Title: Spiral Knights
Price: Free to Play
Genre: MMORPG/Top-Down Shooter/Hack N' Slash.
Developer: SEGA, Three Rings.
Players: Massively Multiplayer, 4 Recommended for Action sequences.
Recently, Valve decided to support Free-To-Play games on their ever so popular Steam Client. Among the titles re-released for the client there was a game called Spiral Knights. Like with any modern MMO worth it's gull, you start off the game designing your character. The choices are somehow limited with only 3 types of helmet or armor available to choose from, you also get to choose from a sortiment of colors. Choose wisely however, as the color is the only thing you won't be able to change later on, it will become your permanent health-bar color and eye-color and all of your future equipment will sport the chosen color in some way or form. Very akin to the Guild Wars games. A friend and I had a 'incident' where both of our characters looked exactly the same. Thankfully, a really early quest requires you to aquire new amor in tier 2, of which there is lots to decide between so the problem was shortlived.
When you start the game, you wake up in no-mans land. The Spiral Order, the Knights of which you belong have crashlanded on a distant world. You'll have to fight your way to the rescue camp, armed with a sword, a shield and a handgun. Now already here you can find two pretty consistent complaints. The hit detection is pretty shaky, only hitting your target with the handgun 7 out of 10 times making you constantly switch to your sword. Even when it's strategically undesireable. The other complaint is the netcoding, a problem which alot of these games suffer from is that if you don't have a pretty good internet connection, The game is virtually unplayable. I myself, are for unrelated reasons only able to have a wireless 3G internet connection with a 20GB monthly download limit, making playing this game after the limit has been exceeded pretty problematic. If you can live with that however, the gameplay is definetly worth it.
Another reason to download the game is the free hat, If you're a Team Fortress 2 player (and if you aren't, why not? The Game is FREE now! Go get it!) you get a neat little helmet for your Soldier character which actually looks pretty cool compared to the standard equipment.
When you get to the Rescue camp, you're almost immediately transported to the city of Haven. Haven is your new permanent home-away-from-your-own-planet, Here you will be able to shop for equipment, chat it up with your fellow players, use the auction house, and train in the Advanced Training Center. More importantly though, this gives you access to "The Arcade" the area in which you're able to go to the action stages. The action stages are explained as being "The Clockworks" a maze of underground areas, riddled with monsters and traps. To get down to the clockworks however, you need to spend Energy. Energy function the same way as most Facebook games do. You're given a standard amount of energy, and every action costs some of it. When you're out of energy you can either wait a few hours for it to recharge or buy something immediately via micro-transactions with real money. An interesting twist on the tried and true formula is the Energy bazaar in which you can trade energy with other players with the in-game currency known as Crowns. While it definetly would have been preferred to just do away with the energy system once and for all, it's refreshing to see a new take on it. While the art-style is pretty cute it's also very standard and seen-before, so it's understandable they didn't go the League of Legends route.
All in all it's a very enjoyable experience, (Especially for the price of absolutely nothing) and it's a nice way to pass those times you need to wait for other games to patch, or your pizza to arrive.