| Non-violent world and gameplay
Safe Chat for young children
| Cost of Funkeys
Mini-games can be addictive
The Games and Collections
Mini-games are accessed in various buildings that you enter in Funkeystown and every one of these have themed shops. Games played earn you in-game coin, and if you score high enough, items and trophies for your crib (player housing) and the game for your game room in your crib. The mini-games are as varied as the portals and range from shooters to pin-ball machines, from mah-jongg and bejeweled type games to puzzle games that really made you think.
Then there are quests. In typical MMO style, Funkeys with a glowing mark floating over their heads are quest givers. Walk up to them and they'll give you the quest which at this time are all exploration/delivery types. There are also exploration and discovery rewards. See a sparkle on your journeys? Walk on over. It might be a bit of a puzzle and when you find all the bits, you'll have an item for your crib. Or it could be useful tool, such as a Hoodwink with which to fool the Henchman.
Discovery is something that children absolutely adore. I didn't review this game without children playing the game with me - usually my niece and nephew and sometimes their friends, ranging from five to nine. In Magma Gorge, we found a lava fountain you could play with, and to the children's utter excitement, we found "something sticking up from the ground" which turned out to be a dinosaur bone. We didn't leave Magma Gorge until we found every single bone and created a skeleton sculpture for our crib. This also meant that they scoured every zone they had access to in search of other twinkles on the ground.
Graphics and Sound
When Funkeys was first launched, I thought it had pretty good graphics. The new realms however, are simply beautiful. The Nightmare Riff with its elaborate junkyard corner, scary eyeballs and other icky creepy-crawlies is gruesomely gorgeous. The Hidden Realms, which is the latest update, and the flying dirigible that takes you there is just beautiful.
Sound and music are simple, repetitive and themed for each realm, but the voice-overs are great. Some of the dialogue is funny (the kids thought so anyway) and the voice acting is excellent with clear enunciation and smooth and even delivery.
Game Economy and Your Crib
What game economy, you may well ask. There are two forms of currency in Funkeystown. One is the in-game coin which is earned by playing mini-games and the other is Loot - which is purchased with real dollars. Loot buys you fluff objects such as pets for your crib, as well as "Portal Jammers" which allow you to access portals and a mini-game without having to have that particular Funkey. To keep the game fair however, you cannot earn in-game coin while using a portal jammer. The games generate coin into the game and item purchase takes it out of the game. You can also see if the Oni warriors in the Hidden Realm will pay anything (a few coins at most) for the items you no longer want.
The cribs are your showcases. In Funkeystown's Grand Central Station, you can take a tram ride to your crib, your friends' cribs or visit random cribs. You start off with a few colored paints, a table and a couch. Apart from the Funkey clubhouse specific shops, there are random shops in each realm and in Funkeystown there is a whole mall of shops to buy more colors, textures, furniture and other things to decorate your crib with. Many items are trophies from quests and high scores in games. You also have a Trophy Room and a Games Room. Reaching high scores in games can earn you that particular game to be played without having to travel.
Cribs can be accessed from anywhere in the world by clicking the house icon on the right corner, and the children enjoyed earning or finding something and immediately going to the Crib to place it. Leaving the crib would find you back in the zone you had left. My nephew soon found out that if you quit the game and log back in, you're back in Funkeystown. "See?" he crowed. "No need to walk back!" How quickly they learn.
Funkeystown is a casual kids game, one that parents can play with their children. There are many fan sites and web blogs that are written by kids with the help of their parents. One of them was where I discovered that the official site will post time limited codes that give you a unique item for your crib plus some in-game coin. Reading these blogs also made me realize how much some of the rare Funkeys are going for!
They may be "collectible" but the $6 Funkeys allow parents to use them as rewards for their children, a savings goal to work towards or simply gifts for special occasions. The Pros are many fold. The game is simple enough for younger children to play with the parent only really needing to assist with reading the mini-game instructions. The mini-games are varied enough to keep children from 6 to 14 interested, and it's just a beautiful casual game that's internet-chat safe for young children. The Cons are the obviously the need to keep buying Funkeys especially as some quests cannot be completed without access to some portals, but stores do put these toys on clearance from time to time, and children do trade them with their friends. The other con is that although several Funkeys can access a portal, each Clubhouse and hence mini-game and unique item shop is accessed by only one particular Funkey, which is cost prohibitive if $6 buys only one mini-game. Luckily there are also many free access games available.
My nephew has his own account now that he is beginning to read, and I sometimes log in on his account and play a favorite mini-game... or two... or three... some of them are downright challenging! Just so he will be surprised by finding in-game coin on his account when he next logs in. Or that's my excuse anyway.