Upon first firing up Fasaria World Online, you might find yourself wondering what year it is.
After all, it’s been a long time since browser-based games made a splash in any significant way. The genre has all but dried up in recent years, especially since the advent of the smartphone.
This being the case, there’s a wonderful nostalgia to Fasaria World Online for players of a certain generation, who were familiar with the browser MMORPGS of days gone by. The game, a sci-fi RPG that sets you the task of collecting resources across the galaxy, will feel very familiar to anyone who’s sunk time into resource management and social browser titles in the past.
To players who prefer mobile games, though, this title will also feel familiar. As much as Fasaria World Online draws on its roots as a browser-based game, it brings forward a lot of the innovations in mobile gaming that have made the genre so successful – the line between the two genres has been blurring for quite some time, and now it’s difficult to see where the browser-based concepts end and mobile games begin.
Unlike many of its browser-based forebears, thanks to the joys of smartphones, Fasaria World Online can be played conveniently on the go – it’ll work in any mobile browser, giving players plenty of flexibility as to how and when they play the game. Events and gameplay are streamlined with this in mind, and it’s possible to dip in for a few seconds while waiting for a bus or standing in line at the post office to reshuffle your inventory or make the most of your resource collection.
This is really appreciated, as the game brings with it that most hated of browser experiences: waiting times. Once you’ve started building a base, you’ll have to wait for its completion. If you’ve set about farming a particular resource, you’ll have to find something else to keep you busy.
In addition to the resources that you can gather naturally, there is also an option to pay real cash for key items; at times this strays a little too far into Pay-to-Win territory, especially considering that there’s a charge for the game itself at the offset, which some players may resent having to pay out twice in order to fully enjoy Fasaria World Online.
This isn’t the worst thing about the game, though: right now, the biggest problem facing Fasaria World Online is its tiny player base.
As the game is still in Early Access, it’s understandable that the community surrounding Fasaria World Online is going to be a bit on the small side. After almost a year of Early Access, though, the game has struggled to really grab the attention of potential players, and the experience suffers notably as a result.
A lot of the game revolves around engaging with the interstellar community, which is frustratingly sparse at present. Without anyone to interact with, the experience often feels very lacking.
Part of this is likely to be because the game, despite featuring Pay-to-Win elements, is not actually Free-to-Play. The nominal $10 fee for Early Access isn’t a huge burden, but it’s enough to keep players from embracing the game in any significant numbers – after all, there are plenty of other similar games available that don’t cost anything to play at all.
It seems that the game’s publisher, U Game Me, is aware of the potential damage that this price tag is doing to the long term success of the game and its ability to build a dedicated fanbase. There’s now an option to try the game out for free, and it’s likely that this will help the game to gain popularity among those that enjoy browser or mobile games.
It’s possible that over time the game will build a larger fanbase, but for the moment Fasaria World Online is caught in an unhealthy cycle that’s difficult to break free from – players are passing on the game because of its small player base, which won’t be fixed until more people play the game.
Visually, there’s not much to write home about here. It’s possible that the game’s art assets will get an overhaul at some point over the course of development, but as things stand now, there isn’t much to make Fasaria World Online feel any different to any other game of the same ilk. The game’s UI is passable, but again, not anything to write home about: it fulfils its function and isn’t noticeably infuriating, which is probably as much as you can hope for from a browser game that has to adapt to a variety of screen sizes and input methods.
What’s more, the game’s trailer makes the egregious mistake of featuring the Papyrus font, which among graphic designers is almost as fatal an error as using Comic Sans.
Ultimately, though, graphics can be overlooked in favor of decent core gameplay. There is a good game within Fasaria World Online, and one which will take plenty of your time if you’re willing to let it. Little quibbles like forgettable visuals and Pay-to-Win mechanics can be overlooked, as the general experience is fun for players who enjoy this kind of gameplay.
The major challenge is the chronic lack of fellow players – this is something that has an unfortunate effect on gameplay and the experience of collecting and trading resources in the game.
If U Game Me’s new free trial draws in a big enough audience of open-minded players, this problem might finally be solved. In the meantime, though, this isn’t probably going to be a fulfilling enough experience for many gamers.
If browser-based science fiction resource management is your thing, definitely keep an eye on Fasaria World Online – check out the game in another six months or so, and see whether the player base has picked up any.
As it currently stands, though, this is only really a good choice if you’re into solo science fiction adventures – and if that’s the case, you’ll probably find other titles that are a better fit for the single player experience.Related: Browser Game, Fasaria World, First Impressions, Multiplayer, RPG