I haven’t been the best citizen when it comes to supporting Malaysian-made entertainment.
For the most part, I’ve been ignorant in acknowledging the gems that emerge from our local studios, and I can confidently say that I’m wrong for doing so.
(I’d also like to blame my crappy 16GB iPhone 6s for disabling me from even downloading these games in the first place).
RPGs aren’t my go-to genre because they require a certain amount of immersion (and thus attention and brainpower) but with the recent release of Masketeers: Idle Has Fallen by Malaysian studio Appxplore, I thought I’d try one for the first time.
Masketeers is slightly different, being that it’s an idle RPG, meaning that I could leave it alone and it’d still play and progress on its own.
It sounded like the perfect game for me, and I was looking forward to playing-but-not-playing it.
A Quick Introduction, Literally
At the beginning, there was a bit of comic-style introduction to the reason why you would become a Masketeer to fight the evil Wraiths.
I didn’t feel very drawn or attached to the story as I didn’t even know or care about the character I was playing as, since the introduction was so brief.
All I learnt was that Wraiths were possessing the lands my character lived in, and so I was given a mask that would bestow powers upon me to fight them.
After that, I was thrown right in.
It was pretty overwhelming at first. Tutorials would pop up non-stop for the first 10 minutes of play, and I was introduced to so many elements I would forget the moment the tutorial disappeared.
Sparks, Runes, Relics, Guardians… I was getting lost, so I simply focused on just fighting Wraiths at first.
Boy, Do I Love Immediate Gratification
This game makes you feel like a real winner.
At the bottom of the screen are slots that fill up with Orbs, similar to those bowling bowl conveyor belts.
Each Orb corresponds to a Masketeer, and as you click on each Orb, your character would get a boost that helps them beat the Wraith(s) faster.
Enemies kept rolling in, but they were super easy to beat. I soon gained a few more Masketeer companions, and together we kept beating Wraith ass.
Well, they did it on their own mostly, but I helped out by clicking orbs whenever I could.
Levelling up happened super-fast; I was surpassing levels at the speed of light, with my fingers tapping away and my eyes glazing over.
I kept gaining new powers and abilities, and soon I was able to weave orbs together for more powerful moves.
When I first started up Masketeers, I had planned to play only for half an hour.
But 3 hours later, I was still stuck to the couch, engrossed with levelling up and improving the skills of my Masketeers.
Everything was going so well…
I Thought I Was Invincible
Hah! No way I could lose the game, I had proudly thought to myself, circa hour two of playing.
These dumb Wraiths were just too weak, and the game was engineered so that losing was impossible, or at least tough to achieve.
Where was the challenge in this then? I began feeling a little dissatisfied at my easy wins.
As if realising this, the game suddenly pitted me against a boss that was different from all the bosses I had faced so far.
The others had been small fry that my Masketeers got rid of easily. But perhaps I hadn’t spent my Sparks (they’re like the “money” that you need to level up) smartly enough, and now I was going to die.
My Masketeers that had been thriving earlier began getting battered by this boss, and one by one they dropped as their health bars were decimated.
The moment the first one dropped, my world went grey. In-game, I mean. The background literally went grey, and even the music changed into something more sombre.
I began panicking. I had gotten too cocky.
Miraculously, my first and strongest Masketeer carried the team to victory even with his comrades all down, although I was watching his own health bar decrease by the seconds.
Thankfully, recovering once the boss was beat was pretty easy—all I had to do was tap the (greyed-out) Orbs of my fallen Masketeers.
The grey background lingered for a while, but eventually it returned to its normal colourful state.
Needless to say, the next time I faced a boss, I was smarter about it.
What I Learnt
Damage isn’t the most important skill in the game. I was too focused on trying to cause the most damage that I had left my barrier and recovery skills too low.
In order to play the game well, I had to balance both. While I initially hesitated to spend my Sparks on barriers and health, I now understood the consequences of not doing so.
My poor, cute Masketeers would suffer.
I can’t say that I’m a pro at the game yet after having only played it for several hours a day for a week, but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it.
Furthermore, I now see the appeal of idle RPGs. They can be super addictive if you’re someone who loves instant gratification, and while it’s possible I might grow bored or weary of it soon, it hasn’t happened yet.
There isn’t much story to Masketeers after the initial introduction, so in terms of immersion, I’d say it’s pretty low.
However, I have grown attached to the characters, and I have my favourite Masketeers.
Overall, Masketeers: Idle Has Fallen is a lovely idle RPG with fantastic art and intriguing elements, from Transcending (basically going back to noob status, but with greater growth potential—I do this when I begin feeling invincible again), to its Orb puzzles (strategising the best move to link them up without “wasting” others).
For a game that I thought I’d spend no more than 30 minutes on, I’ll still be playing this for a while longer.
That in itself marks a major dub for Appxplore.