micro-managey the game becomes, but to some, that is a dream.

I was happy to see that players are given some pre-selected character types like Trader (my chosen profession). If there is a non-combat option for an MMO, especially for a mobile title, I much prefer it. Or in the case of an MMORTS, I love to have the ability to lie low, avoid being stomped to death, and possibly make some coin. In the case of Empire of the Eclipse, I like the idea of exploration fueling a lot of my gaming sessions. It's too early to tell how important exploration will be or whether it can even be considered "gameplay," but I'm enjoying it so far. You can check it out on the app store right now for free, but there is a very inexpensive monthly fee to continue to play after the trial.

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.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr