Following the successful client MMORPG, Wakfu, comes the online social RPG on mobile devices, Wakfu Raiders. Wakfu Raiders relies heavily on character collection, elemental matchups and automated, repetitive gameplay. While there are aspects of Wakfu Raiders that make it seem like it’d be a standout hit, it ultimately falls into the category of those forgotten mobile MMOs that never quite get off the ground. Wakfu Raiders isn’t the first client based MMO to embrace the mobile platform. 4Story developer Zemi Interactivelaunched 4Story M to capitalize on the trend to mobile.
Immediately after opening Wakfu Raiders I saw potential in it. The first thing that you’ll notice is that you’re presented with a mini-game that you can play while “Tofus are being downloaded.” Sadly, almost as if the mini-game is foreshadowing the rest of the title, this semi-smooth experience drags on for far too long.
Wakfu Raiders sports yet another admissible story that acts solely as a vehicle for the players gameplay. The game starts off rather poorly by plopping you right in combat against some dark time lord, although “combat” isn’t quite the correct term. The opening scene is more of an interactive cutscene with some omniscient voice telling you what to press and when. After it was revealed that this opening scene was (Spoiler Alert) only a dream, the real game begins.
In the first and only real tutorial Wakfu Raiders has some of the basics of combat are explained. However, both combat and its tutorials leave much more to be desired. Combat is almost entirely automated, aside from team support moves and individual character’s ultimate attacks. At first it appeared to me that Wakfu Raiders had a complex elemental system, much like the one that exists within the Pokemon games; Earth beats Water, Water beats Fire and two independent elements, Light and Dark, are effective against one another. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to take advantage of this system. Seeing as how fights occur with one’s entire party, and most automatically, I found no way to make this system useful as I just sat back and waited for it to be my turn to hit a button. Of the two things that you actually control, the Ultimate Attacks are actually quite stylish and make a lot of sense. Each character has a unique Ultimate that entails custom animations and voicework, and each attack does quite a lot of damage. Some of these attacks are even unique in their effects. Sadly, the only other in your control, the team support moves, are left completely unexplained. As far as I can tell, depending on the order in which you select your teammates, you can deploy moves that boost health, recovery, dexterity and attack damage. I’m not entirely sure what dexterity does, but whatever. I’m also not entirely sure as to what determines exactly which support move is used, although I’d like to say that it depends on the teammates elements and the order in which you selected them (i.e. Fire-Earth-Fire has a different effect than Fire-Fire-Earth). All of this should’ve been explained in some form of tutorial, but it was not. The game isn’t persistent the same way Stellacept Online and Avabel Online are.
The rest of the issues in this game stem from its origin as a money-grabbing free-to-play title. I’m sorry to report that Wakfu Raiders employs more than one popular free-to-play model in that the game supports premium currency, which is required for all the best gear and heroes, but it also sports the all-hated energy system, which limits how much you can play in one sitting.
Wakfu Raiders had a lot going for it. Aside from the fact that the game is set within a well-established and well-liked universe, Wakfu Raiders is also extremely professional and stylish in its presentation. It’s extremely sad to see a game that has solid roots and plenty of potential ruined by obscure, automated and repetitive gameplay and rampant free-to-play monetary issues. With the successful launch of Wakfu Raiders, I suspect Ankama Games, the game’s developer, will move Dofus to mobile next.