| Kid Safe
Surprising depth in creature building
Win or lose XP gain
| Combat gameplay only
Lack of players guide or manual
It's a world of the future where Corporations rule and the heirs raise genetically engineered creatures to fight their wars. That's what the comic-book that came with my Press Kit informed me at any rate. The story is much like Saturday morning cartoons for kids such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Chaotic-CodeScanner where kids are the heroes of the stories. To parents, they are commercials for children's toys thinly disguised as adventure cartoons. To kids, they are the mostest, awesomest TV shows and they want to be just like those kids! Freaky Creatures fits into that genre of adventure stories and would probably be a popular kid's cartoon if made into a TV show. Instead, it is an MMO. A mostest, awesomest MMO.
Somehow, regular adult MMO reviews never start off with talking about buying the software. However, we must here. It's not so much the software you are buying, you are buying the toys. That the software on the USB drive comes with the starter kit is incidental. It must be remembered that children like the tangibles and this is how Freaky Creatures works. To play this game, you buy the physical toy which unlocks creatures, parts and powers. The starter kit costs $19.99 and comes with a month's play, each additional creature costs $9.99 and a monthly subscription of $6.99 is also required. A 3-month and 6-month package is also available.
The starter kit contains two action figures which are the creatures and a 1 gig reusable USB drive containing the game software. The two action figures are the creatures unlocked in game, and each creature comes with 25 random parts, 10 powers and two lair objects. Currently, there are ten creatures in the game. Once you collect all 10, a mystery 11th will be unlocked. They range from Apes and Dragons to Cyclopses and Squidmen and there are also two female action figures, the mermaid-like Merasha and the devilish Setsa.
Just don't let the kids try to emulate the game by pitting the creatures against each other in real life. The action figures are rather sturdily built as a child conked on the head with one can testify, but there are also points of weakness as the Trappern (freaky creature with big head, sharp teeth and skinny body) missing its head shows - sturdy head, weak neck.
What's it about?
Freaky Creatures is an MMO. Not a deep, content rich MMO, but an MMO-light as it is targeted towards children, specifically boys of ages 8 to 14. Rated by the ESRB at 10+ for Crude Humor & Mild Fantasy Violence, it's about customization and fighting duels, potty humor and swords and guns.
The meat of the game is building your creature and winning duels. You start off by choosing a trainer name and icon - which essentially is your forum name and avatar. Then you customize your creature.
Each creature starts with seven base stats and a special power based on an element. The stats are: HP, Chance of Critical, the five elements of Fire, Ice, Physical, Energy and Poison. In customization, you can change the creature's color and add five different parts. The parts are Head, Back, Right arm, Left arm and Tail. Most have animations or graphics of some sort associated with them, such as: flaming horns, spines crackling with energy, swords and guns, writhing tentacles or flapping wings and swishing tails.
This customization is not permanent and parts can be swapped in and out. Each part that you get has a unique look and each part has stats which can be positive or negative in any of the elements, including critical hit percentages, random activation chances, hit points and additional powers. You can choose not to add a part, but some powers are part specific. You can't have a tail hit without a tail.
Each creature can also equip five powers. These are divided into Attack, Defense and a catch-all category of Miscellaneous. Examples of attack powers are Burning Fists which causes a certain amount of Fire damage, and Venomous Touch which causes Poison damage. Defensive powers include Forcefield which adds to Energy defense and Adamantium Abs which adds to Physical defense and deals a certain amount of damage back at your opponent. Miscellaneous powers range from Heals to halving your opponent's critical chance in the next turn. Powers are permanently applied and if removed, will be deleted from your library.
Once you've customized your creature to your liking, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the parts vs. how cool or freaky it ends up looking (some of the best builds are also the ugliest, most mismatched), you'll name it, give it a theme song and play the tutorial before entering the world.
Other aspects of the game include kitting out your creature's lair, interacting with it by feeding and petting it, and giving it toys to play with. There isn't any real exploration or questing.