Maple Story is an MMORPG (massively multi player online role playing game) that is also a side-scroller (comparable to games like Tomba! [1 and 2] and a mixture of Super Mario RPG [in a roundabout kind of way]). You play as your character whom starts off as a beginner; and upon reaching a certain level you can advance into your first class. The job engine isn’t very unique at all, as it steals the normal engine from the most primitive RPGs (1st job, then 2nd job, so on and so on). However, unlike many other MMORPGs, you get a sense of accomplishment as leveling is a bit more difficult (a bit too difficult at times). Many of the players end up leaving Maple Story around level 15 because it becomes too much of a hassle of playing; no longer are the levels somewhat difficult, but with is still within reasoning but they become unnecessarily difficult for players who haven’t the patient to continue leveling the same character until a semi-strong level.
Wizet has expanded its ability to play Maple Story by leasing out the license to have Maple Story servers to other companies. The problem with this though, is that Maple Global (the international one, for the most part) lacks some updates compared to those that are using actual licensed versions [as maple global is wizet's personal server]. The controls are a bit self-explanatory as their shortkey list is in the lower right-hand corner and is large enough for you to see. For moving, you’re stuck with the arrow keys (none of that ‘wads’ moving) and attacking is customizable [default is cntrl however]. Seeing as it has some side-scoller features (mainly graphics and control altogether), I suggest using a controller for Maple Story. It may take some time to configure your controller for Maple Story, but once it’s finished you’ll have difficulty going back to your keyboard even to type to other players.
The soundtrack isn’t all that impressive; most of the music has been in other games prior to Maple Story (or at least are variations of them). Monster grunts and routine sounds (jumping, picking up currency, and spells) are very plain and boring. My only suggestion to make sure you don’t fall asleep during a long period of leveling would be to disable sounds altogether and throw on your favourite playlist on winamp and let the tunes rock you throughout the day. Otherwise, I’m sure many people won’t be capable of handle leveling after their threshold of the default music and sound effects. Perhaps at a later period of Maple, there will be more interesting OST tracks to keep its higher leveled players awake.
Seeing as Maple Story has side-scrolling elements, I must admit that it also bares the ‘required’ 2-D graphical engine. Newer gamers will more than likely be turned off by it, but those that want that cutesy avatar look will be attracted to it. Seeing as your armor and weapons are visible [unlike some games] upon equipping them, many people play just for the sakes of its cuteness. Veteran gamers won’t mind the side-scrolling concept; in fact, it does please quite a few. There’s nothing overly impressive about the graphics, since a SNES is just as capable of playing Maple Story as a PC in this case. I have seen the graphics improve over the course if the game’s existence. One good feature is that if your PC isn’t capable of handling the graphics (for whatever unknown reason), you can lower the graphical engine down to that of an 8-bit system (or nearly). Bad news is that the game becomes pixelated and difficult to play unless you train your eye to it. Good news is that if you’re downloading something massive, you can still play Maple Story without much lag.
The gameplaying factor isn’t all that original or unique either; but it’s enough to keep the player interested besides leveling. There are literally dozens of quests that you can do that will not only give you nice items, but will help you with that level you had been working on for a day as well. You can make your equipment or arrows by mini-quests (ie: finding items and compounding them into a piece of equipment) if you don’t have the money to actually buy the item [although, some equipment will require you to make them and you can't buy them at all]. My final thoughts is that even though it may follow a routine MMORPG engine and style of gameplay, it’s just one of those games that are really up to the player to decide if it’s for them or not.
Some, like myself, are only out to make one rather powerful character and then move onto another game or (quite possibly) another character. The controls are great for those who have a controller to use (I’m using a Logitech Precision Pad) but the keyboard controls are just as easy to get used to.