It's called Clone Wars Adventures.
I guess I'll get what little bad there is out of the way up front. I don't much care for the Clone Wars era inside the larger Star Wars canon. When I was a wee lad, the Clone Wars were something mysterious, enticing, and largely left up to fertile imaginations thanks to that throw-away Alec Guinness line in A New Hope. Now, though, this particular period in Star Wars history is plastered all over your television, your computer screen, your bookshelf, your comic book reader, and probably your child's bedroom.
The Clone Wars period is rife with slapstick battle droids, tweenage Jedi, and plenty of eye-rolling Lucasian tripe that serves to remind adult SW fans how the franchise has largely refused to grow up with them. Amazingly enough, though, SOE's game embraces that kiddiepark ethos and manages to make it enjoyable, even if you're a jaded, late-30s gaming lifer who lacks the requisite children the title aims to please.
The game also boasts multiple personal housing environments, and true to SOE form, player housing is a substantial game-within-the-game. There are hundreds of items to unlock via gameplay (or the cash shop) including furniture, wall modules, decorations, and achievement trophies. There are also multiple floorplans available to suit just about any Star Wars-themed taste.
Gameplay proper might seem overwhelming at first due to all of the options, but you'll likely find your favs and settle into a fun routine after a couple hours of dabbling. My favorite thing to do is spend a few minutes on the daily trivia minigame before heading off to try and top my high score in Lightsaber Duel, which pits my avatar against a who's-who list of prequel-era Jedi masters in a slickly imagined dueling arena. I've tried the multiplayer options here on numerous occasions, but it's either too early in the day or the matchmaker sucks; I'm not sure which.
Stunt Gungan is lulzworthy, as are the various Jedi/Sith duels and speeder bike races that feature simple button-pressing exercises and pattern recognition but still manage to be strangely addicting. All of these activities earn in-game credits, which can be used on a neverending string of itemization unlocks. You can also spend Station Cash on some of these trinkets, and you'll occasionally get a lockbox (ugh) as a reward that requires Station Cash to open.
All of the games are tied together via a bit of MMO-style character progression. This comes courtesy of battle classes (Jedi, Trooper, etc.) that allow you to rank up and unlock ever-spiffier outfits, gear, and the like. Several of the minigames also feature a series of campaigns based on the Clone Wars canon and featuring brief narratives and expository window dressing.
In terms of production quality, the best thing I can say about CWA is that it looks and sounds exactly like the Cartoon Network Clone Wars CG series from whence it came. In many cases, the voice actors are the same, and the love-it-or-hate-it animations and overall aesthetic bring the TV show to life. As per usual with Star Wars video games, the sound suite is a mixture of classic Lucasfilm effects, John Williams themes, and various derivatives thereof. In short, CWA's presentation is top-notch despite the relative lack of fidelity built into browser titles by default.
In summary, I really don't know what possessed me to fire up Clone Wars Adventures. It was probably a combination of boredom, nostalgia, and a desire to jump outside my comfort zone. I'm glad I did, though, because the title ultimately reminded me what it felt like to be a kid in love with Star Wars, and as a result, CWA has found a permanent place in my gaming rotation.
There's an MMO born every day, and every game is someone's favorite. Why I Play is a column in which the Massively staff members kick back and reminisce about all their favorite MMOs. Whether it's the new hotness or an old fan favorite loaded with nostalgia, each title we cover here tugs at our heartstrings and keeps us coming back for more.