Everyone’s heard the saying, those who slay together, stay together. So is it any wonder the MMO family is a growing population in the gaming world? Developers are catching on to this trend and coming out with new MMOs and social games to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Ganz Studios is just one such group jumping on that train, and their latest endeavor is Amazing World. A free to play, browser based social game for children ages 6 and up. Amazing World takes some of the MMO industries biggest trends at the moment and puts them in a family friendly wrapper for even the youngest little gamers to enjoy.
Players get to choose from adorable little creatures that look like cows, cats, and many other adorable animals, except they walk on two legs and wear clothes. They are called Zings and they inhabit the cosy little town of Spring Bay. Not everything in Spring Bay is roses and lollipops though. The town is under attack from Vexa, Queen of the Nix. The Nix seem to want nothing more than to destroy peaceful little Spring Bay. Of course they aren’t the only thing going on. There is treasure to find, new people to meet and so much more.
Combat is only one small part of Amazing World. And really, you can barely call it combat at all. From time to time Nix will appear in different parts of Spring Bay, attacking trees, grass, buildings…you name it. Zings have no weapons. So how do you combat those pesky Nix? By walking into them. The Nix will scream and poof out of existence. But Amazing World is about so much more than fighting. Activities need to be performed in order to complete tasks. These activities, which are sort of mini games in themselves can range from putting a simple puzzle together to driving a car around a small park collecting items. Contacts will ask you to complete tasks which could be anything from sitting on whoopee cushions to gathering bugs for their garden. Though the tasks and activities are fantastic for younger kids they can become somewhat dull with repetition. Rewards for completing tasks are not just currency based but it is also an introduction to skills. Improving skills like Gardening or Building allows players access to new items they can wear, put in their gardens or inside their homes.
Every player gets a home. In fact they get an entire little neighborhood that is all theirs. Something many AAA MMOs still lack today. Many of the items for the home are in the online store. As with most social games these things can be purchased with the currency earned in game, but some do require spending real money as they are locked behind a membership gate.
Graphically speaking Amazing World is well, amazing. It is full of bright colors and is the sort of happy place that warms your heart a little when you look at it. Filled with cuteness and rounded off corners it almost feels more like a cartoon than a game. The only way Amazing World could be cuter is if everything had eyes. It is easy to forget you’re playing a browser based game. There are plenty of client based MMOs out there that don’t look half as good. And yet it feels like, if young children could access Facebook this game would fit right in with the others on the market. The user interface can be somewhat confusing as there are several buttons on the screen but none of them actually say what they do. You have to click on them. This can lead to a bit of frustration as you try to work out things like how to swap characters, or what button to push to return to your home instance. After playing for any extended amount of time a sane adult would turn off the sound. Nix make the same sound over and over and over. And the voices of the NPCs end up coming across less as talking at the child’s level and more condescending.
Amazing World is innovative in that it takes common activities like putting together a building and turns it into a game of Simon. Yes, that game with four lights and you have to copy the pattern it does. Or fixing broken parts of a space ship into those annoying internet “game” ads where you have to click the iPad while your curser goes back and forth in a straight line. Where Amazing World really excels is taking old concepts and bringing them together.
Amazing World is a brand new game. Usually this means it would be riddled with bugs, holes in the world or anything else that could possibly go wrong. Yet through the entire experience there was never once anything that didn’t work. Or did something it wasn’t supposed to do. Being new it does somewhat lack in the quantity of content, but they more than make up for it in the quality.
Almost everything in Amazing World is done alone. The one exception to that is open world events which are always ongoing. But even then there is no working together. Its simply a group of people gathered in the same place taking care of a common issue. And yet, the UI for the chat system is amazing. When players first start out they don’t have the ability to speak. An email account must be registered before chatting is allowed. This allows parents to give and take away chat permission. Unfortunately, chat mostly seems to be used for asking people where they got certain clothing items.
That is, when there are people. The player base started off pretty strong in the first few days. But they quickly started dropping off the radar when they hit the level 20 limit. You see, even though they call Amazing World free to play it really isn’t. Unless you would consider World of Warcraft free to play as well. The first 20 levels are free to play. But once the experience bar at level 20 fills you are blocked from continuing on until you pay for a membership. Additionally, many of the contacts are locked behind the membership gate as well. Thus giving anyone unwilling to pay a limited time in the game. Eventually free to play gamers will run out of things to do.
Amazing World has some fantastic features. For young children it is an ideal introduction to online gaming. It is cute, easy to play, safe, and best of all because its browser based can be played on just about anything. Unfortunately, though they advertise it as free to play it isn’t really. A monthly subscription is required to have full access to everything on offer. This will sadly drive people away as they finish what they can.
| Amazing graphics
Easy for younger children
| Limited free to play
Very little content
Very small community