The Game Hopper Leaps Into the Arabian Nights
In this new recurring column at MMORPG.com, our goal is to take turns giving you brief glimpses at some of the games which just don’t get enough coverage for any number of reasons. Look at our Game List. Many aren’t MMORPGs, but almost all are MMOs of one form or another. Then count the number of reviews we have for them. We’re addressing this, as quickly and as efficiently as we can, but the simple truth is that a lot of games fly under the radar. So, with The Game Hopper, we plan on bringing you a new game every week that you might not know much about. We’ll do some brief impressions and an overview on the game and then let you guys chime in with your own thoughts.
This week, Game Hopper visits Twisted Tribes’ Nadirim, a browser-based MMO that uses the folklore of the Arabian Nights as its basis.
Nadirim in many ways evokes the bygone era of single player RPGs like Icewind Dale in that it utilizes turn-based combat and 2D visuals. Graphically it reminds me of the original Diablo with pretty decent environments and character models. Further capitalizing on the Diablo nostalgia, Nadirim features an isometric viewpoint for players.
Precisely what is Nadirim beyond the immediate visual look on logging into the game? From the Nadirim website:
The game takes the player into the world of the Arabian Nights, a world that is fictional in geographical and historical terms but incorporates the best known elements of Arabian fables and mythology like djinns, adventurous thieves, mysterious princesses, potions, alchemy, and — of course — heroes and villains.
The sun that never set above Anwar's empire shines over one single enormous world. When you travel from one great city to the next you will never encounter a loading screen, just vast landscapes filled with beasts, items to gather and lonely wanderers who will either offer a good quest or a good fight.
Players will eventually be able to choose from one of five character classes including Warrior, Sage, Nomad, Rogue or Caravan Master. Currently the game is in its open beta phase of development, however, so the character class choices are limited to Warrior, Sage and Rogue. These three classes are fairly standard as compared to other MMOs.
Players will face off against all sorts of bad guys straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights as well as critters from the real world Middle East. Included in the bestiary are animals such as hyenas, spiders, lions, cobras, rats and something called a bayawak, a type of monitor lizard. Additionally, human enemies present themselves in the form of assassins, gladiators, falconers and more. Most interesting, however, are the mythological creatures players will encounter: Djinns, efrits, ghouls, manticores, marids and succubi.
Monsters are plentiful in the starter area where I began my game time in Nadirim. Luckily, at least at this early stage of the game, monsters do not simply attack. Players initiate combat and are then taken to a new ‘instance’ to face off in turn-based combat. The screen is very reminiscent of a turn-based strategy board set up with hexagonal ‘stepping stones’ in which to move. The player attacks, moves and the turn ends. Monster moves, attacks, turn ends. You get the picture. Combat is not very exciting either since players and enemies are paper dolls. They have no attack animations at all, simply floating numbers showing attack damage, blocks, etc. I have to admit that this was fairly disappointing. In fairness, however, this style of combat does fit the motion comic thing that Twisted Tribe utilizes for cut scenes.
The story of Nadirim is told through what Twisted Tribe calls “motion comics”. At various points on a player’s journey through the main quest line, cut scenes are shown using this technique and help advance the overarching storyline. It works very well, particularly given the fact that Nadirim uses 2D animation for gameplay.
I actually was quite surprised at how much fun I had and how addictive Nadirim truly can be. To be sure, there isn’t the eye candy galore found in most MMOs, but there is really something to like about Nadirim despite that fact. Add to this the that Nadirim is easy to get into and is perfect when one has a few minutes to spare and you might just find yourself looking at the clock and wondering where the last two hours went. Not only can you jump into the game in a heartbeat, but action is easily found and you might come away having learned something new from the engaging Arabian mythology that the game prominently features.
So what are you waiting for, sadiqi? Go give Nadirim a try!