WonderKing is at the very basic level, a 2-D side scrolling game. It's fun, compelling and challenging, with its many vertical platform levels that require jumping and double-jumps to reach. That was the first thing I noted when following the Dev in game for the media tour, lots and lots of jumping, in town and in the world. For a game currently in closed beta and a smallish game world, it made good use of vertical space.
Prior to the tour, I looked the game up and found many "MapleStory" comparisons. True enough, there are many similarities to that grand-daddy of side-scrolling MMOs. WonderKing has to its advantage newer technology and hence, sharper graphics - although it too has the very cute anime type sprites for characters, animals and evil blob monsters.
The story - and there is one here - is that this is a world overcome by evil and it is waiting for the one hero to bring salvation. The Wonder King, the hero in waiting to seize the throne in the cause for good and destroy the evil that has overtaken the land.
It was short notice on the Media Tour so I loaded up WonderKing on my poor little work laptop which has an integrated graphics card and would have squalled if it had a voice. Except that it didn't squall too much. One advantage WonderKing has over many of its competitors is a Windowed setting that you can select right off the bat before you start the game. My laptop stopped refusing to run the game once I had that turned on and we went right in.
Classes and Career Development
WonderKing has the usual generic fantasy classes, the Swordsman - your warrior type, the Mage - your wizard archetype, Scout - which is basically a ranger, and Thief - your rogue. They branch at level 30 into two different paths and some classes are more interesting than others in that equipment requirements are not based on stats but on class, sex and level. This means that you can be super-creative with assigning points to the usual stats of strength, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence, etc. You can create that tank-mage if you like (not terribly effective) or go tank-rogue with your Thief. The Thief class itself can be played two ways: as a ranged attack based character using ninja stars or melee character duel wielding daggers. At level 30, you choose between Ninja and Rogue. The Mage can be DPS or Support, and at level 30 choose to be Wizard or Priest. The Scout is fairly straight forward as a ranged class, choosing between archery and guns, and the Swordsman can go straight Warrior or Knight. All classes gain a new title at level 80, the pinnacle of the career path chosen.
There's more to your typical kill stuff, sell stuff, level up in WonderKing. There's a Trade and Crafting system. Crafting uses minerals that have to be mined and parts that drop off monsters, and crafted weapons have higher stats than regular ones, except those that drop off bosses. Learning to craft is done through a quest and recipes gained from the same NPC. The crafting interface informs you of the ingredients you need and a click of a button creates the weapon.
A cooking system is also in game that can make potions with effects and boosts. Trading is done through a "snack stall," which you can man or your items can be listed through an NPC in the Auction House; for a cost of course. There are also monster cards that you can collect which transform you into a monster for a period of time. Some cards have only cosmetic value but others can impart stat boosts and will be useful in combat. A mount system is in game and to use mounts which provide a speed boost and a "kewl" factor, it must be fed with mount fuel. Transport is mainly your own two feet or your mount, but a teleportation system is also available through an NPC - for a cost, to get to maps that are farther out.
PvP consists of duels on various maps at this time, as well as Guild Wars for larger battles but Castle Battles are also planned for even larger battles and player interaction. Guilds will battle for dominance and will win the castle for a period of time, to enter its dungeons and win the items it contains. Player housing is also planned that players can decorate and use as storage. At this time, storage is in in-game banks.
Quests are straight forward FedEx as well as kill quests, and although I had read of a race against NPCs, I did not find it. With platforming being a large component in this game there are also jump quests to be had, where timing is of the essence. Many quests are also multi-part, that is to say, you complete one part and it opens up the next. To advance to your next class, you will have to find your class NPC to get your advancement quest.
Game Play & Combat
The user interface is simple. Drag and drop items to equip, drag icons to tool bars to hotkey, and like many side-scrollers, movement and combat is pure key-board. We started in the town of Francis and I played around the areas just outside, picking up the commands quickly and with coaching, learned to fire off combos quickly, which yielded the high DPS.
It's Cash Shop. Did you expect otherwise? As with most games that monetize through item malls, certain game features require you to spend real cash, and in order to keep the game balanced, only cosmetic items and what are termed "convenience items" are sold. That is to say, players won't find an uber sword of giant slaying or indestructible loincloth of doom in the cash shop. Instead, mount fuel, some monster cards, and cosmetic character customization such as hair styles and color must be bought with real cash. Other consumable items such as health and mana potions, +3% gold drop potions and +5%XP potions and perhaps teleportation scrolls will also be purchasable in the item mall.
WonderKing is still in closed beta at this time, but it looks promising. I liked MapleStory when I played it and I admit I'm a sucker for side-scrollers even if I suck at platforming, and in WonderKing, there's lots of platforming. La Tale was fun, as was Windslayer and Dragonica Online a slightly different critter with some back and foreground movement. It's been a while since I've played a pure side-scroller and I have this itch to conquer those platforms. Well, at least for a while.