Game Reviews

Elemental Knights Online: The World

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Elemental Knights Online: The World

While clearly stripped-back for mobile play, Elemental Knights Online: The World does its best to emulate the template laid down by EverQuest and World of Warcraft on Android handsets.

But simply ticking off the basic genre conventions (fetch quests, trading, endless monster bashing) is rarely enough to hook players in for the long haul.

While Winlight’s game sticks closely to the rule book, the lack of originality hits you with the first quest and a stale sense of having 'been here, done this, and bought the cosplay outfit', hangs over all of your adventures.

Familiar territory

Anyone who’s played an MMORPG before - especially one from Japan or Korea - is going to feel right at home in Elemental Knights Online’s very stereotypical world.

There's a main story story thread, about dragons awakening after three centuries and bizarre attacks from monsters, but it’ll take you many, many hours before you really get involved in the main events.

Instead, you have to first endure a lengthy series of training missions that painstakingly school you in the fine arts of walking up to enemies, pressing 'attack', and hoping they drop the loot needed to fulfill those all-important Quest Conditions.

There and back again

At the outset, you can also choose to be a sword-happy Fighter, a stealthy Thief, a magic-blasting Wizard, or a divine-powered Cleric, and customise your typically anime-styled character with silly haircuts and funky eyebrows.

Whichever class you choose, your progression path remains near identical - you start in the same area, pick up quests from static NPCs, and potter off to do their bidding.

Sadly, the quests never really go outside the 'Kill X number of monster Y to collect enough loot to give to Z' template, meaning only the most grind-happy gamers are going to get sucked in.

There are more than 100 missions to be completed, spread across grassy plains, forests, castles, and temples, and most can be replayed to boost your experience and level-up (increasing your strength, powers, and special attacks in the process).

Every quest can be easily tracked, with a handy arrow to guide you, and more dramatic story missions centered around the mystery of the Elemental Dragons pop up if you’re persistent enough.

Battle ready

While the adventuring may be a lacking in spark, the controls and colourful visuals (especially the vibrant spell animations) do a reasonable job of immersing you in the game.

You move with a responsive virtual joystick (which appears wherever you place your thumb) and attack with a sizeable button on the right. Combat is automatic, but the button flashes regularly to show you when to unleash special attacks (a Quick Skill bar also lets you select powers, such as healing spells and combat buffs, when needed).

Other actions, like assigning powers and tinkering with equipment, are handled by tapping open nested menus with handily labelled icons. Just keep an eye out, mind, for those leading to an external shop hawking premium priced in-game wares.

End game

While it’s a reasonable, robust attempt to make an Eastern-flavoured MMO on Android, Elemental Knights’s lack of imagination, grindy missions, and slow pace mean it will be too much of a slog for majority of players.

Teaming up with other warrior (up to four can join ad-hoc parties) spices things up a bit, but those looking for a more dramatic adventure would be wise to ply their monster hacking trade in Gameloft’s superior Order & Chaos.

Elemental Knights Online: The World

No better, or worse, than the countless free-to-play Japanese MMOs available on PC, this is still lacking the charm and charisma of the big RPG hitters
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
A newspaper reporter turned games journo, Paul's first ever console was an original white Game Boy (still in working order, albeit with a yellowing tinge and 30 second battery life). Now he writes about Android with a style positively dripping in Honeycomb, stuffed with Gingerbread and coated with Froyo