Creating a new game composed of several elements from other games is a common development choice in the Free to Play MMO world. Especially so, in the social MMO space.
Tynon, a new Fantasy MMO from developer uCool Inc. (a new development house partially made up of indie developers from Evony online) borrows elements from many of the current trending titles – chiefly, the automated combat and progression mechanics of the social MMORPG, and the build-sim mechanics of the MMORTS – to create what is potentially a new genre for social gaming.
Tynon begins with a short story element that introduces you to your first ‘playable’ character, a female archer who, during the beginning stages of the game, will be your sole defence against the goblin army attacking your nearby city. You’ll be taught to fight these goblins throughout the tutorial phase of the game – regretfully, as combat is automated, this is a simple matter of selecting a goblin and waiting until the fight is completed. A ‘speed up’ button is available for those not interesting in watching Tynon play itself for your pleasure.
Combat becomes more entertaining once you’ve acquired your second character – a Goblin Mage who is freed from the darkness consuming him once you’re finished watching your archer character pound him to pieces – as you are then able to modify your character’s position in battle, something like a more traditional fantasy RPG. This adds a minor element of complexity to combat scenarios, but falls short of uCool’s promise that players will be able to: “conduct tactical strategy decisions that impact on the upcoming combat.”
Further elements from the traditional RPG style can be found in the weapon and armour systems; weapons, and armour are awarded through successful completion of quests, and can be upgraded for a fee.
After you’ve completed the tutorial phase for the RPG elements, you’ll be directed to your city, where the build-sim will commence. There isn’t a tutorial here per se, but you will learn to buy and place buildings throughout your city by following a new chain of build-specific quests, and too, learn of the many benefits they provide, such as increased rate of income.
My initial impressions of the build sim were impacted heavily by the need to purchase currency in order to progress at a comfortable pace. This, combined with the ‘stamina’ system, create a stunted level of play for those not willing to purchase in-game items, effectively leading to a ‘pay to win’ scenario. I haven’t had the opportunity to test PvP at this time, though it’s possible that this will have a much larger impact on that arena.
Gameplay, and combat in general, does become more interesting as you increase in level and upgrade your equipment, and certain social elements, such as the global achievements, are worthy of note; however, given that the combat is automated, that the build-sim and RPG elements are lighter than air, the stamina system is in full effect and many of the social elements are forced, I can only recommend Tynon to a truly casual audience.
Kids especially should find Tynon a brilliant entry into the world of social gaming, and the sleek ‘Zynga’ styled interface makes learning to play and navigating the menus a dream, but there’s just not enough ‘meat’ to recommend it to anyone with experience in the genre(s).