Ashtaria is a text RPG with ambitious artwork and confusing in-game text
Facebook gaming has changed in many ways over the years, but one thing has been constant: most games are clones of other games. Any genre that gets popular always spawns a thousand clones, sometimes with nearly identical interfaces. Some older Facebook genres like the text RPG are starting to evolve, though, and Ashtaria is a good representation of this. Ashtaria in terms of gameplay is definitely a descendant of your basic Mafia Wars style text RPG, but its look and feel is very different. You actually have to play this one for awhile before it starts to feel familiar.
Ashtaria has a complicated backstory that involves an ongoing war between the darkness god Karin and the light goddess Ashtaria, played out among their followers. You can choose to side with either deity, select from one of three playable races, then train your character in one of four basic character classes (mage, cleric, hunter, and warrior). Once you’ve selected a class, you actually get to develop your character by putting points into different skills on a skill tree in addition to the more typical allocation of stat points.
There’s a lot of static artwork used in Ashtaria, with still art for your avatar and the world around you. There’s a compass-like interface you use to move from location to location in the city of Tarha, giving the game the illusion of having a proper world to explore. As you gain new equipment, your avatar’s appearance changes according to what he or she is using. This is far more satisfying than the text RPG standard of your equipment being represented by nothing more than an icon. Once you begin taking quests from NPCs, though, it’s unquestionable that you’re playing a text RPG.
Quests in Ashtaria are given to you by NPCs in classic PC game style, but otherwise are bog standard for the genre. They all demand that you either go to a location and click the search button until you’ve acquired so many of a given item type, or go to a location and click the hunt button until you’ve killed so many of a given type of enemy. You have so many action points to spend on these activities and when they run out, you must either purchase more AP or wait for it to regenerate naturally over time. This part of the game is fine, but nothing special.
Overall Ashtaria overall held back by extremely confusing in-game text. It’s not clear if the game was poorly translated or just not well-written to begin with, but quest text is often confusing and the flavor text is simply unreadable. It’s a bit unfortunate, since Ashtaria‘s plotline is attempting something ambitious where you’re not any sort of conventional good guy. The issues with unclear text make it hard to understand exactly what your character is doing and why. Still, if you’re interested in seeing a text RPG that’s trying to do something really different, you might want to take a look at Ashtaria.