MapleStory Live on iPhone: So close and yet so far from perfection
If there's one thing that can be said for certain about MMOs, it's that they're complex games, with plenty of hotkeys, menus and other items to keep track of. Few mobile MMOs have been able to accurately capture the feeling of playing a true PC MMO, but Nexon hopes to get fans hooked all over again with MapleStory Live on iPhone.
While MapleStory as a franchise is already available in lesser forms on iOS, MapleStory Live looks to capture the true gameplay of MapleStory, as though you had just sat down to your keyboard and monitor for a marathon session. Virtual buttons and joysticks allow for movement, as you'll tap on one button to jump and another to attack. Unfortunately, this control layout is cramped, making it easy to accidentally tap on the wrong command, sending you off of a platform, or worse, into an enemy that's just waiting to tear you apart.
For existing MapleStory players, it's unfortunate that we aren't allowed to pull in our characters, but must choose between two established templates for the entire experience (and only one is free). You'll travel around hub locations and can fight baddies in the wilds as you would expect, with quests being tracked at the top of the screen and your real-time actions (earning XP, collecting items from fallen prey, etc.) showing up on the left. Add this to your character's status bars and hotkeys to save the game or access your stats page and you have an incredibly cluttered screen right from the beginning.
There are plenty of menus to navigate and some are less intuitive than others, due to the simple fact that so much information is being displayed on such a tiny screen, when compared to the real MapleStory experience. If you're a diehard MapleStory fan, that can accept the fact that you'll need to start over from scratch to play MapleStory Live, by all means try out the free version of the game (which is lacking even more menus and features that are available if you choose to pay for an upgrade). If, however, you're a more casual mobile gamer, there's simply too much clutter here to make the game recommendable.
Click here to download MapleStory Live on iTunes --->
Have you tried MapleStory Live? How do you think this mobile version of the game compares to the "real thing?" Sound off in the comments!