I’ll start with Wow, and I mean that literally. I’m talking World of Warcraft (WoW) with training wheels. Fusion Fall is the latest massive multi-player online game (MMOG) developed by the Cartoon Network. On a personal note, I am a WoW gamer, and previous City of Heroes (CoH) player, so interfacing with Fusion Fall was a pretty transparent process. The heads up display (HUD) was similar with the popular MMOG games out there, including CoH and WoW, which I consider essential. Developers are adhering to standards and appealing to the gamer on other levels rather than frustrating them with difficult or proprietary interfaces. Why reinvent the wheel and besides, the interactive story line, graphics, and economic system are the hooks to keep kids busy for hours on end.
The premise for Fusion Fall is Lord Fuse, ruler of Planet Fusion is traveling the Cartoon Network Universe and breaking down everything in his path. Turning everything into this noxious green goo and infecting all. The Fusion world creates doppelgangers of all the popular Cartoon Network heroes. The player is given missions to often enter these contaminated areas and rescue heroes. In return he or she gets new gear, powers or a Nano pet. A Nano is a miniature version of a popular hero like one of the Powerpuff Girls, or a Ben 10 Alien Force character. They can be invoked to empower the player with flight or speed, or even assist in giving a boss a serious beat down.
The demographic is clearly aimed at kids aged from 10 on up, rated E-10+. The 10+ I see referring to the games complexity and use of multi-tasking and motor skills. The rating also applies to mild cartoon violence and comic mischief. Then on the other end of the spectrum, for an adult I felt the game was a little too juvenile for my tastes. Fusion Fall has a tendency to hold your hand, but never let go. In a few instances, it went so far as posting arrows along the paths for the player to travel to complete his or her mission. Also, on the HUD, the player will notice beacons directing them to the area to complete the mission he or she is on as well. Among other kindly features in this kid-friendly game include the creation of up to four customized characters, a potential to unlock an incredible assortment of costumes, weapons, and increasing powers enabling the player’s toon to become quite unique in appearance and performance.
For the character creation process, all toons are human. Right out of the box I got a card unlocking a unique costume for my toon to dawn. This was a bonus, rather than looking all the same. All characters are of pre-teen appearance and age, and display names must be approved by administrators to keep it safe and within the spirit of the game. Also, the first four months of the subscription are included in the purchase of the game and continued play is only $5.95 a month. There are no specialized PvP, PvE, or RPG server designations as in other MMOG’s, all players are engaged in the same virtual world. The social aspect such as joining people or groups, chatting, and the use of emots are all included and a part of this universe as well. Cartoon Network also offers a free version of the game, but players are limited to 25 missions and only two character slots.
Fusion Fall is co-developed by Cartoon Network Enterprises and Grigon Entertainment, and published by Majesco Entertainment. The game operates through the Internet Explorer (IE) browser and must be at least version 7.0. It is recommended to operate on at least a Pentium 4 with 2GB of RAM on board. For video rendering it is suggested the player have a DX9 compliant video card with Shaders Version 2.0 and at least 256MB of VRAM. I had no trouble on a Pentium 4 Lenovo Laptop running Windows XP SP3 with 2GB of RAM and I just had to upgrade my IE browser to 7.0.
The graphics and sound were fluid and superb. This game works on a Mac as well as a PC, not requiring a specific version between the two. Fusion Fall has a rich colored world with a feel that you are in the cartoon and living a dream of interfacing with some of the most popular characters in the Cartoon Network Universe today. Having a fully fleshed out reward system, leveling and earning cool gear happens at a rather rapid pace. I feel this is to keep the attention span of younger gamers by offering frequent rewards and shorter missions. This is a great combination appealing to their chosen demographic and reflects in increasing popularity and use.
Got Saturday morning fever for Dexter’s Laboratory or Ben 10 Alien Force? Fusion Fall is the cure. An innovative MMOG utilizing the IE browser with phenomenal graphics, sound, and full 360 views, and it reacts with a punch. It presents a mixed bag of characters who you never thought of ever existing in the same frames, yet the chaos feels right and full, with even a solid story line. Do your part to help the cause and defeat the evil workings of Lord Fuse. Dexter is counting on you. I rated Fusion Fall a solid 8 out of 10 with minimal green goo dripping from the recesses of my keyboard. Parents should definitely check out the site fusionfall.com and read up on all the features and controls to keep the kiddies safe and engaged, freeing up the TV on Saturday mornings for other viewing.
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