I am sure most of you German speakers, native or not, have at one moment or other heard of Shakes and Fidget. Hell, even I did, and the only word I know is “danke”… Oh, and “bier” (!). So for those of you who don’t have a clue, Shakes and Fidget is an online comic, made by a German team. The main characters are a coward warrior named Shakes and his mage friend, Fidget. All you need to know is that this is a World of Warcraft parody, so good that Blizzard thought about censoring it. I’ll let you find out the rest at http://www.shakes-and-fidget.com/. Of course, German is a must.
Now back to our business – the game. At first sight, it seems just another browser-based RPG with a cartoonish style. Well, that’s true. But what’s also true is that’s the only similarity with other games. As the comics, Shakes and Fidget – The Game tries to ridicule its bigger, stand-alone brothers and does it exceptionally well.
First thing to notice are the graphics. Though cartoonish, the background and characters are very well made with much attention given to details. If you look anywhere, careful enough, you will notice many funny things that give the game a special flavor. The developers tried to make everything look amusing and they did it so as to look natural. Nothing looks forced, or out of place. Animations and sounds also fit perfectly, though acoustic effects like the ones for finishing a quest or battle and the sounds of weapons tend to become repetitive rather soon.
The gameplay, though somewhat simple, becomes quite complex taken as a whole. First time you enter the game you are required to choose a race and a class: Mage, Warrior and Scout. On the other hand, there are eight races, equally distributed between good and evil, just like World of Warcraft. Each of them offers certain advantages, quite useful at the beginning but loosing significance as your level increases. All there’s left to do is pick a name, and the adventure may begin.
There are quite a few things you can do, which will keep you busy. Of course, there are quests. Every time you visit the tavern, there’s a dubious looking hero that is eager to have you do even more dubious things for him. I recommend reading the descriptions, as they’ll make you roll on the floor laughing. From quests you get money, experience and different items. Then there’s the arena, where every 10 minutes you can challenge a fellow player. You win, you get part of his money, you lose… let’s hope it doesn’t happen. As with any MMO, you can also go into dungeons. For this you need keys, which can be earned from quests or sometimes bought from the shop. But beware; enemies here are much more difficult to kill. In return, the rewards are also high.
Now to one of the most interesting parts of the game, in my opinion – the guilds. Anyone can create one, all you need is a small fee in gold. But unlike many other games, they’re not there just so. In Shakes and Fidget, being in a guild is a must, especially at higher levels. Each guild has three attributes that can be upgraded, and just as your skills, gold is needed, usually from player donations. The fortress is the one that sets the maximum number of members, the higher the treasure, the more money players gained from quests, and with the instructor, the experience is higher. Guild wars are also fun, with the winner earning a hefty chunk of experience.
For those of you who like to praise themselves, there are medals that are awarded for things like getting a lot of gold, inviting friends, working, or earning honor in the arena. Also, if you like gambling, a strange guy is always in a corner of the tavern, waiting for your money. Besides the usual shops, there is also a stable from where you can get mounts, ranging from mighty cows or pigs to griffins that make the time necessary for quests shorter.
I never said anything about the item mall. Well, because there isn’t any. But there are mushrooms. These can only be bought with real money, and are annoyingly useful. Want more time for quests? Use a mushroom. Tired of waiting to finish it? Use a mushroom. Don’t want to wait 10 minutes after each fight in the arena and one hour for every dungeon raid? Exactly! Use a mushroom. Furthermore, some items in the store, the best mounts and increasing the guild attributes past a certain level also require mushrooms. Fortunately they sometimes may be found during quests, and you can still play without them, though it takes a little longer.
Many games think too serious about themselves. Sometimes it’s better to have a little fun. Although at first you might take it lightly, as you play you’ll notice that underneath the amusing side of the game there’s a rather serious and complex free MMO that will certainly keep you hooked. It definitely got me. No matter what, you too must give it a shot!
by Sicaru Adrian