Looking for a free-to-play, social Flash-based browser game that you can get into right off the bat without having to download some large plugin? Gunshine.net delivers all of this and more. Finland’s Supercell developed and publishes the browser-game with amazing competence. It takes a lot of cues from Blizzard’s Diablo and modern MMORPGs. With a steep amount of integration with Facebook as well as a lot of encouragement to use social media, this game achieves its label as being a social MMORPG.
Immediately after signed up, I was literally good to go. The download took mere moments and it threw me into a character design screen.
Character customization is minimal but present, male/female, 3 skin color choices, 3 hair color choices, and 3 faces—however, there seems to be at least 8 different haircuts to choose from; although, in the actual game, the toons are so small that the customization doesn’t come across much. Still, if you look close enough you can see the differences. I guess that it’s a nice homage to people who don’t want the same cookie-cutter characters running around.
Three classes to choose from: Bodyguard, Hunter, and Doctor. Bodyguards get maximum armor and heavy melee damage—they seem to be a tank/fighter hybrid for the game; Hunters receive maximum ranged damage—they appear to be the ranged damage archetype; Doctors receive maximum healing ability—of course, they’re the healer class in the game, no doubt about that.
The game seems to be set in a cyberpunk dystopia where a giant evil corporation, Labycore, has started to switch into outwardly malicious mode. They started up their own artificial island civilization—Dawnbreak City—and began to dose their own citizens with an experimental drug called WUZZ—that’s where the player eventually comes into the narrative. Just recently escaped from Labycore and finding their own way on their island things only get darker from there.
Gameplay: Simple, but cute, the gameplay provides a good framework for a casual game.
The game is a 3/4ths, small character, skill-based game with point-and-click access to the map. By clicking on the map, my character walks to where I want her to go; by double-clicking on an enemy she fires on them; by pressing one of the number keys 1-0 she activates a skill. The skills run the gamut from the normal things we’d expect from a game like this for Hunters its mostly different types of ammo/shot and Bodyguards hit people in different ways. Skills may impart heavier damage, stuns, slows, knockdowns, and other debuffs.
The game is mapped out in a grid with exits that move to other points on the grid which separate the maps. Enemies walk around in patrols or just stand there and wait to agro.
It’s also somewhat weirdly satisfying when one is killed as they tend to explode in a splash of red gore.
Quests are pretty simple mostly fedex, go-here-kill-that, and an escort type. There’s even bosses in the instances whom I’ve been called upon to kill. Some instances do not permit entry without the proper quest (e.g. one where I had to kill someone named Grim and the instance wouldn’t allow me entry until I had the quest to kill him.) Overall, it’s a standard MMORPG style game where NPCs give quests, speak fluff text, and then deliver rewards afterwards.
While the game has an experience system that limits equipment, they also have a secondary system called “credibility” that restricts access to particular zones and instances. Credibility is controlled by equipment with +credibility stats and can also be earned through social media hookups. Gunshine.net gives extra credibility points for linking a Facebook account and for every friend a player invites into the game. Higher credibility gives players access to more areas; oftentimes in the early game, credibility is essential for getting missions done—e.g. there’s several missions that require access to low credibility instances. It’s likely later game works exactly the same way.
If the going gets too tough, you can hire a mercenary to go along with you. Otherwise, you’ll have to team up with friends. In order to do that, it seems like the game encourages you heavily to invite them to the game through Facebook (this also increases your credibility score.)
The biggest problem with mercenaries is that they’re extremely expensive and they only last 10 minutes at a time. In fact, at level 5 they cost diamonds (cash currency) and therefore would represent quite a drain on your wallet if you want to make use of them. As a result, I found myself running around solo without grabbing a mercenary more often than not. Since I’m not about to pay for them, diamonds are a precious resource to me coming only from achievements.
Freemium: Between Facebook and mictrotransactions, Gunshine.net has its model set for it.
The in-game gold coin, diamonds are available via microtransactions; but they also seem to be rewarded, in very small amounts, as achievement rewards in-game. Diamonds run from 4c to 3c per—the 3c per diamond comes only if you feel like spending $99 for 3,350 diamonds. You can use them to purchase extremely high level loot from the cash shop such as guns that deliver gigantic credibility bonuses. At level 5 there’s a +13 credibility rifle available for 126 diamonds (between $5.04 and $3.78.)
Diamonds represent an extremely versatile currency that emerges across the game not just for unique items but to open “Treasure Boxes” that drop from enemies that contain specialized loot. They also rear their head when purchasing certain skills and also for hiring certain mercenaries.
Conclusion: Browser game, Flash through and through, it has its own thing going for it.
Gunshine.net has a fairly well built world with quests that lead you through it and tell a story if you desire to read you way. The mechanisms that build in Facebook get my goat a little bit—especially the parts that seem to require that you have Facebook friends in order to form groups, but it seems a strong part of their model. The game itself isn’t a Facebook game but it does integrate extremely tightly.
I met a lot of people in game and it has a thriving community. You seem to advance quickly in the beginning and a lot of stuff from levels 1-9 seem soloable; but it strikes me that this game gets better when you have partners.
Some people might be turned off by the fact this is a Flash game; but it’s pretty solid and with the intermittent sluggishness it’s hard to tell behind the game mechanics. They way they built it tries to use as little resources as possible.
It’s fun, cute, and fairly enjoyable. Especially if you’ve got friends to run the missions with you.