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Strategic Sloth

Lisa Jonte Posted:
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Tynon was originally released just one year ago, and has since been completely overhauled into a nearly unrecognizable version of that former self. In that transformation from a cartoony looking fight-n-build sim to a semi-serious looking RPG-oid, it has managed to lose everything that might have once made it charming or fun.  

Aesthetics 5/10

The overall look isn’t bad, with that ¾ view, infinity engine look. Unfortunately, even at full screen, the main town setting is just so full of competing imagery, color and animation that it’s difficult to distinguish one thing from anything else, and it’s hard to know where to look.  There are vendors in the game, (armor, etc.) but it’s hard enough to pick them out from the popping colors of the background, and impossible to see them when buried under umpteen layers of players on a full server.

When you do get solo images, the artwork itself is relatively well executed, but boy-howdy have they larded on the clichés! When creating a character your choices run the gamut from Boobies McScantyClothes to Burly von Beefstick; lingerie, loincloths, full stop. At first, I thought there was no music or sound effects of any kind, but it turns out that the sound setting is off by default. The music isn’t bad, but it is rather limited and on a fairly short loop. But for a browser game, it has more variety than I would normally expect.

Gameplay 3/10

Holy crap, autoplay! Like, right out of character creation, I couldn’t even take a screen cap. I had no control whatsoever and found myself frantically looking for the off switch. I am not kidding here, I clicked the done button on character creation and was yanked immediately into an area packed with so many PCs that I couldn’t make out the text flashing across the screen, then my character (Expendable Bob) was running, then talking to someone, then in a battle over which I had no control. By the end of the first 15-20 seconds, I’d been through three screens, several pop-ups, a whole lot of text and had gained a level, all without my doing anything.

Things finally stopped moving with at the formation window, wherein I was supposed to set the marching orders for the new soldier I was supposed to choose, (but didn’t, because the game chose for me.) As soon as I clicked done, we were off and running again, straight into a battle that I won, again without doing anything, (woopsie! I gained a level) then to another spot where I was told to upgrade my sword before the next battle.

I was level 6 before the first five minutes were up, and it only took that long because I was finally able to stop for a minute to grab some screencaps. Player characters are not only dragged through auto-battle, but they are auto-healed after every fight.

Eventually, you can opt out of auto-pathing and you can run around on your own. There are intermediary maps where you can either kill everything, or run right past the monsters, as they are only aggro in quest-specific areas. The biggest irony of the whole thing is that auto-questing allowed me to ignore the game completely and even gain a level while writing parts of this review. It didn’t make the game any better, (it actually renders the player irrelevant) but darned if it wasn’t convenient.

Joined a guild. Donated to guild. Claimed benefits from guild and was shunted straight from level 17 to level 21? What the hell? I tried PVP as well, and that seems somewhat random, without much filtering of characters by strength or level. Where’s the fun in winning a fight against a completely underpowered opponent?

And oh, my stars and garters does this game hand out the rewards. Sign in? There’s a reward for that! Stay online? Another reward! Sit in a chair? Reward! Convert oxygen to carbon dioxide? Reward! As I write this, Expendable Bob is literally gaining XP by standing in a corner.

Innovation 2/10

Quoting the game’s publisher,

“Vivid battle scenes keep the player’s focus on strategy, freeing them from inputting traditional commands during the fight.”

To which I say, What strategy? Pimping out your weapons and armor certainly isn’t strategy. And considering the amount of rewards they shove your way, it isn’t even an effort. If ‘staring at the screen as the game is played for you’ is what they mean by strategy, then mission accomplished. Wow, a game that requires little more than a player’s presence (and sometimes not even that) to proceed. That’s some innovation alright.  

Polish 4/10

There are some issues with localization, specifically in how the text reads. Some idioms aren’t quite right and some of the sentence structure is... weird. It’s not what I’d call a deal breaker, but it certainly can be distracting. Not as distracting as the visual cacophony on screen, but still.

One distracting thing I noticed was that you can run to the highest point on the town map, and at some point the camera stops moving with you. There isn’t enough of the map to give you a view of the sky or skyline beyond a certain point. You’ll still see your character, but only his/her feet. The rest will cut off where the map does. It give the feeling of being unfinished.

Longevity 4/10

Believe it or not, I can actually see a lot of potential here, but not if some of the more fundamental issues aren’t addressed. For Pete’s sake, stop doling out the rewards and XP like candy. And while you’re at it, bring back some of the features from the previous incarnation of the game. Let people invest more of themselves into their progress than a few mouse clicks. Otherwise, I don’t see it lasting.

Social 4/10

The usual chat system is in place, with several channels (All, Realm, Guild and Private.) Tynon is also one of those browser games to grant players the questionable bonus of emoticons. Beyond that I felt no interest in investigating.

Value 5/10

It’s free to play and you get what you pay for. The cash shop only sells gems, which are used to purchase bonuses in-game. There is no subscription to be had, so VIP standing (which opens other in-game opportunities) is determined by buying a set number of gems.

In Conclusion...

While I never played the original version of Tynon, I have difficulty understanding the need for such a complete reinvention. If you’re going to create a game that is so different from the original, why not just make a whole new game? And if this is actually an improvement? Yikes. In fact, it’s not much of a game at all.

  • Almost completely free
  • Hard on the eyes
  • No challenge
  • No personal investment


Lisa Jonte

Lisa Jonte / Writer, editor, artist, parent. Currently reviewing games and writing the column, Fair Game at MMORPG.com. One time (print and web) comics creator, and former editor of the webcomic enclave GirlAMatic.com; now a secretive and hermit-like prose writer, (and not so secretive nor hermit-like blogger.)