I am fascinated by the idea of the magical just underneath the surface of the mundane. I think lots of us are to judge by the amount of stories are built around that idea and how well they do.
Today I came across Shadow Cities, a free App for the iPhone which claims to be a MMO that used augmented reality. Intrigued I downloaded the game to see what it was all about. The game starts with a little history, 600 years ago the magic was torn out of our world and now it seems it’s back and if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the world.
The game asks first what faction would you like to belong, either the Animators or the Architects. If you wish to play with a friend you’ll want to join their faction otherwise it doesn’t matter for the story (unless you like to roll-play either a modern melder of magic and machine or an adherent to the ancient ways). The game itself is overlayed a map of your local area so all town centres, landmarks and street names are Town Centres are denoted as gateways that can be owned by a Shadow Lord (of either faction) or be neutral.
I’ve only bashed up spirits at the present but the idea is to form a team and take over and hold areas for the faction. If you want a tiny idea of the game check out this Youtube video. Using symbols drawn on the screen you cast spells of attack, healing, ward and many others. As you do spells you use up mana which you collect by performing tasks for the faction. Of course you also gain experience and Attribute Points that allow you to modify your character.
Spirits many ever increasing sizes and give equivalent amounts of experience and energy. Though you can tackle anything that comes into your area but spirits (denoted by numbers of stars) are heavy hitters and you will very quickly find yourself banished. The mana and health do regenerate so you can sit back knock off small fry spirits for experience and not use up valuable vials of mana that you collect through the game.
As you move around in the real world so too do you change locations in the game so changing the environment you find yourself. It could be interesting if you’re an Animator who’s workplace is owned by the Architect faction!
Battle is a little hairy as your screen distorts and the vibrator whirls informing you of a hit. There’s no doubt when you take damage and the spirits can deal some nasty blows. You don’t die in the game but are banished for a small amount of time which could be life and death to a party if you’re out just a few seconds too long.
Shadow Cities is a fascinating game that is sure to inspire many posts and fan fiction spinoffs. If you’d like to sign up check out the app store or by following this link and remember the only right side to choose is the Animators.