Hands-on / Freaky Creatures

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A new gaming fad aimed at the “tween” demographic is coming from Abandon Interactive, or so they hope. Starting early 2009 we could see middle schoolers everywhere sporting strange USB flash drives, trading power cards and even fighting via cell phone during class (this last action is not “officially” condoned, of course).

This new game is called Freaky Creatures and it is the first of its kind — a collectible action figure/cross-platform MMO/trading card game. The story of Freaky Creatures is set so far in the future that “the fates of planets are decided by epic battles between genetically-customized creatures.” Sounds like our kind of future just without ninjas. To be a part of this world, players will have to buy a starter pack which comes with two collectible figurines, a USB drive and a starter deck. The USB will contain information only for the two figures purchased and sadly there will be more of some than others, so buy the cool ones before they’re gone. Then players punch in the codes on their trading cards to unlock body parts, powers and lair items.

Once their characters have been built, players can go online to battle. Battles will level characters as well as unlock new abilities and features. Players can even create and customize a lair for their new creature to play in. Also, to stay connected in as many ways as possible, Freaky Creatures will include comic books, blogs, leader-boards, contests and mini-games.

Just a quick note before we dive into the hands-on, thanks to the good folks at Abandon, TVGB readers can check Freaky Creatures out for themselves and get priority access to the beta going on now. You can sign up at www.freakycreatures.com and use the secret code: THATVIDEOGAME.

Recently we got to go hands on with the game and even though the build we got to see was still a bit buggy, it impressed with a strange Frankenstein meets Pokemon vibe. Each character can be customized a myriad of ways from horns, tails and wings to brass knuckles, swords and space guns. Customizing a character, based on whatever package a player gets, creates a sense of uniqueness which is great considering at launch there will be only 10 characters. However, with all the customization options, there will be over 3.2 billion visual combinations possible at launch.

The battle system was a little disappointing because when it was our turn to play all the weapons had been used up. Thankfully we chose the lightening shooting tail, so we were set. Once we found a challenger in the lobby, it was go time. Like Pokemon, battles are turn-based, but lack the exciting cut scenes found in Pokemon Stadium. Eventually players can even battle on the go with their mobile phones, but this won’t be an option at launch. We weren’t even able to see a demonstration on that one yet.

The lair part of the game seemed perfect for the collector and committed fan. Each lair object can be used for each of the creatures’ lair, so no fretting over which new pet gets be best gear. While in the lair, creatures will display emotion and players can interact with them based on their moods. For example if a player’s Rexar is sad they can use the mouse to give it a comforting pet or its favorite treat.

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