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Gen Con 2008: Freaky Creatures impressions

by: Tyler -
More On: Blog
I managed to check out several titles geared for the younger crowd this year, starting with Freaky Creatures, an action-figure/video game hybrid targeting an audience of 6-14 years of age.

Back in my day, we had to imagine our toys into battle, supplying sound effects and cool visuals with nothing but our minds. Freaky Creatures is looking to change that, allowing kids to take their action figures online, kit them out with some individual powers and features, and then duke it out with opponents across the globe.

What kids will get initially is a pack of two action figure monsters, which are by themselves some pretty cool toys. However, also included in the starter pack is a flash drive containing the electronic game portion of the product. With this, kids get an online avatar of their action figure. Once they’ve uploaded themselves, players can customize their monsters with a nice selection of weapons, special attacks, and powers. They can also set up each monster’s lair, which really doesn’t have much in-game function, but it allows the kids some nice ways to individualize the monsters.

The meat of Freaky Creatures, of course, is the battle. Players can take their customized monsters and challenge other players’ monsters in a one-on-one battle. There’s not really a lot of depth to the fight, it’s just matter of choosing a target body part with which to attack, while the opponent does the same. A sort of “rock-paper-scissors” mechanic is in play, so one player’s head attack might beat the opponent’s tail swipe, but might be crushed by that left hook. After each player chooses an attack, the monsters enter a round of combat complete with some nifty visuals, and damage is dealt. After a monster’s health is depleted, it goes to sleep (no death here), and a winner is declared.

As monsters do battle, they gain experience with which they open up new abilities and weapons to further customize themselves. Again, there’s not a terribly deep system in place, but I could see myself having some fun with it back in the halcyon days of my youth.

Because Freaky Creatures specifically targets the younger crowd, there will be careful monitoring of all chat-rooms, battles, and other online activities to keep things safe for the monsterific mayhem.

Freaky Creatures should be rolling out in a month or so, with a 2-monster starter pack launching the system. Following this are some single-monster boosters, adding more monsters (and greater variety) to the mix. It could be cool fun for the young ones, but we’ll have to see if the simplistic fighting mechanic and online world can draw interest away from the much deeper online alternatives.