Create your own character and begin your Maple adventure.
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

<strong>Mild Violence</strong> Mild, bloodless violence against monsters. Monsters disappear when defeated.<p> <strong>Scantily Clad Women</strong> Some NPC's wear bikini-like outfits, player character can be seen in underwear</p><p> <strong>Spiritual Overtones</strong> Mage job is available, some fantasy magic use, item called "Charm of the Undead," One enemy is a witch, player character turns into ghost when defeated.</p><p> <strong>Language</strong> Other players may use foul language.</p>

Author's Disclaimer: This review was written and published in 2009. While the core content areas of MapleStory remain the same, new content is being added to the game on a semi-regular basis. This review may or may not reflect the new additions.

I was told about MapleStory by a friend. At first, I was somewhat skeptical of this game as I had a fairly negative outlook on any MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). After some persistent hounding from my friend and an upgrade to my internet connection, I decided to download MapleStory, MS as it's sometimes known, and try it. I'm glad I did.

MapleStory is a game with no real story to speak of. Players begin by creating a custom character though the initial character choices are somewhat limited. Characters choose the gender, face, hair color and style, clothing style and color, and starting weapon, either a sword, axe, or club. Players can also randomize their character's stats if they first choice doesn't turn out the way they want. Stats play an important role later. Once they create their character, the player begins on Maple Island, a training ground of sorts. Players accept quests, fight monsters, and build up EXP in this cel-shaded, cartoon-like environment. Once the player reaches a certain level, they can head to Victoria Island to accept their first job in one of four classes: Warrior, Bowman, Theif, and Magician. The cycle then begins again, and players eventually branch out into other words and enter classes like Ranger, Fighter, Swordman, Paladin, Assassin, and Cleric. And I haven't even touched on the interactions with other players, forming parties and guilds. As you can see, this is a huge game, and it would take a book to describe every aspect.


Offensive Content

You stab, shoot, club, and blast with magic a variety of monsters ranging from snails, walking tree stumps, hopping mushrooms, pigs, and animated slime balls. All of the violence however is very mild and cartoon-like. Enemies get wide-eyed when struck and only fall and disappear when defeated. There's no blood or gore to be found here.

It's hard to rate this since all the bad language I've seen comes from fellow players. Although the site creators ask you to keep it squeaky-clean, that doesn't usually stop the offenders. Chances are you'll want to avoid this game if language is a real problem.


Sexual Content:
Apart from one NPC character who dresses in a Princess Leia-style binki, there's nothing to fear in this area. You also have the option to remove your character's clothing, but they're shown in undershirts and shorts. I've played long enough to know there is no nudity or anything filthy in this game.

Spiritual Content:
This is another tricky area for parents and players. Your character has the option to become a Magician and from there a Fire/Poison or Ice/Lightning Mage, or a Cleric. Magic is used but it's more of a fantasy-style magic. Players attack with fireballs, ice, and lightning. The Cleric uses magic to restore HP, hit-points. There's no reference to witchcraft or real occultic material. One enemy is called a Zombie Mushroom, and it sometimes drops an item called the Charm of the Undead, but this is the only instance I've seen of an “undead” enemy. If your character dies, they'll also turn into a ghost before you reset to the last town you were in before you died.

Other Areas of Concern:
This game is hard to put down. You'll be surprised how fast time goes. One minute you start playing; the next minute, a whole hour has gone by. If you or your child has the tendency to become addicted to games, this might not be the game for you. However, if you put your priorities first and know when to put the game down, this isn't a real problem.


Overall, MapleStory is a real blast to play. I would recommend it for more mature players though, as they might not become so engrossed in the game it becomes a problem. I've heard of cases where people played other online games, like EverQuest, and it became like a drug to them. So, naturally you have a well-founded concern with any online video game. Add to it that magic is present and some players, some but not all, deserve to have a bar of soap stuck in their mouths, and you'd have a fine reason not to play this game. But that doesn't mean MapleStory is a bad game. In fact, I've heard of people using these types of games as tools to witness to others. All in all, if your kid wants to play this game, talk it over first and set clear limits on when they can play.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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