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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution

Published By: NEXON America
Developed By: NEXON America
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Release Date: August 16, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Anthony Cara

September 1, 2010 - Have you ever been playing Maple Story and suddenly had to call it quits? You find yourself standing in line, riding a bus, stuck in a boring meeting, etc. You realizeÖ Iím not playing Maple Story Ė WHY?! Well, fear not, Maple Story: Thief Edition has finally arrived! Now you can feed that Maple Grind addiction wherever you are- courtesy of Nexon!

The story of this game is simple: You are just an ordinary thief named Robin, but you strive to be THE thief. To accomplish this you set out on a soul-searching and back-breaking training quest. Since this is Maple Story, that actually translates to walking around smacking slimes, pigs, and mushrooms to complete various menial tasks.

If you have ever played Maple Story, this is pretty much the same thing but in a self contained offline-only experience. Unfortunately you cannot name or customize your character. You are forced to play out a specific story with a specific class and have only 2 options for character growth. If you have never played Maple Story or any other grind-fest, the formula is simple. You step out into the bright new world and start killing the first things you see. You eventually encounter various NPCs who have jobs for you. These jobs basically involve killing a few of the local mobs and collecting their drops. Occasionally, they will send you off to a new town to speak with the quest giver there and continue the process. This may sound dull to most, but there is an undeniable appeal to this genre. There is an addictive aspect to this type of RPG that forces you to keep on playing as you inch ever closer to the next milestone- new equipment, better skills, a fancy hat and so on.

Before I go any further, I must stress- this game is available on various platforms and I reviewed it using the iPhone 3g running the latest edition of OS3. Individual performance may vary!

Maple Story: Thief Edition is a right-oriented game with a virtual D-pad and various virtual buttons. Though I never personally encountered this problem, some people complain that games that force players to tilt the screen to the right (instead of the more common left) also make them cover up the speaker with their hand. My problem was much more severe than simply blocking the gameís adorable music. My issue was blocking the adorable avatar! I am not a large man by any standards and yet I found my thumb blatantly blocking a great deal of the action as I tried to navigate my little thief through this treacherous, slime-infested forest! Usually, games that have a virtual D-pad find a way to put their controls in some non-essential area and the camera continually centers on the hero; however, in this case the game lets your hero end up right under your thumb! Potentially in an effort to help correct this, the game offers players an ďauto-moveĒ feature that allows players to press a direction once to start movement and tap once again to stop. In some cases, this actually helps, but with a lack of dependable button response this can often get you killed!

Perhaps the biggest problem this game has is its incredibly undependable virtual button system. I have missed hundreds of jumps and countless sword swings simply because the buttons wonít respond. I have walked off of ledges, and I have spent about 5 minutes bashing at my screen trying to get a shop window to scroll down! In addition to the lack of sensitivity, the shortcut keys are also a bit too close together. It can certainly ruin your day if you take a mana pot instead of a health pot and die as a result. At this point it seems appropriate to mention that death in Maple Story means a very painful penalty to both experience and money, so when you die because of faulty controls, there is an extra element of bitterness added to the mix.

Again, I must stress this could be a unique experience to my particular platform, but to ensure that my device was working correctly, I tested it with a couple of other games that rely heavily on virtual buttons and precision timing. The performance was noticeably better on those games and I never felt like I missed a jump without fully deserving it.

Aside from its technical problems, Maple Story: Thief Edition does offer up an overall pleasant experience. The graphics are the same adorable cartoonish style fans have come to love, and the bright colors, disgruntled pigs, and Cyclops tree stumps are all transferred to the small screen with loving care. The music and sound effects are also very familiar though they donít really stand out. Occasionally, the BGM will cut out and thatís when you first realize it had been playing all along!

If you are looking for a cute little grind RPG to whittle away at your free time, this is the perfect place to start. At just $4.99, this is definitely one of the nicest role playing games available from the App Store. Though the game is currently playable (after a steep learning curve), I am greatly looking forward to a release patch to address some of the technical issues that mar this otherwise enjoyable experience!


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