I was tempted to subtitle this review with a tongue-in-cheek, "Camping the rare blueberry spawn," but refrained. That would neither have been fair nor accurate of this game. I shall explain as I get into the quests section but first, let's talk about the game itself.
Pixie Hollow Online by Disney Interactive is based on the Disney Fairies franchise, solidly driven by the main fairy herself, Tinkerbell. You register an account, create a fairy, selecting a fairy talent such as Water, Garden, Light and Tinker, and customize it by selecting faces, hair colors clothing and accessories, such necklace and bracelet. Each talent has a color theme and talents are a personal flavor rather than imparting any stats or skills. You select wings, pose your fairy, and away you fly into lush landscapes accompanied by orchestral music, the ambient sounds of the area you are flying around in, such as birdsong and bullfrogs and the shimmer of bells and trail of lights as you fly. Just like Tink.
Disney could have created a website with some simple games, lots of advertising and sold toys to cash in on the popularity of the Disney Fairies with little girls, but they didn't. Instead, they've launched a beautiful interactive landscape with mini-games and quests built into the game. They've built an actual MMO. Even the shops may be frequented by more than one fairy at a time, and you can hold parties in your fairy house.
This game is completely web based and does not require any client downloads. The space in which your fairy can interact is two dimensional, but the artists have managed to render it to look like three dimensional space. Pixie Hollow Online is also available Free to Play, but the best features, the quest storyline and crafting are pay subscription only, and that runs $4.99 a month.
How do you Play?
Pixie Hollow is basically a collections game and you get medals for achievements. You create your little fairy, and you fly around the world. Hooray! A New Fairy medal! You make your first friend. Hooray! A Friend medal! That's just the very tip of the iceberg. Medals are awarded for exploring all of the zones in an area and there are four at this time: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Then there's the gathering game. In every zone, items spawn randomly at various points. You fly over it to collect it, and as you collect them, you earn medals as well. These items are used for purchases at the shops and crafting. Twigs, dandelion fluff, blueberries, rose petals, meadow grass and acorns, etc. are the in-game "currency" for fairy fashion accessories and each shop keeper wants different kinds and numbers of items for her wares. Some can be pricey, such as 72 acorns for a cute little top. Better yet, 243 spider silks for a Dance Party item for your house! Don't forget also, that you are competing against a bunch of other little fairies for these rare commodities, and fairy players are found all over the world. They aren't shy about swooping in and snatching that raspberry or spider silk from you either!
Crafting is a set of mini games and only tailoring is available at this time. Each tailoring recipe must be unlocked by tailoring practice and uses different items in game, such as Oak Leaves and Spider Silk plus dye, and dye is bought from a Fairy shopkeeper with items as well. The mini-games involve bouncing a little rolly-bug to dye your material, cutting your pattern pieces out by luring a hungry caterpillar with cake, piecing your pattern pieces together and finally, "click" stitching with a swinging spider at the right spot.
Another game that kids can play is the window shopping game. In every store, your fairy can try on and model clothing, accessories and even check to see how a new hair-style and color suits. It's actually quite a bit of fun customizing your fairy that way.
The overarching story / quest line sends you all over the maps and introduces you to all of the named Fairies as well as the mini-games, and here is what I meant about camping the rare Blueberry spawn: I got to the third stage of Tinkerbell's story quest and was asked for three blueberries by Fawn. I was playing on a Saturday afternoon on a quiet server - which still had lots of other little fairies flying around on every map - and hadn't yet seen a blueberry. Raspberries, sunflower seeds, meadow grass in plenty... no blueberries. Then one popped. I grabbed it, imagining myself beating out all of the other fairies for it. Now... I could fly around other maps and hope for more blueberries or camp this spawn. Not that a blueberry always spawned there, there's a spawn table and something else such as a sunflower seed or a twig could spawn there instead. I decided to ignore the quest and play mini-games instead. Then my seven year old niece asked what I was doing muttering about blueberries and told me. "Play the Harvest game, Aunt Carol." Yes... Fawn's mini-game found on another map in the Autumn lands gave me blueberries as a reward. Doh! Kid's game, dum-dum... it can't be that hard!