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Review: Street Mobster or what makes people play browser-based games

wallpaper_1For some reason the people are terribly skeptical to the phrase “browser-based game”. Nowadays this term has acquired a sense of something not serious, some nonsense that you cannot dedicate yourself to or lose more than 10 minutes in the office. On the verge of 2014, with a new generation of consoles knocking on the door, fewer people actually realize they can get a lot more fun out of such endeavor. Well, there is one browser game that exists since 2006, which just like two mustached, middle-aged stuntmen busts all of these myths.

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Street Mobster: Exception to the rule?

The exception to the rule is called Street Mobster, and the purpose of this article is to remove the veil of arrogant unfamiliarity of the back of browser-based games. The guys, thanks to whom Street Mobster keeps breathing, living and supporting a stable fan base for eight years, are currently working on version 5.0 (!!!) of the game, continuing to add new content and extras. Ultimately, the conclusion is that even a casual platform like Firefox, Chrome or whatever else you are using to check your Facebook account and to watch dirty videos, you can start playing something that will immerse you in its world for quite a long time. Something, you can dedicate yourself to and to know that there is always something to do in it.

There are also other quality browser-based titles like Tower Defence, Urban Dead and the hated Farmville,  if you will – games designed with a clever business idea, trying to attract more people. Even fairly good (and recommended if you have time and desire to play them), they cannot offer content as good as Street Mobster.

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Let’s start over. It should be mentioned that the author of the article approached very skeptical the idea of this article, but after a weekend spent doing robberies, tussles and typical gangster stuff, he found out that he actually had a lot of fun and that all this hatred towards similar titles is not always appropriate.

The character is released from prison. A total bum. Flat broke, one of those, who have done wrong in the past, but have a great desire to take everything in world what they think belongs to them.

You have a handful of cash in your pocket, but you will need to invest them cleverly to succeed. The whole story is comparable to a GTA title – one ordinary guy has to become a big fish. And this is where the adventure begins. The game comes with a well designed tutorial that introduces to the player with the seemingly countless menus and everything you can do “out on the street”. The “countless” part is meant in a good way, because once you grasp all the mechanics, the the game becomes quite obsessive – the things you can do around here ARE really quite a lot.

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The player gets a two-dimensional perspective of a big city, divided into different streets. There he can feel free to do whatever he wants – to beat each NPC, that comes in his way, to steal its money, to help it with something or whatever else he wants to do. The thing that makes a good impression is the fact that the interaction options are almost not repeated. A simple example – you come across an arrogant little girl on the street. You can intimidate her, steal her ice cream or her lunch money and if you are in a good mood – to send her to school. The choice is yours.

The actions bring experience, money and connections, through which the player develops his alter-ego. There are garbage cans to kick/clean, there are barrels, which you could find, set on fire or sell. You can beat the shmug with the fancy car, who goes around swearing at everyone. The NPC’s are countless – there is a cop, mothers with strollers, common working men, arrogant footballers, skaters, haters, etc. – all types of social classes are present.

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These interactions demand energy. The required energy for the interactions is shown next to each one, as also the risk that it arouses. The indicators of the character are life, energy, risk (such as a criminal record), toxicity and Loansharks – it is not very funny if those sharks are after you, I guarantee you. Depending on your actions, these indicators are falling or rising, as they regenerate as time passes or by using a special object in the game. For example, if you are feeling exhausted from beating the annoying footballer from the near block, drink a coffee from the machine and you are as good as new.

Of course, by going round the block and acting you won’t become the new Tony Montana. If you want to rise in the hierarchy, you will need respect, intellect and strength. It is not easy to get respect, you have to earn it. You increase your intellect by taking various lessons in the specialized places, the same applies to the power – there is a fitness, where the player can boost his muscles in exchange for resources and energy. Your character is gradually gaining experience, by which he increases levels. With these levels you receive points, which can be used for developing of  various skills.

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The most important thing, however, are the quests, which you can complete. A simple example – while I myself was a third level gangster wannabe, I was given a task to do some usurious activities. There are different events, where the player should consider what to do – to intimidate some businessman, to suspend a few business interviews and when he completes the quota, defined in the quest, he gets his reward. In the case with the usury, I did get some valuable connections with people from the underworld, as well as a brand new gun that will help me more effectively to transform myself into the new Tony Montana. There are many objects in the game and every single one has its purpose – from weapons and cars to clothing and laptops. In general, the actions in the game, the different paths you could take and the qualities of the world are so many, that this article could in no case be enough for me to describe all of them.

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Trade is also present as mechanics – there are black markets and auctions, where the player can equip himself with whatever gear he needs. The ingame currency is money, which you earn yourself – either by completing a quest or in another way, which you have chosen. Of course, Street Mobster is a game based on micro-transactions. This means that the game is totally free and available, but if someone would like to acquire something faster, he can do it by purchasing credits with real money. This game model is gaining more popularity around the world lately and it is no longer means for developers of games for mobile devices to make some easy money. It is all created in favor of the player. It is interesting to mention here that the creators of Street Mobster are constantly making surprises for their players – they give away prizes, such as laptops, portable consoles, t-shirts etc.

There are also special offers in the credits purchasing systems – for example for all loaded credits between 05.11.2013 and 12.11.2013 the player gets 5% extra bonus credits, as this percentage increases with the amount of credits loaded. This is the place to say a few words about the Street Mobster community. The game exists for a few years and its fan base continues to grow –  every time I logged in, there were over 600 people online. The game has its own integrated social network – players can unite in gangs and complete tasks together.

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Overall, in conclusion, I can say that contrary to my initial attitude, I had а fun time playing Street Mobster. As one of the few quality representatives of the browser-based games, Street Mobster is a good casual entertainment that will keep you interested for quite a lot of time and won’t get you bored. Overall, there is no point to hate browser-based games – sure, not all of them are good enough, but in no case they should be put together with the quality titles, which care about their fans and keep their idea alive. Thumbs up for guys like this. If you can’t afford a Playstation 4, just look around – one browser can give you all the fun you need.

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Ivan Popjelev - hellmare
Ivan has written 11 awesome articles.

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