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In the tradition of Age of Empires, comes a browser-based MMO game called Ikariam; but just what is Ikariam? Well, it's a free MMO game that emulates Age of Empires, but in real time. Gamers can only play a certain amount of time, due to the fact that the game evolves on real time, so some things have to just be left alone to develop. There is no real story on Ikariam, the player basically assume the role of a "God" like character that will help to grow a civilization on a beautiful Greek coast. The duty of the player is to protect the interest of his civilization at any cost.
You can say that the story is similar of Age of Empires, without the mission mode; you just roam around and help a civilization to grow. The reason that the game doesn't have a story, is because it only appeared a few months ago and there is a chance that in the future the game will become more complex than it is now. So, gamers are hoping that the game will develop a better base story line in future patches.
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The game play is ok, not the best but not the worst either. I recommend that you read the tutorial before playing, as it can be confusing if you don't, but the tutorial doesn't offer a complete idea about how to move forward in the game either. I had the problem of not knowing what to do, but after a few minutes of playing, I started to click everywhere on the screen until I found the menu option and it gave me a brief idea of what to do next. So, if you can't figure out what to do or where to move, then you can always start clicking to find the menu and then check the help screen and other areas of the menu.
The graphics are pretty good, not quite a 5 as it mimics Age of Empires to a certain degree. But, if you had played Age of Empires, you will see certain similarities between the edification of both games, you can take Ikariam as an homage game rather than anything completely original. Although for some reason, the game can be quite catchy only for the graphics as they are a bit better than the Age of Empires edition that is out now. But, even for this type of "homage game", it is hard to get into it very much as the game has no story, no real background, and you are basically replaying Age of Empires.
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Overall, Ikariam can be fun for the first couple of hours, but after you discover that the game is slow on his development, and the actions are kind of limited if you don’t donate to their online store - you will find yourself trapped in a game with little action, repetitive music, and with little graphical features. Even Angels Online is more fun than this game, as you have better interaction with your surroundings, but I guess I can’t be too expectant with a web browser based game that by default has more limitation than many other games. But, for those that loved the original Age of Empires series, then this game is one you might want to try out.
I give a 3/5 in the overall score as the game offers an interesting concept of emulating Age of Empires with the minimum requirements, but at I can't give it a full 5 out of 5 score since the game can be boring at moments and people expect more in new MMO games.