Neopets: Petpet Adventures-- The Wand of Wishing - PSP - Preview
Once upon a time there were fairytale worlds and magical creatures. These creatures included Tormund and Roberta, the heroes of Neopets: The Darkest Faerie. As powerful as they were, they could not fight evil alone. They enlisted in the power of Petpets: small, helpful creatures that travel alongside heroes to aid them whenever necessary.
In 2006 the Petpets will depart from their heroes and go on their own adventure entitled The Wand of Wishing. This top-down adventure RPG is like Zelda for youngsters: it's slower-paced but has a great soundtrack. Battles are surprisingly difficult (you wouldn't think so given the characters' appearance), and the weapon selection is coming along well, and item inventory system is, if nothing else, balanced and easy to use.
Four playable characters are ready for battle from the start of the game. A number of new statistics appear next to each character, rating strength, agility, intelligence, defense, and health. Six circular emblems (each with a different color) are also shown. Numbers are assigned to each of the emblems, as well as a percentage. At this point it's not revealed what all this means, making it hard to determine which character is best. This meant it was time to implement a more sophisticated way for choosing a character: I will pick the one that looks the coolest.
Doglefox was my first choice. Part dog and part fox, this Petpet is prime for adventuring. His base statistics are equal, receiving a rating of 6. I didn't know it at the time, but increasing those statistics would become very easy later on in the game. All you have to do is train, and not through cheesy mini-games of button-mashing. Training takes place at the Battledome, where you and a monster are thrown into the arena for sport. The winner gets a token that may be used to increase any one of your statistics. Entry fees prevented me from competing in competitions as openly as I would've liked, but that might have been a good thing. Had the game let me compete with whoever, whenever, I might've ended up turning Doglefox into Doggie Dinner.
Mazzew is another one of the game's species. I'm not sure where (or what) this little fellow came from, but he looks like a bat without wings. His head is much bigger than the rest of his body, and his ears are enormous. His purple color seems fitting, but you may change that later on by taking a dip in a special lake. That's true of all the characters – no color has to be the same forever.
Mazzew's ratings aren't spectacular: a 7 for strength and an 8 for health, but 5s for everything else. That's not promising, but it does make him a better warrior. You'll need the extra strength when big birds and ugly green blobs start attacking.
Krawk is apparently a croc, but his face reminds me of a cartoon turtle. Maybe I've been watching too many animated shows lately? His thick scales are good for protection, but his health rating (5) is going to hurt if you're not careful with him.
Meowclops is the feline of the bunch. His species is drawn to cozy fires and are prone to napping. Hmmm, sounds a bit like me. Do they like to write and tell stories too, by any chance? His single, oversized eye is almost creepy, but his gentle smile and playful wave let kids know he means no harm.
Select one of these four Petpets and embark on a journey through exotic towns, dreary dungeons, and secluded battle arenas. Battles are conducted in real-time. If you want to attack you do it and move away from the enemy as quickly as possible. Monsters are not forgiving. They want to survive just as much as you. They'll fall for dirty tricks -- try rolling some dynamite over to where the monsters gather, light the fuse, and run for cover.
When an axe isn't handy, sometimes the only weapon you'll have access to is an old stick. It's not great, but it's better than using a Petpet's soft, furry fists to fight. Their fists can't harm anything.
The camera angle may be swiveled around to your liking. As far as I can tell that's the extent of control you'll have over the game view; this game had a top-down view when it was unveiled last spring and that element has yet to change.
What has changed is the graphics, which are now shinier, more detailed, more high-res. Petpet Adventures: The Wand of Wishing demonstrates the power of the PSP with a fancy opening sequence. The Petpet is dropped from above and floats to safety. Up high you get to see what the world looks like as if you were gazing down from an airplane. The solid environments and extensive use of bright colors fill the PSP's wide screen with some of the best visuals ever seen on a handheld device.
Due this February, Neopets: Petpet Adventures -- The Wand of Wishing looks to give the Neopets.com community a reason to get a PSP. Expect lots of mumbling dialogue in the final version, along with text translations to tell you what they're saying. With over 100 characters to interact with, over 800 items to take advantage of, and two-player battles for multiplayer excitement, The Wand of Wishing just might be the game Neopets fans have been wishing for.