E3 2010: Hands-on with Clone Wars Adventures

Arriving at the SOE booth at E3, one is assaulted with the shininess of their latest upcoming titles, DC Universe Online and The Agency. But scattered about the booth were demo stations for many of their other upcoming games including the recently announced Clone Wars Adventures. We haven't heard much about this game since it was announced (and our subsequent interview with the lead designer), but we got to sit down at E3 and find out what's involved.

As a quick refresher, CWA is less a traditional MMORPG and more a virtual lobby where players can access a number of minigames. There's no leveling or quests or equipment with stats. It's more Free Realms and less EverQuest. It will be free-to-play as a Flash-based browser title when it arrives this fall. But how does all this actually play? Click past the jump for more info.

The lobby

The game is set on a space station and you can roam the rooms, interacting with other players as well as popular characters from the Clone Wars animated series such as Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu and Captain Rex. You can change outfits to reflect the many classic looks of the Star Wars Universe, summon non-combat minipets to follow you or use Jedi mind-tricks to set illusionary objects revolving around your head. These abilities and items will be purchasable through the cash shop and don't affect game play.

The lobby is the social part of the game. Since the title is kid-oriented, there are chat restrictions in place to keep the communication between players safe. GMs will also be monitoring chat for red flags such as someone asking other players for their address.

The cash shop wasn't active in this demo so I don't have many specifics on what is purchasable. New outfits, minipets and speederbikes were what I saw. I also glimpsed a lightsaber-building screen but wasn't sure how that was integrated into the microtransaction process.

Check out the gallery below for many of the outfits and minipets in the current build of the game. Ignore the many placeholder icons in the screenshots.

The minigames

From the lobby, you can access player housing (not available in the demo I was playing), in-game email, the cash shop and minigames. The minigames range from puzzle-based challenges to word games to action games. Though all were Clone Wars-themed, some of the games were a great fit while others seemed shoved in. Lightsaber-training with Obi-wan, the blaster-shooting gallery and the speederbike races made you feel like you were in the Star Wars universe. On the other hand, many of the other games simply felt like popular, casual games with a Clone Wars theme grafted on top.

The stand-out for me was the Tower Defense minigame. Though limited to only three kinds of tower types to combat the influx of droids, heavy assualt mechs and combat ships, it was challenging and fun. Destroying the enemy troops often resulted in a special dropped item that could be used in a pinch, like an EMP grenade to temporarily stun a column of marching droids or an anti-tank mine to deal with the ships.

Again, Clone Wars Adventures is not a traditional MMO, but for casual fun in the Clone Wars universe, it definitely had me. Scheduled to launch this fall, the game already seems mostly built out. I'm looking forward to seeing how housing will be implemented and what other kinds of minigames will be added.%Gallery-95594%