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Misplaced Ark’s Mokoko island is a good instance of the game at its greatest



Mar 20, 2022

This text incorporates spoilers for Misplaced Ark’s primary questline.

Misplaced Ark is a really foolish game, however not in the way in which it initially appears. For its first 15 hours or so, Smilegate’s ARPG is like somebody described Lord of the Rings to the builders by a door, an overblown but generic riff on Western fantasy tropes with overdesigned but underwritten characters, all of whom speak concerning the game’s plainly ridiculous lore with the gravity of a neutron star. The game’s ignorance of its personal absurdity is humorous, however the story itself is just not a lot enjoyable.

This begins to vary when you method degree 50. After finishing the continent of East Luterra, Misplaced Ark abruptly explodes in scale. It provides you a ship, and units you off on an enormous globetrotting journey, with round a dozen different continents to discover, and dozens extra tiny islands, every with their very own little questlines. Your first vacation spot throughout Misplaced Ark’s ocean is an island known as Tortoyk (pronounced like “Tortoise”, however with a Okay), and it is right here the place the game stops pretending to be a critical high-fantasy journey, revealing itself to be one thing way more entertaining.

Tortoyk is a tropical island dwelling to a race of gnomelike creatures known as Mokokos. You will be considerably acquainted with the phrase ‘mokoko’ by the point you attain Tortoyk, as you will have spent a good period of time selecting up ‘mokoko seeds’ with out actually figuring out what they’re for. It seems that Mokokos develop from these seeds, so what you’ve got really been doing is kidnapping unborn Mokokos, you monster.

Fortunately, the Mokokos do not appear significantly bothered by your abducting their kids. They have greater issues, specifically a bunch of pirates on the island who’re kidnapping grownup Mokokos and usually doing pirate issues. Regardless of being mistrusting of massive individuals (or ‘Kokomos’ as mokokos confusingly name them), a Mokoko named Mokamoka (I can solely apologise) asks on your assist.

At first, Tortoyk looks like a typical Misplaced Ark zone, albeit sunnier. You stroll across the jungle, smash a number of pirates, and wade by a river of exclamation marks ticking off the game’s sometimes rudimentary quests. Then Mokamoka provides you a quest to create a potion, and once you drink it, your character shrinks right down to Mokoko dimension.

The player character in Lost Ark, having been shrunk, examines a dropped pair of glasses that now appear massive

All of the sudden, the game shifts gear from a normal fantasy fare, right into a whimsical borrowers-like journey. The following zone sees you exploring the forest undergrowth, the place flowers seem as tall as timber, and a pair of dropped spectacles appears the dimensions of a automobile. From right here, you journey to Mokoko Village, a delightfully designed journey hub the place the mokokos reside in homes produced from leaves and use mushrooms as picnic tables. If that does not talk the vibe of the place, simply take heed to the soundtrack for Mokoko Village, presumably the jauntiest tune ever composed.

Whereas the format of the game by no means adjustments – you are still clicking monsters to dying and resolving strings of quickfire quests – however the framing of it’s so way more playful and imaginative than the by-the-numbers fantasy of earlier zones. Early within the questline, for instance, the mokokos offer you a brand new mount. It is a ladybird. It capabilities in exactly the identical means as all the opposite mounts within the game. However alternatively, it is a ladybird.

The player character in Lost Ark has been shrunk down for a section of the game taking place in Tortoyk, and runs across a bridge mad from a book turned on its side

The following zone dedicates itself to squeezing each drop of enjoyable out of this miniaturised world, as you discover the outskirts of Mokoko Village, investigating ladybird farms, battling bugs and crows, and driving seed-headed dandelions to entry new areas of the zone. The dungeons get in on the act too. One spotlight sees you sneak into the pirates’ hideout, whereas nonetheless tiny, solely to be captured by the pirate chief. You escape of your cage, and should escape by crossing the tabletop to do battle with what might be my favorite boss in the entire game: the pirate chief’s pet parrot, full with little pirate hat.

Your tiny adventures do not final by the entire continent, sadly. However Misplaced Ark compensates for this with a neat idea reversal. Tortoyk, it transpires, is not really an island, however is the sleeping type of an infinite rock creature that the mokokos worship as a god, Xenoblade model. To succeed in the Ark that you’re looking for (there are seven within the game), it’s essential to wake him up. Therefore, all through the continent you’ve this gradual escalation in scale, from combating bugs within the undergrowth to awakening a god.

The player character in Lost Ark explores Mokoko Village on Tortoyk island, shrunk down to the size of a borrower

And this, frankly, is a significantly better encapsulation of what Misplaced Ark is like than its preliminary levelling areas. As soon as you allow the beginning island (which consists of about 4 continents), every new continent you discover has a totally totally different theme, from steampunk civilisations to a fantasy kingdom impressed by historical China. It is very a lot a kitchen-sink method to design, and this does not clear up the game’s core issues, comparable to shallow questing and uninspired loot. However within the absence of meticulous, Elden Ring-style inner consistency, I am going to fortunately take wild swings in random instructions if these swings are as daring and dedicated as Misplaced Ark.

Does Tortoyk make it price urgent by the much less attention-grabbing opening areas of Misplaced Ark? In all probability not by itself. However Tortoyk is not the primary cool factor to occur in Misplaced Ark. There are many impressively crafted dungeons and zones earlier than this, in addition to an enormous battle towards a military of clowns (as I stated, Misplaced Ark is a foolish game). Tortoyk is solely the purpose at which the game totally embraces that silliness. It turns into much less of a Diablo knockoff and extra like an ARPG Mario, with you leaping between bizarre and vibrant worlds that won’t have a lot logical connection, however are a lot enjoyable to discover that it merely does not matter.

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