Reviewed: October 3, 2006
Released: August 1, 2006
Ocotpi and FUN Games have opened Poxnora for regular gameplay and purchase of Runes on the Internet in this turn based role playing style game very reminiscent of the Dungeons & Dragons game of my youth. On August 1st, 2006 the game launched on the internet for gamers to start either playing for free using basic starter sets or to purchase their own sets using real money to buy credits. You then use credits to buy a variety of sets of what they call Runes. Runes are characters, spells, equipment or relics that you use to fight other players on the Internet in a turn based game to destroy the other player’s shrine or home base.
One of the best features about Poxnora is you can play the full game for free and never have to buy it. The basic groups of characters you use in the free game will not advance in levels but you can practice and see if you like the game before purchasing hero’s of your own. It is very similar to Dungeons & Dragons but in Poxnora they have automated all the boring details of combat using your computer on the Internet and visualized the game with some really great artwork.
Using what they term a Battlegroup you use the 20 Runes that compose characters, relics, equipment and spells to fight your opponent. At the beginning of your turn you have a number of your Runes revealed and you can play some of these according to your Nora, a kind of magic value. In order to add Runes to the playing field you need to expend Nora and each Rune has a different Nora value to add that Rune. Your Shrine or home base generates Nora and there are also Nora mines as Runes you can deploy to generate more Nora.
Each time you take your turn you generate Nora and have to decide if you want to deploy characters or other Runes to the field or just use the in play characters and save the Nora for bigger and better champions in later turns. Your champions or characters are from one of six factions with a bonus if you use 10 or 20 Runes from the same faction in your Battlegroup. Each faction has different strengths and weaknesses according to the region of the mythical lands they are from such as the Underdepths characters with fire immunity.
Characters have a wide range of weapons, magical powers and ways you use them in combat but the final goal of destroying the other player’s shrine is difficult with the huge possible combinations of Runes available. You buy Runes using real money in the Rune store on the site. Using a credit card you can buy credits from 100 credits for $1 up to 2500 credits for $25. With these credits you can buy random packs of Runes anywhere from 10 Runes for 300 credits up to 100 Runes for 2500 credits.
Each Rune pack you buy will include a certain number of common, uncommon and rare Runes with a 10% chance of a rare Rune being an even rarer one called an exotic. All the Runes you get are random as far as what faction they are from but each pack contains a certain number of champions, equipment, and spells along with the chance of getting a rare Relic.
You can trade Runes with others on the site or auction off your Runes as well as buy Runes from others using your credit to get the Rune you want. Each Rune has different strengths and weaknesses listed on the side of the screen under the picture of the object or champion. How much damage the character can inflict and how many squares they can move along with the type of attack they use are listed. Any special abilities like magic or special attacks such as taking Nora from the defeat of your opponent are also listed under the picture so you know at a glance what the Rune does.
You set up your Battlegroup as well as buy and trade Runes on your profile page before entering the gaming lobby. In the lobby for a game you start you can set the time for each turn, how much Nora is gained in each turn, terrain and who starts first. You can also join someone else’s setup game from the game lobby or view different statistics about you and other players.
When playing Poxnora you simply add champions, equipment and relics, move in play Runes around, attack, or cast spells during your turn. Your ultimate goal is destroying your opponents’ shrine using any of your Runes. With all the possible combinations of over two hundred available Runes to date you have a game that is about the strategy, practice and use of your characters and their abilities.
Across the top of the screen is your Rune pool with a couple of Runes revealed at the start of your turn according to the game setup. The time for each turn and the current players name is in one corner and a mouse click brings up the information box for Runes in play. All movement and in game plays are done with the mouse while the arrow keys move the screen around the terrain. Keeping things simple during each turn was done for maximum use of your time and gameplay is very easy from this standpoint.
Once you understand all the special terms for everything Poxnora is easy to play and very fun. The games layout is easy to understand and clicking on any character brings up all the information available for it on the side of your screen. You have only a certain amount of time to play your turn so strategy and planning play a key role in not only playing but picking your Battlegroup before play starts.
With a simple yet good-looking terrain and excellent artwork for your champions and other Runes Poxnora has excellent graphics. The game plays well with no glitching or problems. Being a turn based game the graphics need to be good looking as half the time while playing you’re watching the other player move and figuring out what you’re going to do next. There are settings for graphics to maximize your gameplay according to your system.
Poxnora has some lower system requirements and yet looks very good with a lot of attention from Octopi on the artwork for the Runes and all the other parts of the game. The game of course is all about the characters and having very good looking Runes, load screens and even the terrain makes the game more enjoyable to play. The small animations each Rune does while sitting is a neat touch and the effects like magic look very good.
Octopi is having some issues with the sound that they are working on, but it works pretty well most of the time. I only had a few times when the sound would not work but the game still played fine without it. The background music, which sounds very good, is appropriate to the setting of mythical creatures and the game in general.
Magic has that twinkling, well magical sound to it and sword and weapon hits use those metallic sounds, well you get the picture. Poxnora has some very good quality sound effects for the magic, spells and other effects when they occur and there are always settings to turn on or off various parts during gameplay.
This is the first game I have played that you can play the full-fledged game and not a portion of it without having to buy it. No huge download to wait for, you jump right into play against other Rune collectors with a basic set and the chance to kick Elf butt.
There is no game to purchase off the store shelves and very little to download but you do need Java to run the game. So once you’re done reading my review you can quickly try your hand at Poxnora after a quick download and see what you think of the game.
Poxnora games are ever changing and you always learn more about individual Rune abilities and better ways to use them. Strategies and tactics are a main part of the game and the more you play the better you will get from using your Runes but also learning from the other players. The games value is great due to the fact you don’t even need to buy it to see if you like it and then if you do the Rune packs are very cheap. You can also trade to get ones you like as opposed to being stuck with what they give you.
The characters are almost familiar if you are a fan of any of the role-playing games based on Dungeons & Dragons and you will find it easy to tell the characters apart and what their best attributes are. There are almost two hundred characters, spells, equipment and relics to get and many are trying to do just that through trading and buying from other gamers.
To start playing Poxnora you have a web profile and account to set up and then you either get your basic set or buy some Runes to start using. You start playing using a Java script program with the average game taking about a half hour unless you are really outmatched. Once complete the game kicks you back to the player lobby after a quick look at some game statistics and your ranking.
The basic packs that are free will not upgrade in levels but the ones you purchase will and that is how players get some really good Battlegroups. Also having a variety of Runes to pick from helps as you find out some champions or spells are better at certain times and in different strategies than others.
Octopi is working to improve the game as well as fix the sound issues. They have another faction set to launch any day now and a tournament coming in November 2006. They also have contests for artwork and Rune design you can submit your ideas and graphics for.
Poxnora is a great turn based strategy game that lets you try the game for free before buying anything. Try your hand at Poxnora here: http://www.poxnora.com/