From the same people who brought us Evony Online comes a new strange sort of hybrid RTS, civilization-building social MMO called Tynon Online. When goblins and evil dwarves—amid others—decide to invade and harass a peaceful kingdom, it’s up to you (a princess no less) to sally forth and deal with them. As you mow over the countryside you’ll be left to your own devices to mop up the evil green masses as well as collect heroes to wade into battle with you.
Aside from fighting battles with swords, bows, and magic spells; you’ll find yourself building and upgrading a village into a small kingdom and visiting those of your friends.
As a game, Tynon is hardcare-casual and extremely social. In fact, this game strikes me as the sort that needs to integrate directly into Facebook in a very Zynga-esque fashion. As a result, expect a game that spends time steeped in the social aspects as well as the casual gaming experience.
So with our Facebook timeline on one side and the green skinned hordes on the other. Come with me and check out Tynon Online.
Graphics and Sound: Good looking, fairly good sounding, slick and Flash-based
Tynon looks a lot like an American cartoon with strong 90s era video game elements. The characters have a lavish, but carefully rendered look to them and are designed with minimal animation. Of course, the main character is a buxom babe wearing red armor with lots of cleavage, and almost everyone else is yet-another-fantasy-archetype—starting with the goblin heroes, and the dwarf heroes.
From there the maps are all fantasy styled landscapes, the first one is the grassy area outside the city and town (replete with goblins and a shoreline). While the second one is a dank, underground spelunk through masoned caves full of dwarves… This takes up the first near 20 levels of the game and is a fairly intense introduction to the battle system.
During battles there’s a little bit of animation a la weapons flashing, characters staggering in a blow, numbers popping up, “CRITICAL!” flying out. This is all part and parcel to the Flash-based combat that we’re already aware of from other Facebook hooked games. The graphics in the battles are fairly good, visible, and it’s obvious what fighter is doing what and when—and little health/stamina bars above heads give a good idea as to how well they’re doing.
Battles have a fair amount of sound in them along with victory noises and other dings and bings that give an alarm for when things occur. For the most part they’re okay and do a fair job of keeping attention on the game.
The music in this game can be extremely overbearing. There’s probably 2-3 scores, it’s rather loud (and there’s no slider to reduce just the music); however, there’s a way to cut out all music from the game if you need to. The music is a sort of fantasy-styled orchestral score that is a bit generic but upbeat which is nice.
Gameplay: A strange cross between turn-based-combat and building a city RTS style
This game is definitively a hybrid between a sort of RTS and civilization building type game—during it, I spent time mowing through goblins, attracting and adding heroes to my regiment, and then found myself quickly thrust into an odd sort of make-my-town-thrive section. Also not to be missed are the segments that directly ape the social media aspects of games such as Castleville.
The battles are hands-off. Click on an enemy unit (with two crossed swords over their heads) and watch the little animated sprites go to work—they hack, they slash, they throw spells; but in the end everything fell before my mighty princess and heir galloping band of mismatched heroes she’d collected from the countryside. As a Flash-based game this isn’t an uncommon way for the battle portion to go.
As a result it’s very, very repetitive but the game spreads out its come-here-do-that as much as possible to keep you busy and away from battle anyway by way of building and supplying the town; although it seems that battles move the plot forward and the town supplies much-needed bonuses, skills, and equipment for battles.
There is a little bit of a grading system in stars when a battle ends, 1-3 stars are awarded for how much damage was dealt and received during the conflict. Giving players a reason to go back and get the full 3 stars once they’ve been leveled enough to do so in a particular area.
Levelling is ridiculously quick in the beginning from 1-15 in about 10 minutes, but this is mostly training the player to get used to the game, to build up their town, and take advantage of the various systems in play.
The game uses a “stamina” effect to make this a hardcore casual. For new users the stamina wall is hard to hit (due to lots of things adding more stamina) but once it runs out, it becomes a waiting game to come back to get more things done. The game does a lot of things that are designed to gamify every aspect from collecting items (armor, weapons, steeds), heroes, and even money and goods from the town. The town itself is a minigame in of itself where I was asked to build all the requisite structures we see in civilization RTS games…
I even found myself looking forward to planting my tomatoes and wheat (although some of them have a very long time to wait for the harvest.)
That brings me to the second part of Tynon, like any other proper hardcore casual, it has a “hurry up and wait” aspect. A lot of different things in the city building take time—such as growing food or waiting for housing to produce coin.
An interesting social element to the game is that you can visit your friends cities—the game supplies an NPC friend—and you can help yourself to the production of their buildings for extra cash. I suspect this helps your friends in game as well. Also, the for-pay aspects of the game can sometimes be circumvented by getting enough friends outside the game on Facebook to click back on links you send them into the game.
One semi-annoyance of all games of this sort is that it’s very social mouthy: every upgrade, success, level, or victory might have some fashion of “share this with your friends!” attached to it pleading with me to post it on my Facebook wall. I’ve always been bothered by games that do this, it’s basically the dreaded curse of Zynga and all other social-media attracting games. It’s possible to not log in to Tynon with a Facebook account; but it’s just so much easier than not.
Freemium: Stamina exhaustion, farm those buildings, Facebook-hypersocial-freemium game
Tynon is the penultimate Facebook social media game so it really shines when it comes to a strong freemium component. The microtransaction currency can be supplanted by Facebook behaviors (such as getting friends to engage in the game) but the game is edged heavily towards pushing people to the limits of gameplay so that they will have to spend money to continue on in the plot. Nothing too unexpected here.
There isn’t a cash-shop per-se, instead the game has players purchase consumables that are used to increase stamina or increase the level of buildings in the town, heal injured heroes, and the like. These purchases are largely hidden by the for-pay currency and come up when they’re needed—want to upgrade the Town Hall to level 15? Well then get some friends to help you out, or pay some amount of gems to get the upgrade.
Gems do flow slowly into the game without payment via doing things in the game and especially through bringing friends into the game—see: the social media component that would lead to a great deal of Facebook game spam. So there’s that to consider when playing a game such as this; do you want to have your friends appraised of every great victory or rank up in this game? If so, you can exploit them to move ahead.
However, for those with few friends or less time there’s the payment option. Gems cost pretty much exactly 10¢ in lots of 50, 200, 500, 1,000, and 5,000—and right now they’re 15% off as a sale so if you want a boatload of gems and have the money to shell out for them it’s a good time to cash in.
Conclusion: It’s a Facebook game without the Zynga-sting so it’ll have a ready-made audience
We already know the type who play this sort of game and will be taken in by the flash of blades, the cute goblins, the stout dwarves, and the chance to draw their friends into building a town and beating up bad guys. It may not be the glorious rock-em-sock-em fantasy of LoTR but it’s a Facebook game so we’re not looking for much.
This is your standard fantasy-based hardcore casual with a lot of cute characters to drag along, an economy system, a town building system, and tacked on battle-system that forwards the plot.
Chances are most people won’t find themselves playing Tynon for more than a 30 minutes at a time, potentially during a break at work, but the real draw is going to be the calendar of events, the chance to help friends out, and the fact that they can socialize at the same time due to its nigh-integration with Facebook.