Simutronics Corp's new Facebook game Fantasy University (F.U.) is less about gaming and more about being an interactive pun-filled storybook.
From the moment the F.U. experience begins, you will see humorous pop culture references ranging from TV and film to comic books and teen culture. The Facebook app will bring you several giggles in your first 10 to 20 minutes of play as you work your way through a fun character creation tool. The finely inked hand drawn characters and settings are also an instant delight. However, after those first 20 minutes are up, you will soon find that this game is lacking any real substance worthy of your ongoing attention.
There isn't a central story or theme in Fantasy University. The game is not like Farmville, where you try to develop the biggest and best farm, or like Mafia Wars, where you are on a one-way track to being Facebook kingpin. Instead, you are simply students at an odd University that makes Hogwarts seem mundane. Every character and setting is either a play on words or a crossbreed of different fan fiction. For example, the dormitory is called Mordorms as a play off of Mordor from Lord of the Rings. It's even drawn with the one-eye of Sauron at the top. The first person you meet is Mad Willy Jack, who is a combination of Captain Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands.
The game kicks off with an entertaining character creation menu. There are six classes of students at F.U Dodgebrawler, Mathemagician, Cheermonger, Slackninja, and Emomancer. You can easily pick up from the compound words the personality type and special ability of each character class. Gamers can modify the face, hair and weapons. You'll get most of your fun going through the different hairstyles like the 'Playin Kid' high top (based off of Kid 'n Play), the 'Verine' for Wolverine, 'Good ol Chuck' for Charlie Brown and the 'Smallville' for actor Tom Welling.
The game boils down to a series of fetch quests, picked up from the student union message board or one of the many cartoony characters, with a few battles sprinkled in between. Health doesn't replenish over time so you'll need to buy parsnip juice for a quick health boost or visit the school nurse. You'll kill a couple Spongeblobs (creatures that haunt the dreams of parents) here and there, while gaining experience and new abilities. Gamers can also craft new objects by experimenting with different items combinations from their inventory. The novelty of the humor begins to wear off without any story or motivational factors to tie all of your actions together. Fantasy University doesn't need to be Plot intensive; it just needs a goal to work towards.
Since most of the fetch quests will require a lot of clicking around to search and several lines of text to read, it will take a while before you stumble into the social part of the game. Gamers can invite BFFs to join their party, using them in battle or to complete various quests. Certain quests are designated by social class so you will only be able to go on it if one of your friends happens to be a Cheermonger, Emomancer or one of the other various classes.
Fantasy University is still in 'beta' so there's definitely room for improvement. Simutronics Corp just needs to add a touch of depth to the design so that gamers have a reason to uncover the various layers of comical pop-culture references.
Play Fantasy University on Facebook >