In this recurring column at MMORPG.com, our goal is to take turns giving you brief glimpses at some of the games which just don’t get enough coverage for any number of reasons. Look at our Game List. Many aren’t MMORPGs, but almost all are MMOs of one form or another. Then count the number of reviews we have for them. We’re addressing this, as quickly and as efficiently as we can, but the simple truth is that a lot of games fly under the radar. So, with The Game Hopper, we plan on bringing you a new game every week that you might not know much about. We’ll do some brief impressions and an overview on the game and then let you guys chime in with your own thoughts.
Little Space Heroes is a new kid-friendly MMO currently in development Down Under by Bubble Gum Interactive. Already in its beta phase of development, LSH is ready to blow the lid off of the game and tell the world about a game that developers admit to quite a bit of pride in.
What is Little Space Heroes? Nothing says it better than the official description:
Little Space Heroes is an upcoming virtual universe for kids – we say universe specifically. Unlike pretty much every other kids virtual world that we’ve seen, in Little Space Heroes you can create your very own Space Hero and explore a galaxy full of different planets rather than stick to just one land or world. Players can undertake quests and missions, make new friends, team up for group-based play or just play explore the galaxy themselves. The game is all about personalisation, adventure, mystery, discovery and good ol’ fashioned fun.
As its literature implies, LSH is one of the only, if not the only, space-themed sci-fi MMO for kids out there. It brings the world of space travel and imaginary worlds right to kids' fingertips. The first thing players do, in fact, is choose their characters already decked out in a spacesuit and ready to blast off into space starting with the first quest to obtain a jet pack.
Little Space Heroes includes many of the features that seasoned adult MMO players would expect and ones that kids have the most fun with. LSH players have housing, pets, extensive customization and more to mess with. It's all free too. There are some limits on the number and types of custom items freemium players can access. A premium subscription is available for those who want unlimited exploration, customization, etc. but there is a lot of fun to be had without membership.
The colors and character models are eye candy for kids and will definitely make them feel as if they've stepped into the Sunday comics section of the newspaper. Even the animations like waving are adorably cute and liberally used.
The game play is simple and picture oriented which is nice for non- or struggling readers. The quest log is laid out in something sort of like a pictoral map that details precisely where to go and what has to be finished in a visual style to appeal to kids. The only thing I found a bit off-putting is the fact that completed quests don't go away or say "completed" when finished. That said, the game is in beta so I'm sure a lot of changes will be made prior to LSH's final release.
There are fun mini games to play too. One of my favorite games was "Gem Collector" with my jet pack strapped on. I took off from a landing pad and zipped around trying to collect gems but also to collect little power ups that would send me zooming higher and higher to grab even more. Once I couldn't reach any more of the power ups, my parachue deployed and I tried to land on the launch pad between the markers to score a 'great landing' and more points. All in all, there are six areas packed with mini games, shops, "tinker" zones and more.
There are a few quirks and annoying issues with Little Space Heroes. But, to be fair, LSH is in beta testing and most, if not all, of the bugs will assuredly be worked out prior to the game's release as stated earlier. I had some issues with slow server response but some of that could be attributed to the fact I am playing from the U.S. and the LSH servers are in Australia.
Parents can feel quite safe letting their kids take off in Little Space Heroes as well. The game has been certified by FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com as a safe gaming environment and has put kid-safety features in place. Safety features include limited registration data required, safe or open chat and in-house community moderators. In addition, kids are asked to sign off on a "Conduct & Culture Charter" that is very simple, yet effective, for children to understand. In fact, it embodies much of what children are asked to do in school or in other places they inhabit.
Little Space Heroes is definitely for kids and a game that the littlest astronauts will enjoy playing while sharing a keyboard with Mom or Dad. It's a safe bet that they will find lots to do and experience in LSH and parents can rest assured that their kids are in a safe gaming environment as they take their first baby steps into the wider world of online gaming. Find out more about Little Space Heroes and then blast off on your own adventure!