Game Review: Build A Strategic Empire In Sony's PoxNora

-Poxnora Logo-Sony Online Entertainment’s PoxNora is a strategy RPG that was ported to Facebook just a few weeks ago, and we’ve had the chance to put the game through its paces. It’s a solid strategy game that demands a high level of patience and concentration to master. The multiplayer elements of the game are elaborate and require each player to spend a few hours playing the game. Think of popular collectible card games (CCGs) like Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering, but imagine them played across Facebook.

  • Title: PoxNora for Facebook
  • Genre: Strategy RPG, Collectible Card Game
  • Game Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
  • Game Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
  • Released: 2010

poxnora12

Summary:

Pros:

Clean interface. Balanced gameplay. A wide assortment of cards and players. Casual and ranked match options.

Cons:

Average sound effects. Not enough social features.

Full Review:

Gameplay:

At its core, PoxNora is a game where users collect cards that have statistical values and pit them against one another in an attempt to defeat the other player. The cards themselves come in a variety of types, but the essential card is the “champion” card, which represents a character that can be placed on the game board. This hero can then be moved around based on his movement abilities, and augmented using other cards. Each turn, players get more cards from the deck, and are able to deploy those in battle. The ultimate goal is to defeat the other player by destroying their home base, which is represented as an orb on the playing field.

As the game continues, there are resources on the game board that can be obtained by either team, and those allow players to deploy their characters at the resource points. This makes the game essentially a competition to own the map, and proper strategy consists of a series of waves of attacks that slowly push the opposing team backwards. Strategy players will find the game extremely rewarding, as each character has a plethora of statistics and available moves, and each character is counterbalanced by another player in a paper-scissors-rock style. There is an immense amount of satisfaction in finally finishing an opponent after an hour long campaign, and the fact that you keep the cards you’ve gained means your empire builds not just within the battle, but for as long as you play the game.

There are various ways to play the game. Single player mode allows you to choose a bunch of campaigns where you play against the computer, and this is strongly recommended before you venture out to play against real players. The casual area allows you to play completely unranked matches, where players don’t lose cards. Ranked matches are where the experts go, and players who win increase their ranked score while the losing player loses their rank. These matches are extremely exciting and the fact that there is a lot on the line means you’d better reserve some time to pay attention before you start this. There is also a chat area where you can chat with other players who are online and waiting to start a game.

poxnora1Presentation:

The presentation in PoxNora is excellent. The visuals across the game are good, and the clean interface makes it easy to get started. A tutorial mode has handy on screen overlays that point you in the direction of the various functions of the game (and there are many), and once you get the hang of it the PoxNora interface feels very intuitive. The graphics are nice, and the terrains of each of the maps (presented in an isometric view) are diverse and appealing. There is a mythology behind the PoxNora world, so you often find yourself battling in areas with a history, and the history may affect some of your characters on top of that.

The sounds are good, but not great. Spells and attacks have somewhat blunt sounds, and there isn’t a whole lot of variety. That said, it serves the purpose and does bring the game world to life in a way that other Facebook games lack.

An interesting element of PoxNora is that you can play the game on Facebook, on the web site, or download the game for your PC or Mac. All the games are completely interoperable, and the downloadable and site versions are more appealing to the eye because there’s more available real-estate (no Facebook frame around the game). Worth a shot and a nice feature that we’ll probably be seeing more of. Would love to have had a full-screen mode in the game as well a la Farmville, but seeing as the game uses Java it may be a bit tricker for developers.

Lasting Appeal:

The main element of lasting appeal for PoxNora is the multiplayer. Playing against real life opponents in a game of this caliber is a real treat, and something that will become more enjoyable the more you play it. The number of cards available to use is immense, and there are even special cards that you can only purchase. The collecter/gamer will love trying to complete his/her deck, and this game makes that a fun experience, because the more you play, the more cards you get. There are some extremely rare cards out there as well, and I’m sure we’ll see some of the black market sites offering players the ability to buy and sell them in no time.

Sociability:

The game is mostly about competition, and the social elements aren’t as plenty as they could be. When you go into the multiplayer room it’s pretty much a list of games that isn’t sortable, and that means it can be tough to find a specific type of game. The main social element other than chat is the Rune Trader, where I can post and see requested trades. This is pretty sweet, and allows me to find great cards and make deals, but isn’t really as social as it could be. I want to see clans and gifting bonuses, but those aren’t in this game.