In this new 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.
As part of Family Week here at MMORPG.com, we checked into the "Fantastic Age". The game is more commonly known as Fantage and offers kids a fun, safe environment in which to game. Development began in 2006 and since that time, Fantage has grown with new zones and games added over the years. As of this writing, Fantage sports fourteen zones with over thirty games and shops where kids can spend their virtual currency.
Here's how Fantage developers describe the game:
Our users enjoy a beautiful virtual world filled with exciting features and games. Users can dress up their avatars and choose distinctive hairstyles and clothing -- all while surfing around the fun world of Fantage on their hoverboards!
Although we have lot of fun games to choose from, we also have a great deal of educational content as well. Sharpen your mind by playing games at the Fantage School. Users can grow and test their knowledge in the subjects of math, geography, logic and language arts.
Through combining social gaming, education and advanced personalization, Fantage is truly a Fantastic Age!
Fantage hits every one of the points mentioned above in fun ways. Aimed squarely at the 10 and under crowd, Fantage delivers an engaging game experience that also incorporates the rudiments of more mature MMOs like Wizard101.
When logging into Fantage for the first time, players can choose one of about a dozen avatars to play. There is no further customization but, for the most part, kids probably won't care since the goal is to get in and start playing. When entering the game, players find a helpful guide that assigns several introductory quests to show off some of the game's features and teaches about the interface. Players are awarded 10,000 stars, the Fantage in-game currency, for completing the quests. The only mildly off-putting moments I found were those that actively pushed the premium membership.
Once the introductory quests are completed, kids are introduced into the wider world of Fantage. The hoverboards are pretty cool and come in lots of different styles based on the huge number I saw while moving about the world. I was surprised at the number of players in the game given that I was playing in the morning of a school day but, hey, kids get sick, right?
Fantage contains a lot of traditional MMO features such as housing, pets, quests, mini-games, etc. Children will love the opportunity to decorate their houses and experiment with different variables to hatch unique pets. Customization is also a huge feature in Fantage. There are fourteen shops where kids can purchase new hairstyles, clothes, accessories and more. Items are placed in players' inventories and can be changed with the simple click of a mouse button.
Mini games are the bread and butter of Fantage. I played several and actually, strange as this sounds, had fun. One holiday-themed game I tried out was to feed hungry animals by filling a slingshot with their favorite food and then fling it at them. I also tried out a geography game to find all the states in the U.S. I have to admit to a lot of pride that I got a perfect score. Of course, I have the target age beaten by a few years. I also tried out a Scrabble-like game in the schoolhouse that was lots of fun too. Kids really -can- expand their knowledge by playing these games.
Fantage has also scored some nice awards from family-friendly gaming groups such as the Mom's Choice Awards and the Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice. Fantage is also rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. From my time in game, it's very apparent that chat is monitored and that staff is on hand to keep a close eye on things.
The bottom line is that kids from 5-10 will love Fantage. There is plenty to do, plenty to see and it's all wrapped up in a child-safe environment to give Mom and Dad some peace of mind. If you've got a kid in the target range, I urge you to head over to Fantage.com and see for yourself!