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role playing gameSince the passing of the Dreamcast, Sega is a company that has had to adapt to survive. No longer able to compete in the hardware market, Sonic’s forefathers turned their heads solely to the software market. For the first time ever, we saw Sonic on a Nintendo console.

Since then Sega has published and developed a multitude of games, and not all of them for the console market. Spiral Knights is aimed solely at PC users, and provided you’ve got a compatible browser you’ll be up and running in minutes. If you enjoy quest-based online role playing games with a hint of Zelda, then you’ll probably love Spiral Knights.

Requirements

Despite being a browser game, Spiral Knights is a fully 3D application. On Windows or Linux you’ll need at least a 1.3GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 64MB of video memory and Java 1.5 installed. Mac owners will need the same specification, except with 1GB of RAM instead of 512MB.

A minimum screen resolution of 1024×600 is also required. You can download Java for your operating system here, if you don’t already have it.

Haven & Clockworks

Developed by Three Rings Design and published by Sega, Spiral Knights is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (or MMORPG for short) that can be enjoyed in your browser thanks to the wonder that is Java The Wonder & Beauty Of Java Applets [Technology Explained] The Wonder & Beauty Of Java Applets [Technology Explained] Read More . Spiral Knights is completely free to play, you do not need to pay a subscription or buy an account; though you are given the option of purchasing in-game perks should you want them.

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Your (and everyone else’s) character is as the title suggests, a Spiral Knight. You’ve crashed on a strange planet, and this virtual world is your oyster. You won’t be expected to do it alone, as the game actively encourages teamwork and guild development.

The planet is called Cradle, and the game roughly divides itself between the two main “areas”: Haven and Clockworks. Haven acts as a headquarters for all Spiral Knights, allowing players to socialise freely. Clockworks are essentially dungeons that much of the time require you to team up and quest your way through. If you’ve played an MMORPG before, then this concept will undoubtedly be familiar.

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Quests are split into three tiers, and you’ll have to work your way up to the most rewarding tasks. Clockworks are accessed via gates in the Arcade area of Haven. The whole thing is spiced up by having both active and dormant gates within this area. Dormant gates require players to actively spend minerals in order to access them, meaning there should be a decent variety of quests to choose from at any given time.

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Clockworks will introduce the player to adorable monsters, pickups and treasure boxes along the way. There are hordes of enemies, hazards and breakables to smash along the way, and all the while you’ll be collecting resources for bigger and better upgrades.

Starting Out

Once you’ve registered for an account, and clicked Play, Spiral Knights will download. When this download has completed, the game will launch in a new window and you’ll be able to login or simply continue from where you were. If it’s your first game you’ll need to design a character, of which you can have three.

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Of course you won’t be able to wander around Haven without a heads up, and this comes in the form of the Rescue Camp. This is the area you initially start out in, after having crashed on the planet Cradle.

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Here you’ll learn everything you need to know about game mechanics, social elements and controlling your Knight. It is also at this point that you’ll be introduced to energy, an important element in the game.

There are two types of energy, mist energy and crystal energy. Your character develops 1 mist energy every 15 minutes of playtime, with a maximum of 100 energy stored at any particular time. Crystal energy can be purchased with US dollars, and can be stored in higher amounts.

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Energy is used for nearly everything in the game, from your very first steps out of the Rescue Camp to unlocking tougher, more rewarding Clockworks. As you’d expect, there are plenty of weapons to come across including swords and handguns, with unique powers to unleash across the world.

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For a free browser MMO, Spiral Knights is a surprisingly deep game with plenty of rewards in store for those willing to invest the time.

Conclusion

If MMORPGs are your thing, Spiral Knights is probably worth a shot. There are a distinct lack of good free and accessible games in such a successful genre and the use of Java means Windows, Mac and Linux users can play together nicely. Hats off to Sega for publishing a truly unique online gem for the Internet’s favourite price.

Have you played Spiral Knights? Any other MMO role playing games you enjoy? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Thiafy
    April 28, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Vindictus is another good MMO, and it's a lot prettier, with what looks to be a similar payment plan (you pay to do TONS of dungeons all in one day, or you play somewhat casually for free). No clue if it's better or worse overall, just throwing that out there. :)

    • Tim Brookes
      April 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Thanks for the tip, I'll be checking it out. Looks like it's powered by Valve's Source engine, which is good by me!

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    April 21, 2011 at 5:08 am

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  3. Djangelic
    April 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    also want to give it a spin... looks like fun!

  4. Sahan
    April 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Seems cool. Gonna give it a try :D

  5. Morean
    April 19, 2011 at 9:20 am

    cool one i was looking for this type of browser

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