|Dev: Spicy Horse Games|
|Pub: Spicy Horse Games|
|Release: January 31, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Yes, the original Torchlight also lacked multiplayer, in all forms, but it also had systems in place that made advancement inherently engaging. Skill trees, which presented the player with options and tough decisions, diverse weapon drops, and an extensive gallery of enemies to dispatch.
Akaneiro does not have a smooth sense of progression. Missions are isolated endeavors, during which you accrue karma and experience that is not actually yours to use until you complete your task and return to the village. At that point, if you’ve collected enough experience, you gain a level and may opt to focus yourself in Prowess, Fortitude, or Cunning. That’s really all your level brings you, other than the ability to equip level-locked equipment and purchase higher-level abilities. The abilities all cost karma, though, which you also need to progress onto new areas, and the weapons you find aren’t especially varied and magic weapons seem to be exceedingly rare.
The gameplay is still fun, consisting of the same sort of “click to attack, right click for a special ability” stuff that has long since become a genre standard, but characters are graced with three ability wheels, each of which can hold up to three abilities. They can be freely cycled with the tab key, allowing fairly ready access to nine abilities at all times without one’s hand having to wander around the keyboard. Enemy designs are also appealing, and they animate well, though distancing seems to be an issue. Characters tend to swing their melee weapons at the air in front of them and hit others feet away, which looks odd. Coupled with a slight lag on hit-reaction animations (which might be tied to the always-online nature of the game), it just feels a bit off, and lacks weight.
It isn’t that Akaneiro is terrible. It might have been released earlier than it perhaps should have been, lacking gameplay features that would have made its freemium faults less egregious. It also launched in the same window as Path of Exile’s open beta, which has proven surprisingly adept at showing just how far free-to-play can go where quality and playability are concerned. With that in mind, American McGee’s latest comes up wanting.
Date: March 4, 2013