OSG1

Category - Reviews

Nemexia Review

Game Site: nemexia.com
Developer: XS Software

Nemexia is a space themed OSG that inroduces some interesting game concepts to the genre.

Players pick from one of three races, the Confederation (Humans), Terteths (Robots), or the Noxis (Aliens), and control a planet. It has the traditional OSG concepts of resource management, building construction, and raising an army, which makes it very accessable. In addition to the 3 main resources (Metal, Minerals, Gas), there is also Energy. Energy isn’t generated per hour like most resources, but is used as a constant cap for building construction. For example, if you have a Solar Plant that grants 10 Energy, and each buildings costs 1 Energy, you can only build 10 buildings. If you demolish one of your buildings you’d have 1 Energy again, and so on. It functions very similarly to population in Khan Wars.

Nemexia divides each planet into three zones, Resources, Industry, and Government, and these have prominant links for easy navigation. My only qualm about the zones is that sometimes they don’t make much sense. For example, the Vault, which stores Ships, is placed in the Resource Zone, and sometimes the game refers to the Government zone as the Military Zone.

The energy system gets more intersting later in the game. Each player’s Planet is part of a Galaxy, much like Islands in Ikariam. The Solar Plants that give you energy are based off the Galaxy’s sun, which grow old over time and give less energy. To win the game an alliance has to harvest crystals from suns by attacking it. Each successful attack reduces the sun’s energy, so all Players in that galaxy are going to want to defend their sun.

Each planet also has an Ozone Layer, which is damaged daily with each building level and can be repaired by researching Ecology.

I found the main downside of the game to be the Tutorial. It’s poorly designed and poorly tanslated. Instead of checking whether you’ve completed a task it assigns you, the game just hides little puzzle piece icons in the UI that you have to find next to what you’re supposed to click on. They also don’t even mention Energy. The first task was to construct my resource fields (Metal Bot, Gas Probe, Mineral Bot), but you can’t build them all without increasing your energy with a Solar Plant. It didn’t take me long to figure it out, but they really need to redo the tutorial to explain all the new game concepts and make it a little more user-friendly.

Another drawback of the game is the Planet view. Each of the Zones (Resource Zone, etc) is pretty much a barren wasteland that you plop cold buildings onto. There’s no sense of life to it, which isn’t very appealing.

There are other little things; currently in the shipyard clicking on a ship you want to construct pops up a beautiful image of the ship, but it really should display the unit’s attack, defense, etc. Hopefully this will come in time.

Despite these shortcoming Nemexia is a well-built game that introduces interesting and fun concepts to the space themed OSG.

Asgard Heroes Review

Game Site: www.asgardheroes.com
Developer: Evolution Vault

Asgard Heroes is a space themed OSG that demonstrates how important UI is to a game by providing an example of what not to do. The game has decent gameplay and graphics, but it all gets lost in a very unfortunate UI Scheme.

The theme of the game seems to be derived from Stargate SG1. There are buildings called “Stargate”, “Asgard”, “Ancient Ship,” and “Temple of Ra”. Even the graphics pay the series an homage, combining Starcraft’s Terran style with a hint of ancient Egypt. Beyond that it seems to be a typical OSG. You have 5 resource types, Hydrophonic Food, Erythium, Argon, and Energy which you get from their respective resource fields (just like Travian), and you have “Blackwell Credits” which are gained through taxes.

Interestingly, you start the game with all the buildings already in place, but as “ruins” and instead of building them from scratch you “repair” them, and then upgrade as usual.

The game has two types of military units, ground troops and space shis, which is similar to Ikariam’s principle of army and navy.

Despite any interesting themes or concepts the game puts forward, its ultimate failure is in the UI. The UI is so messy it is difficult for players to figure out what’s going on, or even want to. Let’s take the resouces for example, and contrast with Travian.

In Travian, the button to take a player to the resource screen is very prominant, and one of 5 main buttons in the navigation bar. Once there, a player can easily see how much of each resource he is producing, and what the level of each resource field is.

In Asgard Heroes, however, the only way to get to the resource field is through four buildings in the main city screen. This is much more tedious for the player, and also wastes space on the city screen. Once in the resource screen there are FAR too many buildings or “fields”. A total of 24, which makes the screen very messy. Further, every single field looks the same. Granted, they aren’t identical, but they are all of the same color and architectural style.

In Travian it is easy to determine which resource field is which. Wood obviously comes from the forest, wheat comes from the wheat field, etc. They are also color coded with the icons for the resources. In Asgard Heroes however, I personally have no idea what an Argon Extractor would look like in real life, especially not how it might differ from an Erythium Mine.

Beyond resources, the overal UI scheme suffers from poor color choices and making important information difficult to read. Let’s take a look at the Statistics screen for example.

All the navigation buttons seem to be just text. As a user this is less than appealing. Further, they waste so much space by displaying “Athenry OliverGodfreed’s Outpost” when they could just put an icon of an Outpost and then display the name “Athenry”. I mean, obviously it’s my outpost, I couldn’t very well be looking at someone else’s.

Next look at the resource display. Tiny icons to indicate the resource type, none of which resonate with anything in the real world. Light gray text, right up against more dark gray text, all on a dark brown background. VERY HARD TO READ. They’ve actually devoted more screen space to the little hyrogliphic border than to my resources.

Then there’s an ad, right there in the middle of the game. You could put an ad on either side and I wouldn’t mind. I know these games need to get money from somewhere. But in the middle of the game? Down further we have the actual player stats. I know my eyesight isn’t great, but I should be able to read the player names without having to highlight them. Who puts gray text on a gray background?

Anyway, I think you get the point. Interestingly enough at the bottom of the city screen there’s some text that says “This is work in progress and does not reflect the quality of the final product!”. However, nowhere on their site is there a mention of this game being in Beta.

I would suggest any potential players wait until this game gets a much needed UI overhaul.

Cheers,
Oliver