TMQFEL is a game from Ubisoft that is currently in closed beta, and is having an Open Week during which anyone can try the game.
So what is it all about?
In this game you find yourself owning a flying castle and raiding other people’s castles. The game is divided into 2 phases: defense construction and actual raiding.
During the raiding part you enter another player’s castle in order to get to his treasure room. The task is not always easy, because during the building phase it’s possible to fill a castle with monsters, traps and give it a painfully annoying layout.
You can play the role of 3 Heroes: a mage, a ranger and a tank, all with the typical skills that you’d expect from a fantasy rpg/h&s game.
Designing your castle takes quite a bit of time: you need gold to build all the construction facilities and add rooms. Once you have a summoning portal you can place monster around your castle and fill rooms with traps. The points is to slow down the attacker long enough so that he’ll not manage to complete the raid in time, which means he won’t be able to get any loot.
A raid length depends on the layout of the castle, you get some extra time to face challenging defenses, but we’re talking about 2 or 3 minutes to complete one (maybe more in the endgame, but not necessarily). So it’s a pretty bite-sized experience.
Your castle also allows you to craft useful stuff such as health potions, armor and weapons. You need to build the proper rooms of course, so you’ll need a forge, an alchemist table etc etc.
I’ve been playing the game for a few days, and it’s nice to see how people set up their defenses. Since there’s a cap to number of threats you can put in your castle, some people would fill it with an endless swarm of small creatures, others would rely on a few heavy-hitters and others would prefer a balanced approach.
So what’s the good and bad stuff?
The castle design is very nice, it allows the player to have full control of every aspect: design of the rooms, positioning, general layout, many varieties of monsters and traps that can be leveled up. It takes a bit of time to take care of the castle but I find it enjoyable, and you can also “raid” your own castle just to check the defense.
Raiding is quick and pretty fast-paced. This part of the game is basically a very short Hack & Slash game with few skills to master. The fact that it only takes 2 or 3 minutes to finish a raid gives the opportunity to raid many castles during a small play session.
From a technical point of view the game is very simple but looks nice and colorful, animations are reasonable and the soundtrack is nice. The writing is quite enjoyable, there are a tutorial and a PR manager (not kidding) that will guide you through the game and I had fun reading all the dialogues.
While the defense setup is very well thought, the raiding itself lacks a lot of depth. A very limited amount of skills + 1 potion are ok-ish for a 2 minute raid, but if you consider that you’ll do many raids in a row and you keep smashing the same skills over and over, fighting against the same monster over and over…can get repetitive very soon.
The EPIC LOOT is not epic at all. Basically you raid castles, get crap loot and currency, and you use the currency to CRAFT your own stuff. “OH WOW I’LL RAID THE CASTLE FROM THAT DUDE 3 LEVELS ABOVE MINE, LOOT WILL BE AMAZING”, nope, you get useless crap that you sell, then you go back home and craft whatever you need. Not very exciting.
Business model: free to play with item shop. People who decide to pay don’t get any extra content (apart from the mage class for those who preorder), they only get stuff done quicker. The reason why I find this annoying is that I met quite a lot of people many levels below mine with an insane rating on their castles simply because they instant-bought everything and they have a defense that’s impossible to bypass unless you out-level it by a lot. It’s fair for paying customers to have an advantage, but being 10 levels ahead of someone and not making it past the first room is a bit silly.
So, all in all I find the game quite entertaining. I definitely agree with the first impression video made from TotalBiscuit, after trying the game for a few days I came to his same conclusions.
Ubisoft can definitely improve the game (and to their defense, they’re doing a good job with updates, patches fixes etc) , but the foundations are nice and ultimately worth a try.
Really curious to see how it will like in its final form.