World War Toons got my attention after seeing the E3 trailer in June 2015. Since then I have to say that I was a bit hyped on this game. World War Toons is an upcoming free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter with VR support coming to PC and PS4, developed and published by Reload Studios. The game is also designed to be more children-friendly, but also appeal to the mature audience that is searching for an addictive, fun and action-packed FPS game to play this year.
FPS with Native VR support
World War Toons was developed from the ground up for VR, but can also be played without a VR headset. Reload Studios has announced that the PS4 version of the game will be released on October 13th, the same date the PSVR is released, so PS4 players can play it on VR on day one, without any delays. Support for other VR headsets will be announced soon according to the company's official website.
What makes World War Toons Unique
So what makes World War Toons so unique among all the other first-person shooters? Well, the first thing that makes the game so appealing in my opinion is its Disney-like cartoonish visuals. I personally love these type of visuals in FPS games. I love that in Overwatch, Team Fortress 1 & 2 and I know that I'll love it in World War Toons. I love having a touch of humor when playing FPS games, it just makes the game more enjoyable as a whole. Reload Studios employs some of the world's most talented artists and we can certainly see this when looking at the game's screenshots and gameplay video.
From what I understand, the game will ship in two different version, a VR and non-VR version ("We’re also shipping a non-VR version. " - playstation.com). I hope that they'll have a single version of the game, because what if I want to play the game in VR and my brother wants to play without a VR headset, I don't want to buy two separated version of the same game. That being said, because the game was designed from the ground up for VR, you can expect it to play well and provide a full possible immersion and the best comfortable viewing experience, compared to shooters that weren't designed from the ground up to support VR.
I've read several articles in which Reload Studios mentioned that they classic FPS controls just don't work well for VR, and they have to use the left stick and four-way control, as well as optimize the camera movement to make the game comfortable to view so people won't feel dizzy while playing it for a long period of time. The gameplay should provide VR players with comfortable viewing experience and a control scheme that feels convenient and natural as much as possible.
Humor, Vivid Visuals and Cool Maps
The game levels and characters are vivid, full of personality and the whole combat experience is full of crazy power-ups effects and cool animations. One of the powerups, for example, is the radioactive barrel, that once you pick it up, you will deal damage while being closer to enemies, without even shooting them. The TNT Rocket power-up, for example, is a great anti-tank weapon, which can deal a great deal of damage to characters that turned into tanks, and therefore harder to kill. The Piano powerup can be used to shoot heavy pianos out of the sky, kind of an Area of Affect (AOE) spell that can deal damage to several targets in the area of where the pianos fall down.
The combat itself looks really fun. You can choose to play a certain class like a cunning Officer, the stalwart Soldier or a rocket-launching Heavy dude that best fits your playstyle and you can change a class on the fly by picking up the weapons of another character that you've just killed (same as Battlefield 3/4. There are currently only four classes available, but there are plans to add more classes in the near future. Each class has its basic weapon. The Soldier has a machine gun, the Sniper has a sniping rifle, the Officer has a pistol and the Heavy uses a rocket launcher.
In World Wat Toons, two teams, "the Germans" and "the Allies", fighting against each other in beautifully designed maps. Another thing that I really like about the game is that it features really unique maps that aren't just for beauty, but also full of gadgets, hazards and offer unique gameplay experience. For example, the Dread Zepplin map that takes place on a massive airborne battleship in a classic King of the Hill battle. Players will need to control key points long enough for the cannon to destroy the enemy's ships. You need to stay and protect the capture point in order to the weapon to have enough time to charge the rocket and fire it up. According to the Dread Zeppelin trailer, it takes one bullet to take down one ship. The first team that kills 3 ships wins the match. That somewhat reminds me of Heroes of the Storm pirate ship, that the team who bribes the mighty pirate first, will get to use the ship's cannon to bombard the base towers of the enemy team.
On July, Reload Studios introduced a new map called Pyramid Scheme, an Egyptian style map, filled with traps, hazards, and widgets. Players will need to grab an artifact called Ra Chicken and bring it to their base. The team who was able to bring 3 of this Ra Chicken artifacts, wins the match. There are also the classic capture the flag mode and other modes, but all in all, it seems that World War Toons is also trying to innovate by creating unique game modes and maps that will be more challenging and fun for players, instead of just being a nice theme of the same old known FPS gameplay experience that we all know and love.
On August 2016, Reload Studios revealed the Abilities trailer that showcases the character abilities in the game. For example, the Soldier character has the "Pik-a-Nik Basket" ability, that you can drop on the ground and let you and your teammates regain health. However, unlike the well know medic pack, you know have a picnic basket that pops out fruits, really cool.
The Officer character has an ability called "Ballet Time", yeah, the funny variation of "Bullet Time". You can use this ability to dodge enemy fire by dancing your way out of incoming bullets - so funny. The Officer also has a bonus ability called "Double Jump!", like it's name suggests, it allows you to make double jumps. It's useful to dodge attacks but also useful when jumping on platforms, like in the Pyramid Scheme map for example.
The Sniper character, the latest to be announced in the game, has an ability called "Bombelganger", which is used to distract your opponents with an exploding decoy, while your character turns invisible. A very useful ability for a sniper that wants to avoid being detected.
See all the abilities in the Abilities Reveal video in the video section below.
World War Toons lacks o a mini map. Instead of that, players will be able to see where played died and know that some action is going on in that place. When a player dies, their ghost with angle wings will pop out on the map, so you know exactly when a player dies and where. Reload Studios opted for this solution instead of a mini-map because it's a better fit for VR. With VR, clear large visual cues are always better than small UI elements, and actually, less is better.
World War Toons also features a tank system, which allows players to transform their character into a tank for a short period of time. Each class character transforms into a different tank, but all tanks are inspired by real tanks from World War II. Obviously, in this mode, you become tankier and can absorb and deal more damage, so you need to know when is the best time to use that ability and make the best out of it and you can only transform into a tank one time during a match.
Looks Great and It Looks like it's Going to Play Great!
The use of power-ups, unique character abilities, character transformation, and unique game modes, makes the game really fun to play but also very enjoyable to watch. I think that World War Toons differentiate itself enough and optimized well for VR to make it a popular FPS game for players among all ages.