In the arena of Free To Play titles, there are plenty of winners and losers; here at Free Play Universe, our task is to tell you which games are going to be worth your time and effort. For this volume, we’re going to launch ourselves into space, and take a look atMoon Breakers.
In this space-based shooter, players will step onto the side of the Government, or the Pirates, all in the name of an inter-galactic battle to control the various resources mined in space. Launching into the stars, players will engage in intense, adrenaline-pumping combat in order to carve a niche out for themselves, and prosper. Or, at least, to murder anyone who dares oppose them. One or the other.
Upon launching the game, PC players will note that there is a distinct lack of options: no resolution changing, no full screen, and several more annoyances were all noticeable before I even set foot in my first game, which left a sour taste. Moon Breakers started out as a browser-based game before making its way to Steam, and it really does show; the lack of ability to even change the size of the screen didn’t bode well, but I continued on to give it a shot, and things changed a little bit. The gameplay was actually pretty entertaining, though repetitive after a while. Some game modes seem to be completely ignored (I have yet to see a round of CTF that isn’t immediately vetoed by every player in the game, as it is apparently the least fun mode), and the overall economy of the game seems a bit skewed.
There are two types of currency in Moon Breakers: Cred, which is earned by playing the game, and HE-3, which is purchased through real money. The good thing here is that all ships can be purchased with Cred (though HE-3 can purchase them faster), but only Cred is used to upgrade the various ships. The downside comes that Cred is not earned at any particular fast rate, roughly 3,000 or so per game, and some of the ships cost prohibitive amounts (several million cred) to unlock. HE-3 can be used to buy cred boosters up to 15x to make amassing that amount easier, but the average person who wants to continue to play the game for free will find it nearly impossible to unlock some of those more complex ships simply due to the sheer cost.
To compound the issues, the play style in Moon Breakers does not feel as smooth as it could. Players are forced to rely on mouse-and-keyboard controls, but the game is clearly one that would benefit more from allowing joystick or gamepad controls to be used instead. Using the mouse to control your ship begins to feel sluggish, something only corrected by the knowledge that every other person playing is having the same amount of trouble as you. Simply allowing for some better controls to be used would vastly improve the game overall, but that is just not an option that players are going to be given.
In the end, the game also begins to edge more towards the “pay to win” category of free-play titles: the sheer amount of play that would be necessary to unlock is a bit out of hand. For instance, the V-66 Viper (one of the top-tier fighters) costs 2,160,000 Cred to buy for free; a mere 720 games played, assuming 3,000 Cred per game, and that is assuming that no other upgrades are purchased along the way (which would be agonizing to play, honestly). The slow pace of upgrades leaves you at a severe disadvantage against those who paid for HE-3 to buy ships, which means you are consistently outgunned during play. Individual skill can help bridge the gap to a degree, but more often than not I felt completely outdone by someone who had bought the premium content.
Despite that, it is technically possible to earn everything that paying players have earned by just playing the game for free, so this one is a bit harder to nail down. It is definitely not quite pay to win, nor is it entirely free to play, so I simply have to cop out and rate it as In Between. That said, while the core mechanics and play of the game are enjoyable, the sluggish controls and lack of controller/joystick support hurt the game, and the repetitive nature of the game will be a turn off to some. As a free title, there’s not much risk in downloading it to see how you enjoy it, but it does not quite stand up as one of the greater space combat games to see the light of day.
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