Long Live The (Wonder)King: NDOORS' Latest 2D MMO

NDOORS Interactive's latest MMO, the 2D-cutesy-sidescroller WonderKing Online, is aiming to challenge MapleStory for a slice of the MMO pie. But can they do it?

When it comes to the super-cute 2D MMO market (you'd be surprised at how big it is!), there's really no denying that the current belle of the ball is Nexon's mega-hit MMO, MapleStory. In fact, MapleStory is so deeply entrenched in its own success that it seems almost foolhardy to take them on in the MMO market. But taking on MapleStory is just what NDOORS Interactive is doing with their super-cute 2D MMORPG, WonderKing Online. Will it be enough?

Now, NDOORS Interactive may sound familiar to some players, and that's because this is the development team behind the critically acclaimed, and highly successful, turn-based MMORPG, Atlantica Online. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for Atlantica Online's success, outside of its unique gameplay, is the fact that NDOORS is constantly developing and releasing content for their marquee MMORPG. In a market where new content is delivered almost arbitrarily and with the occasional half-a-year gap thrown in, NDOORS' consistency truly does set it apart from its peers. In this way, if there could be any team capable of challenging the behemoth that is MapleStory, it seems NDOORS and their addictively fun WonderKing Online has the best chance of any.

We began our WonderKing experience by creating a Scout, one of the four available classes for players to choose on startup. The other three classes are the epitome of MMO standards, with players also having the opportunity to start out as a Mage, a Thief or a Swordsman. From these basic choices, players will be able to make one more choice at level 30, having the ability to specialize into a Warrior or a Knight (for Swordsmen), a Rogue or a Ninja (for Thieves), a Priest or a Wizard (for Mages) and an Archer or a Gunner (for Scouts). After that, there is one more advanced job class change at level 80, and then the player is set until he hits the level cap at 130.

WonderKing Online is a veritable smorgasbord of the cute, the imaginative and the downright wacky. While 3D MMORPGs have done their best to spoil players visually, WonderKing Online does manage to incorporate its cartoony design well, and there is a fantastic level of creativity apparent throughout, ranging from the wacky singing Cacti to the dogs with plungers stuck on their butts. Finally, MapleStory players may also be delighted (as we were!) to see that, in WonderKing Online, their head is not nearly as oversized as it is in MapleStory. That might just be a personal gripe, but the giant heads in MS were kind of distracting.

Where WonderKing really shines, however, is in its smooth controls and great gaming feel. The controls are so responsive at times that it feels like you're sitting down with your favorite old-school SNES game. Like any 2D MMORPG, WonderKing plays a lot like its older counterpart, MapleStory, but this may be the first time we were actually comfortable with the gameplay controls. Most 2D MMORPGs tend to be on the sluggish side, but WonderKing does a fantastic job of staying away from that.

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