Now I am a massive Hello Kitty fan and when someone says to me go review Hello Kitty Online (HKO) I am all over it like a rash. However, how fun can a MMORPG set in a candy encrusted Hello Kitty world really be?
It seems that I am a bit of a late comer to the HKO party; the online community was formally launched in Europe in 2009, with international releases around the same time, although some of the international servers have closed down and when walking around the different Hello Kitty worlds you do not seem to bump in to many other players, the most I have seen on one map is 5 including me.
The best thing about HKO is that it is completely and utterly free. When you download the game you initially just download the introductory world, this world teaches you how to play the game and all the little techniques you need to become successful in later worlds. It takes minutes to download and install. Whilst you are going through the Dream World as it is called the rest of the world packs are downloading in the background. The only problem with going from the Dream World into the main game is that everything you earn including experience points will not go through to the main game with you. Only items which you have crafted get transferred over. Now I thought there was going to be a big difference between the dream world and the main game, there wasn’t. It was pretty much the same, even the characters seemed to be in the same place in the world, and this disappointed me slightly as I thought it would be more original than that.
HKO is not primarily about battles, it is more of a quest and craft kind of MMORPG. You speak to different Hello Kitty characters and you will get an abundance of quests to keep you occupied, these quests mainly consist of searching for lost items or going to speak to another Hello Kitty character and delivering goods. These quests earn you experience points which allow you to upgrade your characters skills which then in turn allows you to expand in the game. It’s all so simple. You will find that the majority of these quests are rehashes of the quest you completed five minutes ago, but you will do it anyway because, well, just think of those shiny experience points.
Back to battles, you can liken HKO battles to Pokémon in the way that the creatures you are fighting do not die; they faint and regain consciousness within a minute of being down. I can see why they have done this to make it light and child friendly. However if I kill something in a game…I want them to die! Not just fall asleep….unless it is a cute Pokémon…gah I love those little guys.
Mini games play a big part in HKO; you can help other Hello Kitty characters by playing mini games and gaining certain scores for them. This would be a brilliant part of the game if these mini games weren’t so hard and frustrating. This is aimed at a mainly pre-teen audience who I’m sure can fly through the mini games easily. Solving sums at a fast pace is not for me and it seems my reaction speed isn’t up to scratch with what Hello Kitty wants. But I am going to put this down to being too old. I found these gave the game a bit of variety but ultimately I found them annoying and some of them didn’t even make sense no matter how much you read the ‘how to play’ section. It seems some are based of luck so you find yourself playing them again and again just to complete the task at hand.
Overall I think that HKO is a good game that I’m sure is a hit with a younger audience. It provides a safe and colourful world for younger people to play with like-minded people. It’s a charming game that is a change from the hack and slash world we seem to be in. BUT I found it to be quite boring, it lacks action and excitement. The battles aren’t great; you just have to repeatedly click the right mouse button and the mini games frustrate the hell out of me. Looking past the cutesy Hello Kitty super fan exterior it is a very plain game
MWG Rating: 6/10 Platform: PC Release Date: 2009
Disclosure: MidWife Gamer entered the world of Hello Kitty Online for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 1 week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.