Nothing says "summer" quite like hundreds of video games jam-packed into some convention center in California. And on a completely unrelated note, GamersFirst is showing off Brazilian developer Hoplon's free online space shooter, Taikodom. Taikodom lets you play as a spacefaring adventurer navigating the reaches of a futuristic Milky Way in search of fame and fortune, mining resources and blasting hostile enemies, crafting items, and getting into some player-versus-player battles.
Who's Making This Game: Hoplon, a Brazilian studio that has already launched the game in Brazil, along with a series of Taikodom novels and comic books.
What the Game Looks Like: The game looks like a colorful space shooter, somewhat reminiscent of Digital Anvil's Freelancer in that the flight model seems to use lenient, arcade-style physics.
What There Is to Do: Create a character from one of four professions, and then explore the vastness of space in one of four classes of ship (fighter, bomber, scout, or cargo holder). You'll probably get access to more ships faster if you join up with a corporation, the game's equivalent of a player guild. While you're space-borne, you can mine for minerals in asteroid fields that appear in node areas around certain planets; fight enemy ships and destroy them for their loot (which can include resources); use resources to craft ship weapons and other enhancements, as well as actual ships; and engage in player-versus-player battles, though if you actively prey on defenseless players, you'll become an official enemy of your victim's corporation and be blacklisted as part of Taikodom's developing discipline system for grief players.
How the Game Is Played: You use the WASD keys to maneuver your ship and fire by left-clicking your mouse. In combat, if your ship is equipped with missiles, you may have a double targeting reticle, and lining up both reticles on target will get you missile lock. Given that this is a free-to-play game, there will also be a "cash-op" online store that will let you purchase in-game items, though these items will primarily be limited to convenience stuff that won't directly make you more powerful, such as an item that temporarily increases the rate at which you gain experience points.
What They Say: Taikodom will be a fun, accessible game that will strongly encourage social networking.
What We Say: We didn't really get a chance to see any of what will encourage Taikodom players to become fast friends, but the game seems interesting enough as a no-cost space shooter. There's no finalized release date, but GamersFirst hopes to relaunch the game outside of Brazil by year's end.