Sparta: War of Empires

management historical war

Sparta: War of Empires brings you to an ancient greek world, where city-states endlessly fight or unite for domination, glory and cash. Apparently, the reference historical setting is the one of the Second Persian War (made famous by the movies), at the time when the greek cities (or poleis) united to face the persian ... read >>


Supremacy 1914

war 1 strategy 1 historical 1

In Supremacy 1914 each player is the leader of one historical nation, and can use diplomacy or force to subjugate enemy territories, build powerful economies, and rule entire continents. Although many other browser-based games promised us the same exciting experience, this game by Bitro Labs is by far above them all. ... read >>

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Mafia Returns

mafia 1 RPG fighting reality 1

Mafia Returns  in short
pros cons
good community limited actions
intricate relations
originality 7 details 5
care 6 diversity 6
experience 8 longevity 8
graphics 5 multiplayer 9
would you recommend it?

I am not a big fan of Mafia games, but I must admit I was intrigued by this title by Crooked Studios. The game introduction serves the purpose of making things clear: this is not a fancy depiction of the trans-oceanic Cosa Nostra:

"I assure you, there has been NO mistake." the man behind you growls into your ear as he presses the cold steel of the .45 deeper into the crown of your skull. "The money, I'm sorry... It was the money!" you cry back in a humiliating attempt at saving your own life.
Several hours later, you are found by police with urine-soaked pants and a 50 dollar bill stuffed firmly into the back of your throat. You didn't live.

Not knowing whether this was worth wasting my scarce gaming time on a Mafia game, I started looking around for comments, hints. But found nothing apart from a set of good comments on a website, but only too good not to be suspicious. No reviews or anything explicit about the game... even the wiki seemed reticent to me: "I know nothing... Mafia ? Never heard, now leave me alone!". Well, this is exactly how a Mafia Game should be... so I decided to try.

The first impression of Mafia Returns - The Game is not the most inviting. The interface is very minimal, definitely austere. The tutorial does not provide much insights on the mechanics, but merely guides you through your first drug sale. There is no resemblance of any graphical element, map, piece of equipment, cash.

The options are very limited as well, and this penalises the diversity. By looking at the screen, there are three main groups of activities, that seem to have the very same relevance in this game:

  • Profit: this is where you can find work, buy/sell drugs and gamble. The first consist in clicking a button to receive automatic cash, but the nice idea is that the work is performed for a real family formed by players, which does benefit from your work. The second profit opportunity consists in buying drugs, travel to a different suburb or city and sell for more money (some more clicking on buttons). The last is a set of gambling games (roulette, poker, etc) which makes use of what seems to be a third-party plugin.
  • Action: here you can try to hit a player, one of his bodyguards, or perform a duel. You can also partake in several nice enterprises like graverobbing and pickpoketing. To "wack" a player or one of his bodyguards you need to know your target, and this is one core aspect of the game, on which I will comment in a second.
  • Comm: forums, chat, and the usual stuff. To be noticed that this is placed at the same level as the rest: in Mafia Return the "social" level is fundamental!

To explain the last statement, you need to look at how hitting another player works. First, you need to know your guy. Second, your action may have witnesses, and you have to be always aware of the consequences. In this game you can not pick your target randomly, or you career could (and probably will) be short. So you have to have allies (your family or gang) and ask permission to hit certain targets (playing characters, corrupt agents or bodyguards). Moreover, any city and district has its own rules, so you have to keep those sticked on your monitor for a while, before you move your fat fingers on the wrong key. Even pickpocketing may lead to disputes, and you know how those end up when there are automatic guns in the picture.

This obviously leads to an intricate web of relationships, protections, favours, permissions. And it should be like this. Definitely the strong point of this game, but also a down point if you look for a game you can play as alone wolf (which you shouldn't). You start as a small tug, and you can end up being Chairman or Godfather.. it's a matter playing well your cards (and bullets).

Another cool idea is the character creation. You are given the choice to randomly generate your initial stats (almost all stats can be trained later, at different speed) or answer some questions. This is something I honestly loved, and it is not common at all in a browser game. It definitely constitutes a nice addition to a character-driven game.

In conclusion I found a lot of good ideas, even though it needs way much more diversity, exploration and quests to meet my taste. Recommended anyway.

Mafia Returns ()
VideoGame > Browser Game (web browser)
Mafia Returns, mafia, RPG, fighting, reality browser game
Score: 62 out of 100

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