New release: Misfortune

Michael Omer of LoadinGames writes to me with word of a new browser-based, first-person RPG called Misfortune. The creators summarize the game thusly:

Misfortune is a single player online RPG, in which you find yourself lost in a strange city. The story unfolds slowly through a series of short unique missions and strange events.

Two things I like about Misfortune: the art is quite nice, and you will frequently encounter text-based vignettes as you explore. You will seldom have more than one or two choices during these events, but some of them involve ability checks with branching results, which I appreciate.

The game uses a grid-based first-person perspective, and has a definite dungeon-crawling vibe to it even though you spend all of your time traversing city streets. The game runs in real time a la Dungeon Master, but you play only a single character.

Unfortunately, there is a noticeable lack of variety to the missions themselves, as well as the environments where they take place. Dungeons are generally fairly linear and simple to navigate, and lack any significant traps or puzzles. Moreover, you cannot return to areas once you’ve cleared them. I would not be surprised to learn that these missions and their associated dungeons are randomly generated. Combat literally plays itself out for you: the only interaction required of you is to click on each enemy once to target it. To put all this another way: there is no challenge to navigation, and battles are almost entirely devoid of tactical complexity. This might be a nice, gentle introduction to RPGs for the new player, but there really isn’t enough there to keep an old hand at the genre occupied.

Misfortune is free to play, though it relies on certain tricks common to Facebook games of the Farmville variety (e.g. limiting you to a certain number of missions per day and prompting you to post things to your friends’ walls when you finish quests or gain achievements). Even moreso than the last browser-based RPG I posted about, this feels like something Zynga might release. Whether that is a good thing or not, I leave to the reader’s judgment.

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