By Carolyn Koh From Inside Social Games
Martial Arts Masters is a strategy game, rather than a combat game a la Shadow Fight. Players take the role of a fighter within a dojo and then go out to fight other players in an asynchronous fight that is represented by a progression bar. The strategy comes from the six different dojo styles players may choose from: Taekwando, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing) and Boxing. Each style has an advantage over another style for a sort of rock-paper-scissors dynamic. Players pick opponents from a random list ranked by number of fighters in the dojo and by level, or they may challenge their friends to a bout. Each bout contributes to the player’s overall level, which in turn earns statistic points to apply toward the fighting styles, or Spirit and Energy gauges.
Players can recruit as many friends as they wish make up a team, which ultimately determines the power of your dojo depending on the strength and level of each fighter, plus any equipped items. Players are placed in regional groups depending on their hometown location listed in their Facebook profile. Leaderboards show where the player stands within their region and players can seek out top-ranked players within other regions to challenge.
At the lower levels, the game is mainly about training your fighter to challenge weaker opponents. As the game progresses, the player’s dojo takes on a rating of dishonorable, competitive, or hero — dishonorable being reserved for dojos that only challenge dojos far weaker than their own. The game takes off at the higher levels with large dojos earning access to new features. For example, there is a Challenge Tours mode that allows players with enough Spirit to take on eight different dojos at a time. Players can also take on an entire region and challenge dojos that have been placed on a blacklist.
We’re not entirely certain what gets a dojo blacklisted — a glance at the option reveals both Dishonorable dojos as well as Hero dojos. A blacklisted dojo, however, carries a cash bounty for the player that defeats it.
Higher level players can also purchase game modes with 20 gold bars or Manic Cash. One of these modes is Hard Core, which allows a player to earn twice the experience for wins. Losing in Hard Core mode, however, results in a loss of experience points for a uniquely punitive approach to gameplay. Also in this mode, players are vulnerable to challenges whether or not they are online.
Monetization comes from an offer wall, or the purchase of Manic Cash or gold bars in exchange for Facebook Credits. Manic Cash is used to buy equipment and dojo items that increase power or shorten wait times by refilling Energy or Spirit. Interestingly, all items purchased by Manic Cash can also be purchased with gold bars — even though gold bars are more difficult to come by in-game as the player only earns one per level gained.
Subscribe to Daily Browser Games News!