Today I'll be taking a look at a Racing MMO - Tales Runner! Think of it as Pangya minus the golf, plus olympic marathon running, and platforming! The anime-style characters are somewhat charming, and the game provides you with four starter characters (I picked Ming Ming for my review), with a maximum of 10 attainable (some via the in-game cash shop).
The premise of Tales Runner is simple - take part in an 8, or if you're feeling gung-ho, 30 player (Only in Individual) dash-to-the-Finish-Line free for all race. There are 4 play modes, Individual, Team, Relay and Survival mode. In Individual, first to cross the finish line wins. In Team, the first person through wins it. Relay - baton passing. Survival mode is simply "First across", or "Last survivor across,". Interesting.
I highly recommend playing the Tutorial just to get a hang of the controls - most of the basic techniques are covered, especially landing and getting a free dash from high jumps, and also Super jump dashing. These are just some of the essentials required to keep up with some of the more seasoned players. During the first few seconds of free falling, hammer the Jump key to fall faster. To get a free dash, just hit the Dash key before hitting the ground. If you hit the key too early, you land "safely" (slight delay). If you don't hit the key at all, or miss the timing, you crash, quite painfully (long delay).
Basic maps involve running away from the screen, around a small track, and jumping over small obstacles. When playing with a group of people, the map also provides items that can be used to set traps for runners behind you, or chase runners in front of you with a slow-down attack, or give you a boost in running speed! Additionally, if you get hit by too many traps/run into objects/fall into pits, the Fury gauge will build up, and when it hits maximum, you can turn on Fury mode. In this mode, your character gains a VERY POWERFUL speed boost. If you cross the finish line first - good for you. For the rest of the runners, there's a certain time limit imposed to get across the finish line, otherwise you get slapped with a DID NOT FINISH (and consequently get less EXP and TR points). Winning nets you prizes, and also alchemy cards, which you can use in combining items.
Other game modes include running sideways ala platforming style, and also a run-towards-the-screen mode. The Survival map I tried playing involved running away from a giant octopus that spat out rows of lightning - these can be easily avoided by timing jumps and dodging.
Tales Runner also has a new Animal Racing mode, where your character rides a creature that takes over the job of running for you (In my case, a baby chick). The game remains pretty much the same, with the exception of that the animal can drift (I haven't tried if this works in normal mode, but my guess is no) to take hard corners, plus smashing into object will let you gain more of the Fury gauge. Fun stuff!
I wanted to cover more content like the Farm and The Park, but I believe some content should be experienced by yourself to gain more satisfaction from gameplay (and also because I don't want to bore you with a long-winded review).
Bottom line is - Tales Runner is a throwback to the old Playstation racing/kart games like Chocobo Racing and Crash Team Racing, turns it into an online MMO, and does a bloody good job at it. Other than, perhaps a graphics update to this game, there are very little complaints to be had. Great game, and great fun!