The legend of King Arthur and Merlin is one that has always fascinated and enthralled me – I’ve always been a sucker for swords and magic, with the addition of the Lady In The Lake, Morganna and Mordred only adding to the intrigue. Over the years we have seen many visions of this popular legend, from the most excellent film Excalibur to the latest BBC series, Merlin. Now grab your wands, swords and shields as the game arrives… on Facebook.
At this year’s Eurogamer I sat down to have a quick peek at this new title, Merlin, and was rather pleasantly surprised. I’m not a big fan of Facebook games; I’ll admit I’ll give them a try but find myself bored with them rather quickly. They’re simple quick fads, which entertain me for a few hours and then I find my initial interest dwindling quicker than a leaky tap! When I first started walking around the expo, my eye was caught by a guy dressed as a knight standing around a group of computers. His outfit caught my attention and I was eager to find out what the game was – I walked over and saw the Merlin posters. Getting excited I watched people playing, when I realised that I was looking at a Facebook game! Fascination took over… if I’m honest I was also suddenly worried. I quite like the TV show and the fact this was a Facebook game slightly dampened my spirits.
Not sure whether to have a go or not I stood there transfixed, confused about whether I liked what I saw. I decided to sit down at the PC, give it a whirl – I’d either like it or instantly loathe it. I decided to jump into the next dungeon, using the previous player’s character. I was quite surprised; Merlin for me wasn’t your average Facebook game. Instead I was looking at a rather nice top-down RPG, with dungeons to loot and quests to complete. To move around all I had to do was click where I wanted to go using the mouse button; I soon found myself under attack by massive spiders and skeletons. To fight back once more all I had to do was press the mouse button, whilst the cursor is hovering over the enemy at hand. There were also treasure chests dotted around the map for me to loot gold and other treasures from… before I knew it the simplicity of the game had sucked me in. I was exploring the dungeon, taking on everything that moved.
The main quest was to locate three artefacts and return them to their proper resting places. Once you picked one up, an arrow would appear showing you the way to their proper positions. I soon noticed that other people had appeared in the map… looking for the same artefacts. Being a social game I soon realised that working together was the best way to get the main quest finished. One of us would carry the artefact, whilst the other would fight off the evil creatures, clearing a path to the waypoint. Soon all three pieces were delivered, so to speak, and the quest was over. I was then transported to the world map to choose my next destination, however I could also enter the inventory and equip items I’d manage to loot, or spend my newly acquired gold in the store.
Merlin looked like an old style RPG and had a simple yet addictive charm surrounding it. The gameplay was a good distraction and I could see myself getting addicted to its neat simplicity. Not being a fan overall of Facebook games, I was mildly surprised by the quality behind this title. It’s early days yet but I’m looking forward to playing the game properly… and fans of Merlin look like they could be in for a real treat!