FusionFall review

The Cartoon Network has a great eye for creating smart, addictive browser-based games for its Web site.

Adult Swim in particular has a plethora of niche games that are as rewarding as they are offensive. But, at its heart, Cartoon Network is a network dedicated to pleasing legions of kids with original PG-rated programming.

FusionFall is an attempt by the network to create a family-friendly massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that parents are comfortable with and kids will enjoy. But like the cartoony source material, the game’s appeal is likely lost on adult audiences.

FusionFall does a lot of things right. As a browser-based game, more people can enjoy it and it doesn’t have demanding system requirements.

The graphics aren’t spectacular, but on par with similar MMOs of the last couple of years. The game is easy to use but the tutorial quickly shoves you out the door into the world of FusionFall.

A better explanation on how to use the economies and transportation systems is needed, but those components don’t come into play until later in the game.

Game saves are automatic, and health regenerates automatically over time, ensuring that the game isn’t too difficult for beginning players. The game incorporates platforming on every level, so the gameplay isn’t as limited in its focus as some MMORPGs.

FusionFall’s parental settings are top of the line, and Cartoon Network goes the extra mile to discourage prolonged playing sessions-players experience diminishing returns in the reward system after an hour of play.

The rewards system resets after you log out for a period of time, enough for kids to study or actually go outside and play. Parents can also set up master accounts to limit a child’s account and restrict chat options.

Kids will enjoy seeing in the game their favorite Cartoon Network characters, from Ben 10 to the Kids Next Door.

Kids will geek out at seeing the KND’s tree house and the Spanish-speaking monster Eduardo from “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.

Cartoon Network made a strange developmental decision by rendering all of the characters to a uniform Anime-like animation.

While Carton Network’s did studies that showed that kids like artistic renderings, I’ll be a stick in the mud and say I didn’t. Dexter (from “Dexter’s Laboratory) is known as a gigantic genius with a pint-size stature.

In FusionFall, he’s just another tall anime-esque character. The Powerpuff Girls are almost unrecognizable, while Samurai Jack and others are identifiable.

One can argue that it’s difficult to include characters drawn in such vastly different styles in the same game, but Disney’s console-based RPG Kingdom Hearts solved that problem with anime-style characters and it not only looked good, but kept the characters’ recognizable and in context.

NEXT: FusionFall’s Nano system was a smart move


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