Published by OGPlanet, Heva Clonia Online is an Asian-import MMORPG with a cartoony motif but a lot of heart. Below is a first impressions filled with its odd keyboard-centric control set, animation-styled landscapes, and a little comedy-wacky sound set. The game has been in open beta since October 17, 2013 and as a result has been gathering a community like a snowball.
The NPCs are comical, the fights are wacky, and the game is a little bit of a grind through waves of monster carpets–in the case of this first impressions mainly sea creatures.
With only a few hours of play, it’s obvious that a notable world is yet to be uncovered by OGPlanet and HC has a lot of ground to cover yet.
Graphics and Sound: Imagine playing in a cartoon where adventure awaits
Ordinarily, I start by looking at the “look” of a game and that will come shortly. New players looking into Heva Clonia will discover that being a Korean import MMO means that all the voiceovers are also in Korean. For most Western audiences this will actually not be a problem–most of us are already used to games having no voiceovers and dialogue text becomes the game.
The overlay of a language most Western players don’t understand adds an extra exotic layer to the MMO experience. Of course, if you happen to know Korean…that could be a different positive.
The graphics of HC paint a cartoonish picture, which places it solidly into the same bucket of many different cartoony MMOs on the market. The worlds that it presents are vivid in a cartoony way, many contrasting colors, sharp sweeps of light and dark. The environments fit into an equally cartoon world, replete with interesting architecture, beaches of white sand (where appropriate), palm trees, sapphire blue water lapping against the shore.
I better explain this in the gameplay section, but camera controls seems to fit into graphics. The game doesn’t mention mouse-controls for movement/attack so there’s no apparent camera control–of course until you discover you can click-to-move… If you use arrow-keys the camera motion activates entirely on player location in the game world. This can feel a little disorienting at first; but after enough play it’s easy enough to acclimate to.
The music in HC is fairly quaint, and reminds me a little bit of Legend of Zelda–especially the modern titles–and its very much fitting to the animated pastel atmosphere.
The rest of the sounds fit nicely into a sort of Korean MMO melange, squeaks, cries, oofs, and slams. Fighting with the different creatures (mostly sea creatures!) meant a lot of cracks and squeaks were involved. Although, somewhere in there was a deflated-squeaky-toy bleat that became so repetitive that fighting the critters became a little bit of a strange comedy.
Overall, the MMO has all the sounds expected from a fight on the beach–against cartoon, plastic toys–and the requisite anime-like squeals and grunts.
Gameplay: Everyone starts out a traveller and branches out from there
First, Heva Clonia starts from a web browser—this isn’t the first time that I’ve seen a game that had an apparent app client that did this, but it’s just a little odd having to log in through a browser to start a non-browser-based game. I decided to hook into the game via Facebook (one of the login options) and installed it pretty easily.
From the look of it HC doesn’t have character classes at the start. I was only asked to make a character using a limited number of hair-dos, hair colors, faces, skin color, etc. and choose a gender. From there I ended up with a sword and a striped shirt. Everyone starts out the same class–a Traveller–but after enough levels are earned a more standard role is offered for Warriors, Magicians, and Hunters (each of which tier up later on.)
The tutorial was fun and introduced some interesting concepts…and also introduced HC’s odd control set. With this game I found myself keyboard-only for most of the time (except certain UI elements that required my mouse) using arrow keys to move, ‘ASDF’ for attacks, number keys for consumables (and specials I suspect.) The ‘Z’ key is used to lock on to a nearby target (usually reserved for TAB) and ‘C’ is used to jump. ‘Space’ is used for almost everything else—interaction with NPCs, picking up items, etc.
Combat is the usual hotbar conflict; but every now and then some attacks would trigger a small combo using arrow-keys. At low levels just one arrow-key (often the right arrow) but at higher levels multiple presses. These combos seemed to increase outgoing damage and meant paying attention to the fight (and screen) meant something.
This is not the usual command set to say the least. So it might take some getting used to.
Much of the game plays out like a regular RPG from there. Go to NPC, talk to NPC, pick up a quest to do something in the game world. Movement can be interesting because of the level design, and the amusing use of cannons to send players from place-to-place sometimes (now that’s an unexpected game mechanic.)
I found myself fighting sea life from the get-go. First sea urchins, then hermit crabs, then meaner hermit crabs, birds, octopus—nothing that lives near the shore or in the ocean was safe from my stabby blades!
The lack of a class from the get-go seemed interesting to me, but as I wandered through the lowbie areas I did get more than just my initial sword. I came out with an axe, a great-sword, a shield, and even a pair of wooden knuckle-dusters. Of course, later on in the game, a class will become available to forge along into.
Freemium: Nothing out of the ordinary here
As a free-to-play game, Heva Clonia is supported by a virtual item store.
From a few visits into the store, it looks like the usual microtransaction marketplace with items for sale that can be found in any MMORPG: mostly boosts, quality-of-life items, services (such as additional character slots and inventory space); and costume/aesthetic items. There’s even a box of clones–i.e. little pets that follow everyone around–that can pop out a random clone pet for people to show off.
There were a few other higher priced items that were random boxes that may give out types of armor or costumes. In all, the cash shop looks fairly much par for the RPG course for games such as this and while an in-depth review would take more time, it seems that the store is just the ordinary type.
Conclusion: Heva Clonia Online is an weird, but middle-of-road MMORPG
One thing I noticed is that there seems to be a community there; but nobody talked to me at all. In fact, the chat was largely dominated with gold sellers, people trading demon claws, and just other jabber. I didn’t hear one peep out of anyone in local when I talked to them; although I did see other players nobody talked. This could be a problem for more social players.
The non-orthodox control scheme might make this game a little bit of an oddball; but it’s not badly put together. The tutorial gives a fair idea of what to expect, it uses the whole paper-doll RPG scheme for equipment, there’s a real set of upgrades and powers.
As the game continues, no doubt it’ll expand into something interesting–and the popularity already in the game seems to suggest that.
The starting-out-one-class certainly has some benefits for getting used to the game before ending up in a particular role; but it also takes away a little bit of the unique-feeling of individual classes. A more in-depth review would have to explore the progression and how it feels in the game.
It’s a cutesy-cartoon MMO in a market slowly filling up with same. A first impressions can only scratch the surface and talk about how the game feels in the hand–and this one feels okay. If the social elements up themselves a PvE content unfurls itself, it could be a great casual game to play. Much like any other Korean grinder RPG, there could be a lot of octopus wearing pots on their heads in your future.