Wednesday 25 March 2009

Stone Free

So m’colleague’s Chronicles of Spellborn impressions drew a bit of interest, and not wanting to be left out I thought I’d go and take a look to offer my own devastating insights, like “it’s got hats in it!” Not having the speediest connection, though, the 3Gb download is still crunking away in the background, so initial thoughts: the downloader has a bar on it that goes up, which is good. I like bars that go up.

While waiting for the download I went for a bit of a potter around the publisher’s website,, which offers a range of Free To Play MMOGs. Acclaim, and the logo on their website, rang a bell from a way back alongside names like Ocean and Midway, but from a bit of Googling it turns out that Acclaim went bust, and the name was bought by this Acclaim (usual it’s-only-Wikipedia caveats apply, though the articles seemed fairly plausible at the time and didn’t claim “Acclaim Games are best known for appearing as Norm in the 1997 Twix adverts”). I don’t think I’m quite in the target market for most of their offerings, but anyone who’s followed my other posts can probably spot one game that piqued my interest…

Yes, Ponystars! The game I’ve been waiting for! Within no time, I had a pink-hued offspring of a Fire Pony and a Love Pony ready to… erm… hang on, someone must’ve hacked my account, that was never me, I’ve never even heard of this Ponystars of which you speak you can’t prove a thing.

No, having something of a penchant for fake plastic moshing, Rock Free looked worth a shot. Currently in beta, it’s a Flash-based Massively Multiplayer Guitar Hero-esque Press-Keys-As-Circles-Move-Down-A-Fretboard-Em-Up. The song list should be familiar for players of the first few Guitar Hero games, plenty of classic rock in there, songs being streamed as you go (a bit of a problem if you’re downloading 3Gb of Spellborn at the same time in the background). The default keys of 1-5 for the frets and cursor keys to strum are configurable, which gives you the same options as Frets on Fire: play normally on the keyboard (boring!), remap the frets to F1-F5 and hold your keyboard like a plastic guitar peripheral (much better, though tricky with a G15), or sort out a genuine fake plastic guitar to give key inputs; I dug out the old bluetooth dongle and got my Wii guitar hooked up to it via GlovePIE.

If you haven’t got an actual Guitar Hero/Rock Band game, or have a desperate desire to compete against more than one other player simultaneously, it might be fun, but naturally enough a free Flash based game can’t really compete with full plastic instrument-y fun, so having picked up the Wii guitar I wandered off to play the Hendrix DLC that’s just come out in Guitar Hero World Tour instead while the download ticks away. 1Gb left now…

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