Monday, March 25, 2013

Avabel Rising

There’s a game I’m playing this past week. It’s a fairly standard MMO dungeon crawler; six classes, a starting town and a dungeon to climb floor by floor. There’s one thing though that separates this game from the pack; Avabel Online is a mobile game for the iOS and the Android. Avabel Online, the latest game from Japanese developers Asobimo, launched open beta last week and it is incredible. This game would be impressive if it came out on a console, but on the mobile market it is a breath of fresh air. Gone are the binding ‘energy’ restraints and ugly Facebook era wannabe mobile MMO’s, and gone are the squarish PlayStation One era graphics of the Everquest-lite mobile MMO’s; Avabel is visually impressive, structurally sound, and a joy to play.

Avabel starts you out in the central town. After a short and very limited introduction you are thrust into the world of Avabel. Each ‘level’ is a landscape all its own with more difficult monsters with each level. Rather than spend time on a long and boring tutorial, Avabel Online tells you about the Help section and then throws into the deep end. You can join a party or play solo. Rather than go back and forth for quests, Avabel has an achievement system that rewards daily play, how far you get up the tower, slaying bosses and killing boatloads of monsters, etc. At level five you return to town to choose your class; Warrior, Rogue, Ranger, Acolyte, Magician, or Creator (a crafter class). Avabel also has a guild system that rivals its PC counterparts. A guild point system to upgrade the guild and a bulletin board to keep in touch are just some of the features Avabel boasts. For those discerning gamers who want to lord over others, Avabel boasts PVP Arena combat. 

Avabel Online is currently in open beta, and has been in beta for some time in native Japan. There are few if any bugs in the build I played so rest easy on that front. While the future is uncertain for how Asobimo will tackle the business side of things, for now this is one of the finest free games on the mobile market. Avabel Online is something of a lovechild of Phantasy Star Online and Monster Hunter, as such should quickly grab a loyal following. While the mobile market can’t compare to its better handheld and console cousins; titles like Avabel Online remind us that the platform has so much unexplored potential.

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