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Developer:
Prarie Games
Publisher: Prarie Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: January 2006

by John Barnett




Who wouldn't want to play as monsters? I mean, ever since the beginning of the MMORPG craze, players have complained about wanting the ability to actually play a bad guy, or at least someone who doesn't always have to do the right thing. Ogre Battle started this fascination with the ability to finish the game with the "low road" but even still it had its limitations, so Minions of Mirth heard this rallying cry and decided to give the people what they have been wanting!


With any game, there are pros and cons with the mechanics, music, graphics, storyline, server, etc., and Minions of Mirth is no exception. Still, I can forgive a lot of problems because of the intuition the game system had to take and the innovative style that they used to create it. The biggest complaint I have with the game would have to be the monetary system. The system makes it extremely hard to gain money, especially early on in the game. I didn't really try it in the multiplayer mode and it might be easier that way because of the cooperative playing, but as far as the solo play mode (which I figure most of the players will spend their time on) it is nigh impossible to get a decent amount of currency. Instead of having a single currency like most games use, Minions of Mirth features a D&D style of currency with copper, gold, silver, and platinum pieces. I didn't think it was that bad until I started playing; I was working my way through the first tower, fighting monsters with my sword and gaining copper pieces and a few bits of silver. Well, the durability of my starter sword died and it broke, so I went to the blacksmith to buy a new one or to have it repaired. Guess what? I had NOWHERE near the money to do either. Needless to say, that was frustrating.


The graphics weren’t exactly eye candy, but, then again, they are not the crude graphics of some other p2p (pay 2 play) games that are out there on the market. It reminded me a lot of the earlier game graphic engines that they used for Rainbow Six and Darkstone, both of which are retail games, so given that they are not the only ones to do this, I can forgive them for the price tag. I did like the eye for detail that they gave the characters and the enemies. Still, I believe that they could have used more details in the maps and levels, but that may have slowed down the lower-end computers playing the game, especially in multiplayer modes.


The music and sound effects they used were nothing revolutionary, but heads above most of the other retail games out there on the market today. Using a medieval flavor helped set the mood and improved the whole atmosphere. It’s a nice change from the normal Korean or Malaysian feel that a lot of the MMORPG games have. I noticed myself humming the bars with the game when I was playing, which says something good about the music. You can't help but do it when you are wearing a headset and the methodical beats pound through your head, burying itself into the memory. Fortunately it was pretty good stuff!


Overall, I feel the game is extremely well done considering the price tag that is on it. I was not able to stress test the server during the multiplayer modes because I am normally a lone player, even in the cooperative modes, so I couldn't see what would happen when you had a legion of monsters versus a horde of players, but I didn't lag at all when I was playing otherwise. The other revolutionary aspect, beyond being able to play as a monster, is the fact that you can switch between characters in mid-combat. This took care of a lot of griping that players were having in other games that went along the lines of, "Man, I would so pwn that if I had my other character”.


If you have a bit of cash lying around and want something like Diablo where you can play online and solo, then this is a game that you should really consider investing in.


Final Grade: 85%




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