Heva Clonia Online, developed by WindySoft and published by OGPlanet, is an anime, chibi-styled MMORPG that offers a lot of activities that range from combat, quests, pet collecting, and old-fashioned dungeoning. With the plethora of Asian MMOs of similar aesthete these days, and the lot that I have played personally like Flyff, Dragon Nest, and Ragnarok Online, it gets pretty difficult to distinguish a genuine gem from a regular rock. So, I gave Heva Clonia a chance the past week, warily entering the world of Ariel.
More Cute Things From the East
Character creation is as simple as it can get. You have the option of being male or female, a few face and hair choices, and the clothing your character defaults with. Considering that this title is F2P, I can understand the limited choices that are initially available to players, and mostly other cosmetic options are available in its cash shop. There is nothing else remarkable about the system, but they did do a good job with the cutesy anime art style.
The visuals are so-so, not at all striking, but not at all bad. Considering that this is an early 2010’s title, I expected a tad bit more polish. The animations I find very bad as well. They can be static and clunky at times through jumping and attacking, and for an action-oriented MMORPG, that’s definitely not a good ideal. But what it really lacks in the character model department, it’s somewhat decent in portraying the sunny and happy ambience that Ariel should have as I found that most places were actually just pretty chill to afk in.
Start off in Style
You start off as a temporary level 60 in a tutorial dungeon that teaches you the basic gameplay. What had immediately caught me off-guard is the way that keys were initially bound. It is not at all keyboard friendly and it comes to mind that it was designed with for a gamepad. Though after checking the key layouts, it was great to find out that every single key could be mapped the way you would want, however, the key prompts in the tutorial do not update to any new key binds. What was the worst of it, though, was that you could not remap the left mouse click in any way and was, by default, set for movement clicking, disabling anyone who wanted the regular old hack and slash key mashing we’re all used to.
After about thirty minutes of feeding my OCD, I had finally started to move my character across to the center platform, but then I had suddenly encountered another problem. Camera angles in Heva Clonia have a tendency to move on its own whenever any movement key is pressed. It seems to adjust the angle for you, but for what, I have no idea. It made the most simple of actions, like picking up an object only a meter away from you, a very dizzying experience. It even came to a point where I had to take a break after only a few minutes of playing. I couldn’t even fight a single monster in a static position without the camera going nuts.
Fret not! A redeeming quality came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. Voice acting. The entire tutorial is fully voiced and very nicely, might I add, that it too serves as an introduction to the ongoing story. Even your own character has a voice and answers the NPC at certain points. I found it an excellent asset to Heva Clonia. Also all the gigantic tutorial prompts of “press C twice to double jump” or “Defeat X by destroying X” were voiced properly. This sort of element gives a lot of flair and class to the game and compels me to further explore the game.
When I finally got to the actual fighting, I was a bit disappointed. The combat, along with the controls, feel just as clunky as the animations that accompany them. Pacing also becomes an issue due to how skill cooldowns and the skill animation lengths are, making for some tedious waits, even when fighting a single enemy. But I have to admit, Heva Clonia still gets the fun factor down, regardless, through the sheer flashiness and cool that the skills have.
Chosen One Complex
There isn’t much to say about Heva Clonia’s story, but that it is of the common, garden variety “chosen one” stories, where your character is fated to save the world by his or her deeds and actions. It’s really disappointing when I considered how cute the game is as I expected it to have a relatively humorous and less serious plot. Flying cats and silly-looking pirates abound, you’d figure it’s about finding a lost cache of infinite candy or to save a princess from an evil, but comical, villain in his hidden lair beneath a crying mountain of kittens. Nope. No such thing here. Just plain old save the world from something.
The story characters, on the other hand, like Iris and the Blood Knight, are intriguing enough for me to find out more about Heva Clonia’s story. It’s not because I found the story any good, but simply out of pure curiosity on who and what they are. I haven’t gotten as far as I wanted to in the game at the moment, so maybe it’ll get better a little while later.
Pretty Fly For a UI
The UI is very plain but very effective. It leaves only the very necessary information needed to play the game in its basest form. The layout is clear cut and can easily be understood by any newbie upon first entering the game. My only complaint here would be the default settings of the character nameplates and the random announcements of items being opened or people achieving something can make for a pretty messy screen. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even be able to tell what is what or which is which and becomes terribly encumbering when fighting or even just trying to talk to an NPC in a crowded place.
Fortunately, those are easily toggled via the settings menu and you can go back to enjoying a clean screen. The way information about things in the game could have also been done a bit better. Sure, a prompt here and a tooltip there tells you where to find the thing you were supposed to do, take, or destroy, but you would eventually reach a part in the first post tutorial quest where an innumerable amount of tutorial tips just kept coming that really ruined the initial experience. But when you do get past that, it’s pretty much almost free and clear.
Cannons of Fun
As I said earlier, there are plenty of things to do to keep you occupied like dungeon runs, item farming, and all the usual MMO stuff. But the game highlights the interesting pet system it offers to players. It is possible to obtain monster DNA from defeating monsters or as rewards from certain quest NPCs and turn them into pets. These pets have varying skills that can help you out on your adventures and some have really indispensible abilities like healing. I didn’t put much thought into the pet system at first, as I was just happy to have a healer pet to keep me going, but I found that it actually runs much deeper than that. It functions more as an important member of your party rather than just being a sidekick cutie as most other MMOs have done.
There are a lot of people around almost all the time in Heva Clonia. Ther hasn’t been a single instance where I couldn’t find someone to party with and do quests or dungeons. It really shows how healthy and diverse the game is, especially more so when you see a variety of characters donning different costumes that range from cute, cool, then to strange. It’s all the more appealing to continue playing just for the plain, mindless fun you can have.
Breadcrumb quests, even though I was expecting it, were as linear as can be. Most of these quests just tend to lead you from one NPC to another, giving a mundane task that usually involves killing X number of monsters and then receiving your reward. Sadly, the full voice acting that I enjoyed so much from the tutorial was hardly present in the real game world and was limited only to NPC greetings.
Not Exactly a Diamond in the Rough
Heva Clonia Online is a decent game at best, but plays out quite nicely that would fit right as one of those games you’d really just play on your free time. It’s got an ok story that may or may not entice you and the cutesy appeal to rival even the tiniest of puppies, so it’s got that going for it. It’s great fun to have with your friends, but definitely nothing I’d take seriously as I do most other games. With regards to gem or rock, I’d consider this somewhere in between; it still needs to get cut and polished. As such I would rate it a 3/5.Related: Anime, MMORPG, OGPlanet, Review