Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall Review
Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Grigon Entertainment / Cartoon Network 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Cartoon Network 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 14, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (Multiplayer Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Fallen Champions?
by Matthew Walker

I remember thinking several years ago how cool it would be to have a massive game that included Cartoon Network characters. At the time though, it probably wouldn’t have been done very well considering what it would have taken. Even now, thinking of a game developed and published by Cartoon Network might scare a few.

Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall screenshot

Furthermore, the aspect of it being an MMO has caused several to completely dismiss the title. After all, when there is a plethora of free and other MMO-type games springing up everywhere since the beginning of the year, how does FusionFall distinguish itself?

For starters, there’s the story that seamlessly integrates the characters, making their inclusion feasible in the seemingly separate universes. Though the explanation is simply “this is Earth and everyone is here,” it works well enough and doesn’t really ask you to ponder on the thought any further. Planet Fusion has arrived near Earth and the evil leader Fuse is trying to take over the world like he and his minions have done to several other planets. Dexter, boy genius, who now, much like the rest of the characters, is older than when we saw him last, begins the process of gathering heroes and willing volunteers to battle Fuse and save the Earth.

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Things kick off with you preparing for your first mission. Dexter and his A.I. robot Computress are setting the time machine to help you get to the point you are most needed to help the “resistance.” This is also where you will customize your character. The amount of customization is sort of limited at the beginning. You can change the hair style, hair color, eyes, and then the various options for your clothing all with a very heavy anime feel to it.

Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall screenshot

After going through the steps of character creation, Dexter continues preparing you for the mission, but then another character starts popping up in the background of the hologram: Dexter’s sister Dee Dee. Playing true to fashion, Dee Dee pushes a button right at the time you are teleported and messes things up. Upon arriving in the future, you are greeted by Numbuh Five (Kids Next Door) and Ben Tennyson (Ben 10: Alien Force). After finding out what is currently going on, there’s a short tutorial for the controls of your character. Actually, most of the beginning part acts as a tutorial, thus describing the things you will need to accustom yourself with in order to become a champion of FusionFall.

As one might expect from an MMO game, there are a lot of “accept this mission for this reward” mechanics. Various Cartoon Network characters will give you missions to carry out in order to progress the story along. Each mission not only gives you experience known as Fusion Matter, a substance that will enable you to acquire Nanos, cute little flying versions of the characters, there are also occasional missions that will grant you Taros, money, and various other items that you might need. The Nanos themselves serve another purpose other than just a pixie version of your favorite characters. They are linked to your character’s level; if you have three of them, then your character is at level three. Up to 36 Nanos can be collected, and they will also grant you various abilities while they are active or they will help you fight against whatever adversary you are facing at the time. There are several Nanos that you can get like Buttercup (The Power Puff Girls,) Numbuh Two (Kids Next Door,) Aku (Samurai Jack), and even Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Each of the Nanos can travel visibly with your character before their timed health bars are drained and they have to rest. You can access up to three of the Nanos at time, which should enable you to create a well-rounded balance in the abilities you will have.

Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall screenshot

The Nanos won’t be enough, however, in your fight against Fuse and his monsters, you need weapons as well. You start out with a weapon blaster for long range attacks. Soon thereafter you will receive an energy sword for more melee-oriented combat. While occasionally you will receive weapons after missions, you will still need to visit the shops provided by Dexter’s robot throughout the areas. As a bit of caution, don’t start pining over the items in the stores until you have acquired several Taros, because the beginning price of anything is 1,000 Taros. In addition to weapons, there are also healing items, although you may not need the healing items due to the health recharging mechanic in the game. As long as you aren’t taking damage, you aren’t dying.

Of course, there will also be instances that you won’t be able to handle as easily by yourself, and what would an MMO be without the option to party up? You and up to three other friends can join forces to complete the missions. Though you will have to ensure that you are all together, get too far apart and you may disband. Aside from the partying up with friends and other players, you can also trade items amongst other players. This system can be both very useful and a bit cumbersome due to the lack of items some may want to trade.

Screenshots / Images
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