WalkScape is an RPG inspired by RuneScape that looks to gamify walking without using GPS
Last week, I headed over to Finland to attend Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki. Though it's predominately a B2B event, talented developers attend for various reasons, including participating in the Big Indie Pitch. That meant I saw some interesting games I'm looking forward to sharing with you all over the coming weeks.
Today, we'll start with WalkScape, which, as you might have figured out from the name, draws some of its inspiration from Jagex's enduringly popular MMORPG RuneScape. And the other half is also self-explanatory – walking is a huge part of the game. In short, you could think of it as RuneScape meets an idle RPG and a pedometer.
That's right. To complete quests and gather resources, you must hit the streets, parks and forests to rack up enough steps to level up the 15 different skills the game offers. You might immediately be thinking, 'Oh, RuneScape Pokemon Go', but this is actually slightly different. Instead of GPS, WalkScape uses the steps calculated by your iOS or Android phone.
That means you can pocket your phone and know that you'll be working towards something. Then, when you return home, you can open the game and sort through all the resources, chests and random encounters you've triggered by strolling about your local neighbourhood. The developer also has plans to support smartwatches, including syncing with Strava, meaning you can progress even if you don't take your phone with you on a run.
WalkScape has several different modes, including an offline option for those seeking a more customised experience. It's called Casual Mode and allows you to tweak how many steps you need for each action alongside the difficulty of combat. Meanwhile, the default mode aims to be more competitive, complete with leaderboards and strict anti-cheating measures.
In the default variant, there is a marketplace where you can buy resources from other players, bringing a greater sense of community to the game as long as the developers can prevent the economy from collapsing, as we've seen in other games with these features.
As for monetisation, the developers are still considering their options but briefly explained their current plans to me. WalkScape will be free-to-play, with some areas on the world map locked behind a subscription. If you subscribe, you gain access to these places but, otherwise, receive no additional bonuses like extra gold or resources. Finally, there are plans to make the offline version a premium game, allowing you access to all the areas minus the community aspects.
As mentioned, this is all set to change, with more details expected after the closed beta test. If you're interested in getting involved, you can register your interest in playing the game by heading to the WalkScape Portal.
I can see plenty of people finding some appeal in WalkScape, whether that's to gamify their exercise or for RPG lovers who don't have as much time to dedicate to playing as they used to.
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