A Quick Look At Faunasphere

Have you ever wondered what all those pets you collect in the various pet-having games do when you store them away into their little virtual storage spaces?  I suppose I hadn't really wondered that either until I wrote that, but I do now.  I think it might look a little something like Faunasphere

Big Fish Games is crafting what looks to be a quite interesting MMOG in the "free-to-play most of it, and pay for more of it -- right in your web browser!" genre of online multiplayer games.  Yeah, I think that's roughly a "genre" at this point.  I'm not looking forward to someone cranking out an acronymn for it -- and I'll spare you the pain of me trying to be funny and acronimificate my afore-mentioned genre description.  You're welcome.

At any rate, let's chat about the game for a little bit...

Faunasphere is currently in a closed beta as of this writing, so this isn't a review, but more of a quick overview since things are still changing and all that -- typical beta phase goodness. (Want a beta account?  We might still have some available, so sign up for our giveaway!) 

Starting out in Faunasphere, I was quickly charmed by the graphic look & feel of this decidedly "casual" game.  The creatures you control (called "Fauna") are very appealing and fun.  The animations are interesting and fun, and the sounds all work very nicely.  Really, everything I've come across has been appealing on some level... and fun.  (You didn't notice how many times I used that word, did you?)

...wait a minute, I wasn't going to do a review.  This is sounding like a review.  Back to the basics:

You start with one of three chosen Fauna and throughout the game, you'll be able to hatch new Fauna based on the genes of two "parent" Fauna (although the logistics of this parentage is not what you read about in biology class.)  I'm intrigued by this concept, but haven't quite hatched an egg yet.  I'm mostly running around exploring with my little red turtle, Shelby.  (Yeah, I'm <em>that</em> clever.)  You can hatch the egg yourself or even trade it to other players, which will then add their Fauna's genes to help influence the type of Fauna is hatched... I think.  That's roughly how I understand it for now, anyway.  Like I said, I'm not very far along yet.  :P

Faunasphere -- MassMOG.comThroughout the game world are iterations of various types of pollution that all the Fauna are looking to clean up so they can spiff up their world.  This is essentially what constitutes "combat" in this casual MMO, where you confront both passive and hostile pollution sources and zap 'em.

The social parts of the game include a pretty decent marketplace system and larger community projects  that require everyone to pitch in (I'll talk about that later.)  The markets allow players to put up stuff they find (like treasure, fancy foods, etc.) for sale to the other players -- players are called "Caretakers", by the way.  You can also add players as friends, which apparently creates a link at your Friend Gate from your home "Faunasphere."  Um... oh yeah, the Faunasphere.  I should talk about that, considering it's the game's namesake!

Each player gets their own little home space called their Faunasphere that they can customize using building blocks found in the world.  It's a pretty slick system with an editor that's simple to use and provides a grid where you can place & move objects from your building inventory.  So far I've been adding to my landmass with hunks of grass and dirt with reckless abandon.  Of course, I'm more utilitarian with these sorts of building things, but I'm sure there will be some nifty spaces created by players more creative skillz than I.  The items you place in your Faunasphere aren't always just aesthetic, as some of them will do things like increase (or decrease, if your Fauna doesn't approve) the happiness of your Fauna.  I'm sure there are many other things I haven't yet discovered.

One big thing I've just recently gotten done building in my home land is a Totem.  This totem is used to manufacture goods (among other things) that are bought/sold to contribute to the community projects.  (There are other uses of these Totems, but like I said before, this is just an intro to what I've seen so far.)  The community projects are something I haven't seen much of yet, but I do know it requires a lot of materials to complete.  One of which my Totem is making while we speak: who needs some multipipe?!  Other players will be able to buy my goods and then contribute them to the community project out in the main world.

I haven't made any friends yet (that sounded pathetic) but when I do, their own Faunaspheres will be linked to mine via the handy Friend Gate sitting on my lawn.  This should make it easy to buzz around checking out what your friends are doing with their home pads... I wonder if I'll be able to pollute their Faunaspheres by pooping little turtle turds on their lawns??  Hmmm... I'll have to get a friend so I can try that.

At any rate, I realize this is a grossly inadequate look at the game, but I wanted to write up an article with my fancy new setup here at MassMOG.com & this just gave me an excuse to write something up.  You'd do well to head over to the Faunasphere website and read up on stuff there.  There's a really nice article posted by the Art Director, Alan Diekfuss about "How Art Evolves in Faunasphere" that is a good read, for instance.  Go check that stuff out and maybe you'll find some stuff that appeals to you.  The game seems quite fun (didn't I mention that?) to me, even without lots of apparent killing, maiming & other manner of destruction!  (Wow, that made me sound like one of "those guys", didn't it.  Poor representation, that was!)  There is a definite "casual" feel to it that I find refreshing.  When this ships into the fray over at Big Fish Games, I'm guessing it will gather quite a lot of Caretakers who want to give it a try.

Lastly, if you're interested in getting into the closed beta that's going on right now, you can sign up at their website and hope for the best, or enter my little giveaway if you haven't missed it by the time you read this post.  The game is officially set to go live sometime "in August," (2009) so who knows when that will actually be.  Until then, I might be able to hook you up with a beta key if you're lucky.

OK, enough of this whole "typing" thing.


Game Story Image

Cleaning up the pollution is one of the common activities.
My Totem is primed and ready to produce mass quantities!
A busy social gathering.