Clearly designed for those more elastic of skin, Toontown Online - as its name intimates - is a MMOG set in a day-glo world populated by upstanding creatures who are, save for the more recognisable Disney faces and stock NPCs, controlled by living, breathing people. Albeit, living, breathing people who are most probably still at the bed-wetting stage of life and doped up to the eyeballs on Sunny D.
Rather than spend precious hours slaughtering wolves and spiders, as is required by fantasy MMOG law, the aim here is to defeat roving bands of corporate-minded automatons called Cogs, whose collective aim is to take over the bubble gum streets by turning them into bleak rows of office buildings. And so, to keep the nefarious bots at bay, you and your fellow Toon citizens must engage their ranks in turn-based combat, your arsenal stuffed, not with swords and spells, but Gags' in the guise of water pistols, fruit-filled pies and weights that fall from the sky to squish those beneath.
Toontown pretty much covers the same ground as your common-or-garden MMORPG - only here, everything is less pressured and much simpler to get to grips with.
Beans Means Good
There are missions aplenty which reward you with jellybeans (Toontown's currency), Laff points (health) or animation clips (skills). The missions are hardly taxing, involving lots of fetching and carrying. Variety comes with the Cog-killing tasks and these add a direction to the game and, more importantly, can be completed in as little as ten minutes. Perfect for the wandering attention spans of most children.
Other Toon pastimes worth dipping in and out of are the Trolley Games, where you climb aboard the local tram and are taken to a random mini-game. Swimming through hoops, catching apples, tug of war and a fairly decent Pac-Man clone are just a few of the gems on offer that earn you a small stack of jellybeans to spend later.
Better still, you can play each of the eight games with up to four people, which apart from lending the proceedings a more Competitive edge, may earn even more sweet financial benefits. With games ranging from Toon Tag (Disney's take on (perennial playground favourite British Bulldog) and Match Minnie (where you must copy the dance moves of Mickey's lady mouse friend), the spread is certainly diverse and entertaining. And if you fancy something a little more relaxed, you can go fishing at the central pond and earn yourself even more beans.
The combat itself isn't nearly as mtertaining as it might be. Much as have liked to have been able to construct an elaborate trap from pulleys, counterweights and birdseed, or don an Acme rocket pack in emulation of my onetime hero Wile E. Coyote, the combat is simply a case of selecting a gag (Cogs have an aversion to practical jokes) and hoping it hits home, then watching your opponent unleash paper clips and business jargon at you. If he explodes before you run out of Laff points, you receive the usual dribble of experience points. And the more XP you collect, the more gags become available later on.
Cheer Up You!
Combat is marginally more interesting when other players join the fray, but even with Toon-up' gags that heal other players and Sound gags that can be employed to defeat a line of Cogs, the combat really is about as basic as it gets. Seeing as Toons don't die, player death is not something you have to worry about - if you are defeated in battle, you're simply sent to the nearest playground until you cheer up.
Toontown is unique among its online RPG peers, but certainly isn't for everyone. If you tend to make it your aim in online games to become a high-level killing machine, then you will definitely tire of Toontown in just a few hours. Similarly, without any Guild options or proper chat facilities, if you like to role-play you're sure to despise the game for its lack of real player interaction.
However, away from the target market, the game has much to offer the older online gamer; its simplicity and diversity are definite plus points, but most of all it's just a lot of fun - certainly if you prefer to play in fits and bursts.
Along with the option to furnish your crazy Toon house, dress your character up in evermore garish apparel and even expend your wealth of jellybeans on extra moves and emotes, there's plenty to aim for and accomplish. Even on the technical side the game is not left wanting, since you can switch servers effortlessly to join your mates. Basically, all those things that dog most online RPGs don't exist here because it's hard for people to exploit the system. As a consequence, Toontown is about the most relaxed and stress-free online game there is.
Download Toontown Online
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP