World War Toons beta is a free to play first person shooter launched October 13th with on PSVR and PS4
I first found World War Toons when browsing the PlayStation store the day I got my PSVR headset, and added it to my downloads, because, what the heck, it’s free. It sat in my library for a week while I played the other launch titles like REZ, Battlezone, and Driveclub VR. I finally got around to playing it after watching a youtuber playing online, and had to go and see if it was as bad as the video made it out to be (it wasn’t).
There are 16 characters and 4 classes of characters in World War Toons:
- The Heavy: a rocket launcher wielding brute with a leap-smash ability called the “Bulk smash”.
- The Sniper: a sharp shooter with gun that “inflates” heads for head shot, and an exploding “Bombelganger”.
- The Officer: a fleet footed force of nature with a bullet avoiding “Ballet Time”.
- The Soldier: a machine gunner with the special ability to heal themselves and teammates with “Pik-a-Nik Basket”.
Each class brings something different to the battlefield, and I hope they add more classes in the future. I liked the soldier the most, as it seemed to be the most balanced and easy to play. Being able to self heal made a huge difference. The Officer was fun to run circles around your opponents, the Heavy was good for quick eliminations, and the sniper made head-shots easy and satisfying.
World War Toons is set in an over-the-top cartoon universe. Spring loaded launchpads that launch you across the maps, onto building rooftops, and from one airship to another. Power-ups straight out of the ACME catalog like a giant red rockets, Uranium power cells, giant bouncing bombs, an exploding Kool-aid man, and falling pianos mix up the gameplay, and keeps the players moving around the map to avoid the constant chaos.
Each character class also has a tank ability that can be powered up over time, and sped up with bonuses from crates, and kills. Tanks come in light, medium and heavy varieties, and have charged and standard shots. Tanks more than anything else can affect the balance of the game, but a fair amount of the time, players activate the tank abilty at the same time.
The two factions of the game are the Axis and Allies. Aside from outward appearance share the same ability sets. Trooper types each have a set of alternate skins and personalities. My favorite variations were the Axis officer “Sturmshark” and soldier “Otto bot”. Characters have their own individual voice lines upon spawn, death, and opponent elimination, and for the most part are “cute”, similar to other multi-player games in this genre. I appreciated that the Axis quotes weren’t overtly “Nazi”, and no direct Third-Reich imagery was present in the game, but I would have appreciated it if the quotes were in English, and not German. Otto Bot says something about “John Connor” that I assume is a Terminator reference, but the rest of it was lost on me.
There are four maps in the game:
- Moulah Ruse is a “free for all” map with a Christmas theme for the holiday. This map has the most personality, is totally chaotic, and was the most fun to play.
- Sacre Blue is a war-torn French village team deathmatch map that seemed to re-spawn you a little too close to the combat at times, but overall a good experience.
- Pyramid Scheme is a cartoony Egypt capture the flag match with Indiana Jones like traps. This was one of the more confusing maps to play, and took multiple times to figure out.
- Dread Zeppelin is a King of the Hill point capture map that starts off with a giant leap from the aforementioned spring launcher, which is a ton of fun in VR!
Speaking of VR, this game would be completely off of my radar, were it not for the VR aspect of the game. For review, I did play a few rounds of the “flat game” version of the game, and whereas the framerate was super smooth and the graphics very sharp and clean, it had little appeal. The PSVR version of the game, on the other hand, adds a whole new level of experience to the multiplayer first person shooter game. I’ve played other VR games that were converted to VR after the fact, but it makes all the difference that the game was designed for VR from the ground up. I look forward to more games like this, and from this developer.
All of that being said, this game is in beta. I won’t spend too much time laying out the faults of the game and the lack of overall “polish” of this game. I don’t expect this game to be Overwatch or Call of Duty when it comes to multiplayer matches. Networking issues and lag created multiple events of players jumping/teleporting from one location to another, or taking damage long after the shots hit, or not taking any damage at all even though being directly hit. I found that targeting “bot” opponents not affected by networking was the best course of action.
Unlike other PSVR multi-player online games, there was always a game going, even if half populated by bots. I never had to wait more than a minute or two to get into a game. At times, it did seem that people were playing as a team, but most of the time, it was just mindless runnnig around and soloing. I would have like to have had voice chat built in, or at least a system of communication by emotes. I hope that over time, the community builds for this game and see some teamwork and strategy.
The control scheme varies from full analog controls with head aiming to VR comfort modes that “snap” turn to help reduce nausea. For the review, I played with full analog controls for maximum immersiveness. If you are playing this game for the first time, start off in the “playground” mode to get a feel for the weapons, spring jumps, zip lines, crate abilities, and tanks. The framerate and hit-detection in the playground mode are great, and really show the potential of what’s to come.
Overall, I think World War Toons is a great game for the price (hey, it’s free!), without suffering from being a pay-to-win experience like other games of this type. Crates can be bought with in-game coin currency or purchased credits called “loonies”. Upgrades come in the form of cosmetic modifications like hats and skins, and upgrades to weapon reload, ammo capacity, and movement speed.
If you haven’t tried World War Toons out yet, I advise you to at least give it a download and a few rounds of multiplayer. That being said, be aware that some aspects of the game like the character select screen in VR can be confusing and frustrating. Sometimes, the game makes you try and fit a “puzzle piece” into a puzzle to start playing, but you have to look-move the piece somewhere outside of the puzzle to start. Also, player death can be confusing, as often you will die for no apparent reason, and becoming a disembodied “angel” before returning to the character select screen is a weird choice.
The playground is super smooth, but the multiplayer has some glitchy issues.
Nothing new to see here in gameplay. It’s obvious that this games roots are like Call of Duty and Team Fotress.
The cartoony graphic style and animations are great. At this point with the PS4 and PSVR, you can’t ask for much more.
I never felt like sounds were distant or near like in games like Overwatch. On occasion, the sound of planes flying overhead were convincing. The character’s voicelines were cute at times, but the game just sounded “foreign”.
I liked shooting the bots more than the people, because I knew if I shot them, it was going to hit. At times, my cursor had an “x” on it instead of a regular reticle, and it had no rhyme or reason as to why. I loved that this was a FPS in VR, but I didn’t have as much fun as I do with similar “flat” games.
Replay Value 7/10
The sense of progression will keep many players coming back. You want to level up your guns and characters, and get enough coins for that next crate. As the game updates and patches, I’m sure I will be returning to this game plenty in 2017.
Price to Worth 8/10
It’s free, but it could still be better. I look foward to seeing what this game has to offer once out of beta.
Options for comfort 10/10
I like that they give full FPS controls to this. The head aiming option is awesome, and changes the face of VR first person shooters.
Loading Times 6/10
The matches don’t take long to start, but I think that it’s mostly because they are often populated by bots (you can tell it’s a bot by “punny” names.
It’s a free online game. I’m sure new maps, skins, and modes will be added to keep it fresh. The character select screens are atrocious, and other issues with matchmaking, and frequent games ending unexpectedly hold it back.
Pro support?: Yes
The PS4 Pro does improve the graphics and framerate. It’s a pretty game.