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Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall

Score: 87%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Cartoon Network Interactive
Developer: Grigon Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: MMORPG/ Themed/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

As a parent and game developer, I am always looking for those few places where I can actually interact with my kids in a gaming environment. Though some are too young yet, I have a daughter who grew up on Cartoon Network programs. It is really cool to see a game like Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall. If you recall, I had a chance to follow this game early on from the Austin GDC. They have gone to great lengths to not only create an enjoyable gameplay experience, but a safe one for kids as well.

For a browser-based MMO, my expectations were fairly low. When I got into the game and saw how good the game actually looked, I was very pleasantly surprised. The only noticeable difference is draw distance. With it maxed out, you may only get approximately 100 virtual yards. What I didn't get were the visual spikes and lag that I was expecting to get. They have brought all of the intellectual properties from different artistic mediums together in a much older Anime look and feel. The new style to your favorite Cartoon Network characters is done very well and perfectly within character.

There is not much music to speak of, but plenty of ambient sounds and voiceover work to get your attention. I actually thought it would throw it off just a little bit to hear the cartoon voices we are used to hearing placed on what are technically different characters. It really worked out nicely. It helped with the crossover and the immersion of the characters into this environment.


Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall is exactly what it sounds like. The Planet Fusion has been devouring the galaxy one planet at a time, building momentum across the universe. Invasions of Fusion Spawns are tearing the Cartoon Network Universe apart. They are terraforming the worlds. The enemy is creating evil doppelgangers known as Terrafusers to do battle with the characters of Cartoon Network. It is up to you to step in and lend a hand.

There is a bunch genre-blending in Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall, so it is very limiting to say it is or is not just one thing. So, it is an Over-the-Shoulder Shooter, MMORPG, with Platformer play added in. We will start with that. Getting into the game is simple. After creating your account and entering the game, you will go through the standard tutorial level - how to look and how to move. For about half a second, I thought it held your hand a little too much, but my daughter reeled me back in saying it is what she needed. I quickly forget my age, but boy oh boy, do I feel it running around in CNU:FF. So now you are in the game - what do you do?

Like any good MMO, you begin the grind. Take missions. Level up your character. Get the best gear. Shoot the bad guys. When it comes to shooting the bad guys, I am glad they did not go with a turn-based, or target and wait-based, combat system. You have a reticule that you will have to keep over the enemy to continue firing and hitting them. You have two weapon slots, so you can easily jump between weapons to get the job done. The outfits all have levels and are basically your armor. You will continue to evolve your look as you progress and get better gear. Missions consist of mostly go-for quests and instances. There is a lot of running to be done. There are several rapid transit options, but for the most part, you are hoofing it. Getting money to get the gear is a very easy grind. If there is something you want, you can readily find a way to obtain it.


Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall is wicked hard. It makes soloing some of the raids in World of Warcraft look easy. Wait, stop, I can't even type that without getting tears on the keyboard from laughing. So, the purpose here is not to be hard. It is still a game, mind you, but well-scaled to a younger audience. It is in the instances where you see a challenge. Most of them contain a very high platforming aspect, leaping from here to there to get around. I decided to sit back and observe this. I would see a few players fall from one thing or another. With no fall damage, I struggled to tell who was just jumping off for kicks and who was having navigation issues.

Game Mechanics:

Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall has some early things that I see them getting worked out in due time of launching the game. It uses the standard W, A, S, D control scheme, with the mouse button being the all-in-one action button. So when you are in a group of people, you get all kinds of requests because someone is trying to shoot at something or talk to an NPC, and you are in the way. At first, however, because it was as soon as I got in, I thought there was noob-scamming everywhere. Once I understood what was happening, and because I was guilty of occasionally trying to trade with someone while talking to an NPC, I saw that the community was actually very docile and helpful. I did not witness any blurbs of rage and it was a clean place. The way that they worked the characters from Cartoon Network into the game was well done. Instead of 200 Samurai Jacks running around, you made your own character and then had use of up to 3 Nanos to use as a special power. A Nano is a miniature version of one of the universe's characters. This allows you to use many combinations to achieve victory. They bring the classic Paper, Rock, Scissors to the surface as well. Each monster has an A, B, or C rating, and so do your Nanos. Attacking with the right letter makes a huge difference in the end result.

If you want to play an online game with your kids and enjoy it, this would be it. There are plenty of other MMO's, and browser-based MMO's, but you run into so many social issues that you don't even want to try for very long. Most of these same MMO's are also not themed for kids very well. Here, they have known characters with plenty of missions and storyline to play through. The developers really took their time looking at what kids will enjoy. They enjoyed collecting all of the Nanos and didn't really care too much that they were to be weapons. They continued to play with their favorites, even if it wasn't the best match. But, hey it is their game and they are having fun.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Flash: 9.0 compatible PC

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Nintendo Wii Boingz Nintendo Wii Tiki Towers

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated