So I wasn't sure what to expect when I loaded up Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures for the first time. I had imagined that it was this great MMO, but realized that this isn't for the usual MMO crowd.
Come read what I found out in this online galaxy not too far away.
The first thing you'll notice when you load up Clone Wars Adventures is that it's a very compact, secured area. After that short time, you'll see a large menu pop up that has a colorful collection of confusing choices. The choices are the games inside the online adventure and they range from fun to pretty darn fun.
The first game I tried was called 'Star Typer'. It's a typing game (sort of like a Typing of the Dead arrangement) where you have letter-coded starships coming down from top in a Galaga like manner. You have to type the letter before the ships get to the bottom or you lose a life. It's incredibly simple for adults, but it is also really easy for the younger crowd to pick up on. The boss at the end of each stage is a large ship that contains a series of words. Type the words to defeat the ship. Again, it's really darn easy if you're an adult, but should be challenging for the younger audience.
The next game I tried was 'Lightsaber Duel'. The game is a one-one-one lightsaber duel between you and a series of fighters. Working as a 'match' game you push the arrow keys (on your keyboard) in a specific order that is detailed on screen. If you can push them in the correct order before your opponent you win the match. There are 10 matches in each round in a best two out of three contest.
These were just two examples of the types of games offered by Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. There are other things like trivia, information places telling you what's going on around town (and in the overall story) and shops. The shops are particularly impressive as you get to customize your character with different outfits, weapons, customize things for your Padawan room and, of course, droids. The customization will probably be a huge draw for the younger audience. Having the ability to create your own personality and your own style, while still enjoying the Star Wars theme is something that is going to be huge; plus it works really well (and easy). I know that my kids were peering over my shoulder the entire time to watch what I was playing and they immediately wanted to know about things they could add and subtract on my clone character. Again, the game will draw huge interest from the younger gaming audience, especially when it comes to the ability to customize one's character.
Customization aside, the games and such are just a portion of the overall adventure, as you get to interact socially with different players and befriend many people. It has the aspects of an MMO, but not necessarily the full package. Having plenty of experience with Final Fantasy XI and some experience with World of Warcraft, I fully understand what to expect from a giant adventure. This adventure is different and more importantly very contained. You have a limited amount of places to go and plenty of stuff at every corner to keep your attention. When you go from the deck to the library in the game you find at least 2-3 things to interact with while in those particular areas. For kids this is huge and the amount of things that SOE can add on will be endless. Unlike a traditional MMO, like FFXI, you won't find overwhelming long, stressful adventures that could easily frustrate your kids. I know that I spent many sleepless nights trying to continually upgrade my character in FFXI. With Clone Wars Adventures the games are short enough to break off of and simple enough to figure out; basically, no sleepless nights or frustration included.
Now, one thing that was carried over from traditional MMOs is the monetary system. The more games you complete and the more activities you do, the more you level up and gain credits. The credits can be used at the shops to customize your character, droids, home and whatever you want. This system will encourage kids to do better and to keep going in the adventure. It's overall very encouraging stuff that will keep less frustration and more motivation going in the game. That sort of stuff is always good for a younger audience and it's done well in Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.
The biggest comparison I can make with Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is that it's an older version of Disney's Club Penguin, except with Star Wars incorporated. Club Penguin has the same type of style to it, as you customize and raise your Penguin to your own liking. Heck, just like Club Penguin you can also have a sidekick that follows you around. It's pretty similar, except that Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is made for an older audience (probably somewhere around 8-12 years old).
So the question is, should you allow yourself (or your child) to jump into this type of adventure? For $5.99 a month it's not too bad. You get a lot with it, probably more than Club Penguin. The price is reasonable and the environment will be a huge blast for kids. For adults trying to find a reason to get into this game it's probably something you want to think about twice. This game is not geared towards old Star Wars fans out there (like myself). The games are for the 8-12 crowd much like the show on cartoon network.