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Asiasoft’s first English-language mobile game offering is a complete dud

Asiasoft’s first English-language mobile game offering is a complete dud

| June 6, 2014

 

At Games in Asia, we believe in supporting the gaming ecosystem. We have a soft spot especially for indie developers, and if an indie game isn’t up to scratch, we usually choose not to feature it rather than beat it down.

Yesterday, though, I found out that Asiasoft signed a game called Minox SEA, formerly just called Minox. It was being promoted via posters pinned up in a Comics Connection store in Singapore, and boasted the use of @cash for its microtransactions. It is also published on Google Play under Asiasoft’s Playpark brand.

Help, my eyes.

Help, my eyes.

Minox SEA is Asiasoft’s first English-language mobile offering and the first Southeast Asia-developed game on its mobile portfolio; the game was developed by a Singapore-based developer. But after waiting in anticipation of what Asiasoft would offer by way of mobile games, Minox SEA is hardly what I was expecting from the reputable industry giant.

(See: Win up to S$1,750 in cash at Asiasoft’s inaugural Strife Rookie Tournament)

Minox SEA is a mash-up of Pokemon and Maplestory, and allows players to wander through a platform-based world and do battle with pets. These pets can also be captured, and players can fight in larger tournaments to try to be the very best. It sounds like a decent enough game, but it’s not.

There is no way to be kind: Minox SEA is an embarrassingly bad game with on-screen buttons, a horrendous UI, and visuals worse than what I see when I visit schools offering gaming diplomas. I first tried it at a local gaming expo last year and I was simultaneously horrified and terrified, and couldn’t run away from the person demonstrating it to me quickly enough. I have no idea why Asiasoft decided it should be their first pick for mobile games, or why it even got signed.

Help my eyes are on fire.

Help my eyes are on fire.

When asked why Asiasoft chose to sign that monstrosity over all the other brilliant mobile games in the region, Gerry Ung, regional director of Asiasoft’s mobile division, said via a PR representative that Minox SEA’s gameplay model is very similar to the MMORPGs Asiasoft is well known for, and went on to feed me a huge spoonful of marketing on what Minox SEA was all about. He rounded up the email by saying that the development studio, Ubergamers, is “one of Asiasoft’s many valuable mobile development partners.”

(See: Singapore: drinking Gong Cha can earn you Maplestory items, yum!)

While Ung did say that interested mobile developers can contact Asiasoft’s mobile team here, the fact that Asiasoft considers a studio like Ubergamers to be a “valuable” partner, and that it thinks a PC MMORPG game can be transplanted into mobile, doesn’t bode well for the industry.

I have checked out the other Minox games developed by Ubergamers. They look bad. The studio doesn’t even bother to make sure the graphics are of the right resolution. Art is pixelated, concepts look like I could have done them. Everything. Looks. Bad. And while there are mobile MMORPGs, these are developed with the mobile gaming meta in mind; they don’t simply rip off Maplestory. As a Singaporean, it’s embarrassing that Minox SEA is a Singapore-made game. As an industry professional, it’s disappointing.

Don't want to be from the Singapore game industry any more.

Don’t want to be from the Singapore game industry any more.

Asiasoft’s first mobile title, Ragnarok Mobile TH, was a great success in Thailand, topping the country’s app charts and making a statement. Asiasoft-published MMORPGs are always sound and fun choices, and I know the company is good at building a community, running game operations, and generally for listening to its audience as well. That Asiasoft should pick up on a game that is worse than anything a tertiary level game development student can create is just baffling, and makes me wonder if the mobile team has changed, or if Ragnarok Mobile TH was just a fluke given its already-strong Ragnarok Online fanbase.

(See: Ragnarok Mobile TH tops Thailand’s app charts)

There is absolutely no blame to lay on the development studio; a studio can spend its money how it wishes, and make the games it wants. But publishers, especially publishers as reputable as Asiasoft, need to at least do their homework before giving a much coveted publishing deal to a game as horrible as Minox SEA.

It isn’t just giving unfair chances to the undeserving; in signing Minox SEA, Asiasoft has also given each and every game development studio in the region—many with games much better than Minox SEA— a slap in the face, because it is basically saying Minox SEA is better than everything else out there.

Asiasoft has a steady reputation built with care from the ground up, but if it keeps up with antics like these, I can’t say if it will keep its credibility for long. Until its different country offices start to learn from each other, and its international mobile gaming team starts playing real games, the company is probably better off staying away from that particular market, lest it stumble into yet another POS like Minox SEA. (Decipher that acronym how you will!)

 

Comments

  1. Game dev in singapore

    This is how Singapore media try to help the small infant game industry in Singapore. Instead of helping but always bitching ppl.

    WE ARE ALMOST JOBNESS now they still try to bitching.

    Check last year report:

    http://www.gamesinasia.com/japanese-game-brave-frontier-made-in-singapore-really/

  2. Game dev in singapore

    By the way, the Brave fronter makes daily 100K usd gorss in US alone not include SEA and EU. Why don’t you report that?

    http://thinkgaming.com/app-sales-data/5376/brave-frontier/

  3. Dafuq

    @Game dev in singapore

    Why are you proud of that? Brave Frontier wasn’t made in Singapore.

  4. Here is the Google Play Store link to the version that uses PlayPark’s/Asiasoft’s servers: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubergamers.minoxsea
    And the original game (using the servers by UberGamers): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubergamers.minox

    Minox needs absolutely more polishing, anyway.

  5. Game dev in singapore

    I am proud of the company because they publish and operating a top grossing game in world wide. This company is competing with Supercell, gongho and kabam games in US market. You should proud of it.

    Because their successful publishing and operation, they can created 100-200 local jobs in Singapore such expensive country to support passionate game developers to making their dream. You should proud of it.

    Instead of bitching ppl make mistake by keep trying why don’t you find some news helps and promote the game industry of Singapore? Heroes of Honor developed by Non-stop gaming, made in Singapore just got apple featured in China apple store.
    http://www.appannie.com/apps/ios/app/606106962/features/#device=iphone&daily=2014-06-05

    You know how many good game companies in Singapore can make competitive games?
    DeNA, Ubisoft, Gumi, Konami, Bandai, Koei, Nonstop … I bet less than 20.

    Do you know how many games release in CHINA, JAPAN, TAIWAN, KOREA? Countless!

    So please stop making such shallow report bitch people try to catch up eye ball.
    As news reporter the ‘games in asia’ is lack of ethics. This is not first time I seen this kind report.

    • Another Game Dev in SG

      I don’t know where you’ve been, but for a game dev in Singapore, you seem pretty poorly acquainted with the space. There are far more than 20 companies in Singapore creating profitable games, including the 6, very JAPANESE, non-Singaporean game companies you mentioned (which make great games and provide many Singaporean jobs btw).

      The media is not your friend… (Unless, perhaps, that media is SPH and you happen to be dressed in white.) Any credible media should be there to hold us accountable.

      I actually respect Mary-Ann for calling a spade a spade. Scathing as the review may be, you can tell she does it out of passion for the local industry, out of pride of what we can accomplish and what we have already, and shame that this is the front that we have to present. Believe me, the last thing we need is some review site pretending that this is a fantastic game, people really see through that.

      I believe a mindset change is in order. Not that I am ungrateful for all the support made available to local devs.. But really…

      We don’t need more mollycoddling. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

  6. Dexter Chng

    @Game dev in Singapore

    I don’t really get why are you so upset about. Any game dev worth their salt SHOULD be embarrassed developing and publishing a game of this quality! I don’t believe ‘supporting’ the local budding game dev industry should be about lying to the devs about their products.

    And if their ‘bitching’ (as you put it) is upsetting you, develop something that would make the country proud and make sure this site covers it! If it’s really good, I don’t believe they wouldn’t do so! As the saying goes, prove with your actions, not your words!

  7. James

    Well I haven’t played it, but I have to respect reviews that actually are honest about what they think. We can’t protect Singapore developers, we are developing internationally, and should be judged as such.
    And to see publishers squandering money like this is sad, when – as is mentioned there are plenty more deserving dev’s out there. Obviously we have no idea how much AsiaSoft paid for the development, it could have been nothing, leaving ubergames in a difficult situation.

  8. Calvin

    Be it mobile games client or any other forms of games before one creates them or even have and idea of what they want in their game. The first thing they’ll need to do is to do a proper market research and understand their targeted market.

    By doing so they’ll be able to create and build and ideal game according to how the market is like or would be like.

  9. Bruce Springer

    @ Game dev in singapore
    You must a special kind of stupid. A game reviewer’s job is to call out the games that are bad and commend and recommend the good ones. If a reviewer is “all-positive” what’s the damn point in being a reviewer? Readers lose respect for reviewers if they have no backbone. Why do we even like Simon Cowell? It’s because he is discerning and maintains a high standard for himself. He calls a bad song a bad song. Obviously, some people hate him but thats part of the job because many others respect him. On that note, I commend Mary-Anne for her courage and journalistic professionalism in reporting news with both a sharp and discerning eye.

    The purpose of this article is to remind publishers that their job is the find good games and bring them to their audience. When a publisher falters and signs a horrible game, the game carries the brand which this publisher has, thereby tarnishing it. Game devs fight everyday to create games that they can be proud of and show the world the crystallisation of their passion and talent. Local game companies, which you failed to mention that are making great award winning games are Witching Hour Studios (Ravenmark and Romans in my Carpet), Daylight Studios (Swords of Fate and Spirit Horizon), PD Design Studio (Dusty’s Revenge), Touch Dimensions (Autumn Dynasty Series) and many more! You obviously have no idea WTF is going on in Singapore.

    Furthermore, you must be seriously living in your own world when you say that Brave Frontier is a Made-in-Singapore game. The only media that reports this is ST’s Digital Life because they do not know any better and now people think its a Singaporean made game. WTF? Alim is the developer of this game and Gumi Asia is its publisher. Gumi has done a fabulous job and marketing the game and creating additional assets for the game but there is a definitive difference. Alim is the original developer and the creator of Brave Frontier and deserve its full credit for doing so. Don’t be stupid and try to claim credit for yourself (you are obviously a disgruntled gumi staff lol).

    -Bruce

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