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VWN World Review: ToonTown
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World Review: ToonTown
Main Review

Compatible with Operating Systems:
Win 98se Win 2K Win XP

World Status: Operational


World Purpose: Gameworld

Age Suitability: Juniors (below 12), Teenagers


World-Type

The first MMO created with young children in mind, ToonTown is full of bright, cheerful, oversized graphics, and, perhaps unsurprisingly for an MMO created by Disney Studios, has a Disney cartoon feel throughout. All the menus are ?big and squishy?, almost like baby toys in their design and blockiness.

Every ToonTown account is allocated up to six characters, each completely separate from the rest.

The whole experience is hand-held by the world?s interface, but in a way that feels loving, not oppressing. Your first view of the world, when you create your character being a perfect example.

The screen transitions in to a single room. In this room are Mickey and Minnie mouse, standing at either end of it. Both ask you to click on them if you would like a character of their gender. Once done, your chosen mouse walks out of the room, into another where your new character can be created.

This process continues for several screens, from gender, to a mix and match bodyshape generator, to a skin colour painter, to a clothes wardrobe, and eventually a random name generator. At each stage the mouse stays with you, giving you handy tips, and gentle encouragement. A good thing really, as at each stage, the array of choices is bewildering.

Even the random name generator gives a couple of hundred words in each of four columns. To use it, you slide each column up and down to mix and match a two or three word name, which can be fairly humorous, and, importantly for a child-world, always clean.

One point worthy of note is that ToonTown is very much a furry world. You have pigs, dogs, rabbits, mice, ducks ? all the races of Disney save for human ? those appear only when you meet the enemy.

Once your character is created, the world zooms out, much like a cartoon entry, with an expanding circle, and you find yourself in a large shop, in a non-persistent, non-collaborative subworld. There are only four other beings in this subworld ? two ToonTown security officers, the tutorial clerk, and a roaming low-level cog monster.

This tutorial world exists solely to show you the basics of ToonTown, with liberal dialogue from the three toon denizens of this world, and a linear progression path to educate you with how to play.

You may complete the tutorial at your own pace, there is no sense of urgency here, and the longer you take, the more of the next part of the world loads.

ToonTown streams its downloads. If you have bandwidth to spare at any time, ToonTown fills it up by downloading areas further and further away to your PC, so you don?t have to wait any longer than you have to to progress further.

The streets of ToonTown are no less cheery than the rest of it, and your job is to fight to keep it that way. The plot is the evil cogs ? humanoid robotic businessmen ? have moved in, and plan to turn ToonTown into a commercial empire, full of pencil pushers, telesales execs, doom, gloom, and depression. As a resident of ToonTown, this would be bad for you, so you fight by hitting the cogs with practical jokes, to make them laugh, which in turn makes these grumpy beings explode.

The World in Brief

Presented in a true 3D layout, ToonTown is one of those systems where you never see through your character's eyes. Instead, you follow along, a short distance behind them, as they frolic - yep, not run, frolic - through the streets.

Annoyingly, the action is camera-based, and you can expect annoyance as the camera angle shifts unexpectedly, so that you miss out on the best view of the action more than once.

Toontown is browser-based, and regrettably only works with Internet Explorer 5.0 or above. That said, it does avoid most of the known problems with Internet Explorer, by offering no content from sites other than its own - merely using the browser's code as a bootstrap loader for its own add-ons which turn a web browser into an impressive, and immersive world client.

 

Sub Reviews

Here at Virtual Worldlets, we look at all worlds, whether for entertainment, training, medicare, industry or military use. Thus, we have the situation where different uses judge by different criteria. Below are a series of sub-reviews, each tailored to a different aspect of the world.

Explorers
For some, its the thrill of discovery, the freedom to strike out, to pioneer. Whether its mapping new lands, or exploring unknown fields of endeavour, to be first, to boldly go, this is what explorers live for.

Toontown is massive, with dozens of streets, junctions, hidden areas, and thousands of shops, museums, fire stations, banks, libraries, gyms, cinemas, any one of which you may freely enter. Most of these places will give you quests to solve, others will simply tell you knock knock jokes, all are bright, colourful, and a joy to discover.

The world does have a 'flat' feeling at times thou, and it is often easy to see with a critical eye where a building or fence is just a painted wall marking the edge of an area - but only if you are aware what you are looking for.

Despite that, many, many hours of happy searching await, and if you see a place where two buildings don't quite seem to meet, there is likely an alleyway, waiting for you to tread.

 

Socialisers
The social life is the life for you. To chat, to roam, to gossip all day, and chatter all night. You are the heart of the party, and you are the soul. The drive to chatter, the need to gossip, stretching out, making connections, mind against mind, heart against heart. It keeps you going, it keeps you sane.

Central to ToonTown?s promise is a safe environment, and they manage this quite well. As the world is built mainly for young children, the level of dialogue could naturally be assumed to be quite poor by adult standards, as young children ? particularly highly excited young children ? can be very hard to understand.

ToonTown have evaded this possibility by not allowing open chat for mo0st of its population. Instead, you have ?speed chat? ? a series of drop down phrases accessable from a menu at the top. There are several hundred in total, arranged in groups such as combat, greeting, emotional, and so on. If a toon completes quests, of which there are likely millions, sometimes their reward may be an extra phrase to add to this, increasing the vocabulary.

This lack of free speech does not seem to harm the world at all. If anything, it seems to strengthen it, with toons from all over rushing to one another?s aid, and supporting each other in combat. One example witnessed marked a stroke of genius from the world administration ? a high level toon, whose quest was ?help 20 newcomers kill cogs?. Quests such as this actively encourage players to help each other.

Free chat is possible, the world does actually allow it ? but ONLY if both parties not only agree to whisper free speech to each other, but also if they both enter a password to do so. These passwords can be anything they like, but MUST be entered at roughly the same time by both parties ? within a couple of minutes ? to activate the chat channel. Additionally, the world provides no mechanism for exchanging passwords, so to talk freely, players must already know each other outside the scope of the world.

This extra feature allows the community to grow, but does not allow any chance of exploitation of young kids by perfect strangers.

 

Achievers
Work, work work. Everybody... You have this burning desire to succeed, to achieve renown, to be the best in whatever field you set your sights to. No matter what, you must be the best... What will you be? A powerful warlord? The leader of a town? You're ambitious, and crave power? This section is for you.



There are many ways to advance in ToonTown. Fighting is the main way, but not the only.

In the main playground, there is a large pond, along with many other, smaller, hidden rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout the city. In any of thses, you can fish. Fishing uses up a jellybean - a unit of currency for each attempt, but with practice, most attempts catch a fish.

You are awarded a trophy for every ten species catalogued, as well as being able to sell fish to the pet stores for jellybeans. Since different ponds have different fish stocks, there are a lot of trophies to collect, with Toontown's site keeping track of the players with the most trophies.

The ability to decorate your home is another path for achievers. To decorate a home, you require furniture, and furniture costs an increasingly large amount of jellybeans to buy. The more luxurious your home, the higher your status must be. Again, Toontown celebrates those who have purchased most catalogue items.

Combat is stil the main method of achievement when all is said and done, and combat itself, leads to some serious marks of the achiever:l

After combat, experience is awarded to any participating toon ? as long as they hit something, they get rewarded for the damage they did. This is of course as long as they survived the combat. There are no levels as such, instead, you have five ?gag tracks? ? score a hit on cogs with enough gags of a particular track, and you advance to gain the next gag on that track.

Separate to gags, you can take quests from just about any building in ToonTown to earn ?throw animation frames? ? access a new gag track if you collect them all, or laugh-points ? extra hit points.

When you run out of laugh points, you don?t die. Instead, you sink into a fugue, all your gags are confiscated, and you are sent back to the playground, where you cannot leave until you are happy again ? subgame time!

 

Killers
You get your fun through fighting, killing, pillaging and pilfering. From despicable thieves, through sneaky assassins, great military generals, and noble knights, you love to kill, you live to kill.

Combat takes place in real-time on the street, when a toon and a cog get too close. If you see a fight starting, you can join in, with up to four toons collaborating at once (more than four, and it simply will not let you join). On the flip side, that works for cogs too ? any wandering cog can, and will join in as they see a battle forming, up to a maximum of four at once ? you can duel six if you destroy two before the others arrive.

After combat, experience is awarded to any participating toon ? as long as they hit something, they get rewarded for the damage they did. This is of course as long as they survived the combat. There are no levels as such, instead, you have five ?gag tracks? ? score a hit on cogs with enough gags of a particular track, and you advance to gain the next gag on that track.

 

 

Overall
A thoroughly enjoyable, funny world with outstanding animation and infused with a deep feeling of love.

Not the sort of thing that will keep older players happy for very long, but the atmosphere just hums with joy, and it is certainly a nice place to loiter if you would like some cheer in your day.

 

Rating 78 / 100
Newbie Friendliness
14.5
/ 15
Community Values
11.0
/ 15
Believability
9.0
/ 15
Immersion
8.0
/ 15
Administration
9.5
/ 10
Automated help
9.5
/ 10
Code Integrity
8.5
/ 10
Entertainment
8.0
/ 10

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Client OS:Win 2K, Win 98, Win 2K, Win 2K

World Purpose:

Age Suitability: