Enter the world of toys—fighting toys—in this free-to-play 3D third person shooter. Battle with your avatar in an environment of sleek anime’ inspired animation that sets a light-hearted, fun tone. So if you’re a seasoned gamer, or a newbie looking to get your feet wet, keep reading and I’ll tell you if this FTPMMO is full of high voltage fun; or is a low voltage dud!
Developed by SK imedia, MicroVolts enjoyed its open beta debut on March 10th, 2011. MicroVolts is published by Rock Hippo Productions. Rock Hippo Productions possesses the license to publish MicroVolts in North America as well as Europe.
MicroVolts broke the stereotypical MMO mold by creating a shooter utilizing a third person approach, as opposed to the first person perspective that we generally see in FTP shooters. Character creation is simple as you are given no initial customization options. If you are interested in setting your character apart from the rest, you’ll have to be patient. As you play you’ll gain Micro and experience points which can be then used to purchase esthetic accessories. I use the term “buy” loosely—you’re really just renting them.
When Toys Attack
Right from the get go, you are treated to a dramatic cut scene where a crazed scientist performs an experiment that results in the toys coming to life and they’re ready to whoop up on each other. This is about the extent of the back-story. While the story lacks in depth, this little tidbit does serve to set the tone of the game.
Character creation is…simple. Initially, you’re given the choice between two starting characters, Knox and Naomi. Knox is a rough, tough action figure type character while Naomi is just the opposite. Naomi is a cutesy anime doll-like character. There are additional characters which may be bought with the in-game currency, MicroPoints. MicroVolts’ in-game currency—MicroPoints—is easy to come by. You are rewarded with MicroPoints with every kill.
The other characters which may be purchased are: Pandora, who is named after a Greek myth, utilizes evil trickery to conquer a foe; and Complex Humanoid Interchangeable Parts—or CHIP for short—who is a mechanically driven figure composed of junk yard scrap. The extent of esthetic character customization is a small selection of clothing. Additional clothing as well as weapons may be bought in the item store.
Getting a Read on the Voltage
Upon logging into MicroVolts, you’ll quickly realize that there is no tutorial. Well, they call it a tutorial. And, according to the Merriam Webster, a tutorial is: a paper, book, film, or computer program that provides practical information about a specific subject. However, what most MMO gamers have come to expect in terms of a tutorial is a hands-on, interactive portion of the initial game which allows gamers to obtain the basic skills required to successfully navigate and play.
The “tutorial” in MicroVolts is simply a short video explaining the very basics of the game such as which buttons to press. I’ll give the developers kudos for original presentation as the tutorial is played on a miniature TV complete with static effects. Unfortunately though, players aren’t given the opportunity to test-drive their skills and are left to in-game trial and error. In other words, prepare to get your butt kicked.
Gameplay progression in MicroVolts is pretty straight forward—there is none. As you progress through the levels, the only things which you are rewarded with are unlocked items in the game store. There is no skill tree or any new techniques to learn and build upon. In many ways, MicroVolts has the depth of a simple arcade game.
With that being said, MicroVolts does have an incredible offering of map designs. The developers took creative liberties when developing the maps in MicroVolts. All of the MicroVolts maps are staged in unique settings such as gardens, tabletops, and even roofs, which show you the world from the perspective of a small toy. The maps are large, very well laid out, and offer significant depth with many, many places to camp out while preparing to attack unsuspecting gamers. The maps in MicroVolts are definitely one of the game’s strong points.
So, we’ve established that there is no real back-story, no sincere character customization, no gameplay progression, and no skill trees to speak of. But, wait, what’s that? There are bonuses? Yep, there are in fact bonuses which gives you something to work toward. These bonuses are acquired with your items are equipped. Though small (like everything else in this game), these bonuses come in the form of various little improvements such as defense or speed. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, all items are only “rented” and must be re-rented after a set portion of time. While this can prove to be annoying, this system also provides a reason to keep playing.
Various weapons may also be purchased. Each weapon offers its own set of perks. While there is a variety of weaponry to choose from, the selection is slim and leaves much to be desired. Just like every other item in MircoVolts, weapons are only rentable. Purchases in this game are not permanent. Most shooters only allow their players to carry one weapon with the occasional grenade. MicroVolts sets itself apart by giving its gamers the opportunity to pack 7—yes 7—weapons simultaneously! This makes for some fantastic battle scenes, no doubt!
Not So Small Selection of Modes
MicroVolts may not have the most in-depth gameplay or the most interesting progression system, but I love the maps and the modes. We discussed the maps—which I love—earlier on. Now let’s talk a bit about the various modes. As it stands MicroVolts has 6 different game modes, one of which is new. Here’s a bit about each one:
Team Death Match – This is a classic shooter mode which divides the players up into two teams. The two teams then duke it out and the team to hit the target kill goal first wins.
Free For All – With every player for themselves, Free For All is a chaotic heart pounding mode that requires players to be on their toes—at all times—as they defend themselves. Lone wolves, eat your heart out because this time, it’s every man for himself. The first gamer to obtain the target kill goal wills.
Item Match – Item Match is high octane and faced paced. This mode is just like Team Death Match… with a twist. Every kill rewards you with a random item drop. These items vary and can be any number of things such as, extra health, shields, and even power increases. You must be on your toes though, because your enemy can loot your unused items from your corpse.
Capture the Battery – This mode is built around teamwork. The object of this mode is to work with your team to obtain the enemy’s batter from their base. Lone wolfing it here can cost your team the game.
Close Combat – This mode is pretty self-explanatory… it’s up close and personal. In Close Combat, you go toe-to-toe with your enemy with nothing by melee weapons. Close Combat may only be played on the Chess map.
Elimination – Elimination is the newest mode and in my opinion, one of the most fun. In this team-based mode, aggressive offense based on strategy is key. Once you’re dead, you’re eliminated for the round. But there’s a twist; in the middle of the game a radar map spawns. The player who obtains the radar will have the ability to view all remaining players on the map.
The Final Word
Microvolts really is a one-of-a-kind find in the world of MMOs. Most MMO gamers will agree that a third-person shooter is, by far, less common than a first-person shooter. The animated approach to this FTPMMO is both fun and unique—as is its theme.
Unfortunately MicroVolts lacks the depth that we have come to expect in any MMO and leaves gamers with the feel of having just been to the arcade. This includes the lack of any type of skill tree—there is nothing for your character to master or build upon.
On a positive note, MicroVolts is not your everyday tactical shooter… not by any stretch of the imagination; and I like this! We need variety and a break from the cookie cutter shooters that we’re so used to seeing. Top that off with its distinctly unique toy theme and this FTPMMO comes in a very irresistible package jam packed with action.