If you want to delve into the deep end with a massively online battle arena game, you can head on over to Riot Games’ League of Legends or Valve’s own Dota 2 with your computer, download a free copy of each game, and then dive in.
Or, you can grab a copy of Fates Forever, a surprisingly well-tuned and deep version of the popular game genre and eSports phenomenon. It’s been over a year in development by the team led by the founder of proto-Game Center Open Feint and one of the first hit game devs on the iOS platoform (Aurora Feint), Jason Citron.
When we spoke to Citron last summer, he was full of excitement about his promising game-in-development. The wait has been worth it, as Fates Forever puts on an impressive show, squeezing a fully-realized MOBA game complete with distinctive heroes and cunningly designed infrastructure that can encourage and include everyone, from those brand new to the genre to the more veteran MOBA players, all on the iPad.
This is a fantastic game, and you’ll want to check it out right now.
A pair of games by DeNA prove you don’t have to pay to play something great. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
LOS ANGELES — Free-to-play games don’t enjoy the same cache as games that cost money right out of the gate. Sure, they’re at the top of the “making money” charts, as gamers download freebies by the bucketful (and apparently purchase loads of virtual stuff from them), but ask any gamer what they think of them and they’ll typically give you a blank, slightly annoyed stare.
So I honestly didn’t hold out much hope that I’d see anything super-interesting at an Electronic Entertainment Expo luncheon sponsored by free-to-play mobile game maker DeNA last week.
However, the developer showed off a couple of pretty damn good games at the event. We saw the recently released Transformers tie-in game and several others, including Peter Molyneux’s latest effort, Godus. But what really stuck out for me were Royal Defenders and WARP.
You’ve got to admire a game that matches its own intent so perfectly that you suddenly can’t visualize how else the genre should be done. That’s certainly the case here with Zynga’s Solstice Arena. It’s currently my favorite MOBA game on any platform, which is great, since it plays well on both iOS and the Mac. I’m reviewing the Mac version here, but assume that–aside from touch controls–the game plays exactly the same on iOS. This is a good thing.
Solstice Arena by Zynga Category: Mac Games Works With: OS X Mac Price: $Free
As a genre, the action real-time strategy (ARTS), or multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), has a history reaching back to modified RTS game maps for Starcraft and Warcraft. Recently, League of Legends from Riot Games has taken on the mantle as the most well-known game of its type, moving into the lucrative world of eSports, as well.
Zynga may be more known for Farmville and other Facebook games, but the San Francisco games publisher has delivered a much more midcore game than I expected. Developer A Bit Lucky has created a streamlined, compelling take on the ARTS genre, and while the game may not surpass more traditional entries in the field, Solstice Arena still engages players of all levels without sacrificing too much of the strategic depth of the game type.
Calling it the “first Speed MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena),” Zynga released Solstice Arena to the iOS App Store this past June. The game garnered many awards and some fairly good reviews from around the web.
Tuesday, Zynga announced that Solstice Arena was available in the Mac App Store, bringing the streamlined real-time action battle arena game to OS X.
Jason Citron is a veteran of both the console and gaming space, involved with developing Double Fine’s Brutal Legend in 2006, and then releasing one of the first hit iOS games in the early, heady days of the iOS App store, a match-three puzzle game with a twist, Aurora Feint. Soon after, he created OpenFeint, which was the de facto leaderboard and multiplayer matching system for Apple mobile devices long before Game Center.
After OpenFeint was sold to Japanese social-gaming company, GREE, in April of 2011, Jason headed out to engage his passion for video game development once again with a new company, Hammer & Chisel, and a new game, announced today, called Fates Forever, an iPad-only massively online battle arena (MOBA) game.
Citron took some time out of a busy schedule to talk to Cult of Mac about the new game, it’s mechanics and business strategy, and his own take on what iPad games should be.