My first impression when I entered Our World was it appeared to be a very slick and likeable online game. Immediately after the game is loaded a menu screen greets you with an option to either pick a boy or a girl as a virtual character, decisions, decisions. Once you have chosen a gender you are loaded as a guest user and walla you're suddenly placed in a hip looking world of interactivity, full of the best games and adventure, welcome to ourWorld!
By far the coolest teenage games community to hang out in and play the best free games Our World has become very popular and is a place where you can make new friends easily, and chat until your heart is content. You can play many fun games to gather coins and buy cool new clothes and other fun accessories. Some of the games are independently made and integrated into Our World such as Bejeweled 2 where as others are Our World's own creations such as Dance Planet, either way their list is expanding on a weekly basis so don't be surprised if they eventually have a collection rivalling Mochi Media, Newgrounds or Kongregate.
Before accepting any of the challenges or discovering more about Our World it's better to save your character by signing up through the easy form through the game above or through OurWorld.com, the link is in the bottom left corner of the screen. This way you can choose your own name and get regular newsletter updates about whats going on. The sign up process takes a couple of minutes tops and you can even choose to upgrade your account to Residential status. Becoming a resident means the game is ad free and you experience faster game flow (more about that later). Also included in the Resident membership option are monthly gems (which I'll also come to later). As I'm writing this article becoming a Resident will only cost you $5.99 a month or even cheaper per year.
So the first place I enter in this young trendy world is the Buzz Cafe and I'm hit by some very funky rap/hip hop music which puts me in the good mood to dance. There are already many players chilling out in the cafe, I can see that the Our World game is already very popular. If your anything like me instead of checking out the first challenge that is offered to you on a silver plate as you enter Our World you will decide to go wandering off and explore the entire world instead. Simply by hanging out in the Buzz Cafe and chatting to players and in game characters I received flow points! The more flow you receive (from completing different tasks or interacting with people) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Once you have gained some flow points you can use them at Prize Central. The Prize Central option can be opened up by clicking your flow metre in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
There are 3 prize draws to choose between:
After completing The Bubbler prize draw I gained level 2 and won some new clothes, no idea where they went, I just saw them flash and fly into my inventory somewhere; I'll come back to that later.
The Daily Jackpot offers the chance to win lots of gold coins, woohoo! Every day you get one turn to win a heap of coinage to spend on whatever takes your fancy (the total prize draw stood at 7010 when I rolled!). Even if you lose you still get 25 coins for taking part, this also increases everytime you level up. Coins and gems are traded for items in the Our World game. Gems can be purchased through an easy to use Paypal system offered by OurWorld.com, they allow you to gain really cool items that players lacking gems will never obtain. You don't have to pay for gems in order to get the items you want, Our World also offers a number of other ways to collect gems including filling out surveys and special offer options on many other websites.
Playing the best free games in Our World is easy to do; click the top right option entitled 'go' and a drop down menu will appear, click games and your presented with a nice list of free games to play which will gain you more flow. Even though Our World is in its infancy you can see the potential in having many more high quality flash games introduced to the number one casual virtual world online, I'd personally like to see more than what is currently offered. Having played Bejewelled I soon level up to level 3 and gain another flow point, this allowed me to try my luck at the prize wheel where I won 70 gold coins.
At level 3 I gained a new action 'the head scratch, ooh how privileged I felt. After using the rest of my flow charges on the prize wheel I levelled up to level 4 and obtained another action, the toe stand! To use your newly found emotes simply click the emote menu in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and select an emote from the available list. Here you will also find the chat box to talk to other players and dance moves to perform in front of friends and at dance planet.
In Our World you will soon get a grip with where all your options and favourite places are. Starting the game for the first time can seem a little overwhelming as you have so many options but with a little exploration you soon become accustom to the interface. Even after only 7 months of existence the diversity of the Our World game is very impressive.
Flow is simply the way to grow and level up at OurWorld.com. It can be gained by spending time talking to other players, playing games and interacting with in game characters. Flow is really a test of how much you are contributing and having fun in the world. The more engaged you are with Our World the more flow will easily stack up.
As previously mentioned flow can be traded to win prizes from one of 3 prize draws. Your level progression is also relative to your flow count.
After a little more fiddling about I discovered the ability to change your character's appearance which can be done as many times as you like. This is a really cool feature as with most games once you create a character you can't alter its appearance. Our World allows you to change your look as many times as you like when you like. So one minute you may have short blond hair, the next you may have jet black wavy hair.
Many more looks are obtained through winning prizes or by purchasing clothes from one of many different fashion stores. There are enough fashion and clothes stores in the game to satisfy the biggest clothes addict. Further items are exclusive to residents only (premium members).
Getting places in the Our World game is very easy to do. Clicking the go button on the top right of the screen and selecting 'go places' your presented with an easy to use picture map of all the shops and hang outs that exist in Our World. I decided to go back to the Buzz Cafe to finish exploring and realised the Barista job was free. You can take it for 15 minutes and this gives you the chance to control the juke box and music everyone listens to in the cafe, very cool idea! So I slipped on The Magic Fly by Two Planets. More jobs are available throughout the bars and cafes in Our World, for example you can also be the waiter or waitress at the Cake Mania hang out.
OurWorld has the best range of dress up fashion online. Featuring 1000's of clothes and items to choose from there is no other virtual world or community where you can look so bling, cool, trendy, hip and simply irrestible.
Having hung around in the Buzz Cafe long enough I decided to do some shopping to see what I can snap up with all my newly found wealth! Ok so to get most of the new funky clothes and haircuts you have to either buy gems or become a resident, to be fair you can obtain a lot of gems for a small price of $5.99 or a shed load for $20 (600 gems), I decided I wanted to completely pimp my character out so I went for the latter! It's easy and safe to purchase gems in game, there's a handy Paypal option available so you don't have to enter any card information etc online.
If you become a resident member you can either get 150 gems monthly or become a resident for the whole year and get 1800 gems instantly enabling you to get the trendiest fashion wear straight away and look cooler than all the other players!
The Volla clothes shop as with all others is really easy to navigate and there is a wide variety of fashionable and trendy clothes to choose from. I have already seen many players looking completely crazy or like they had taken the wrong flight to Milan fashion week. I bought a neat black and white fitted look; you can view it in the image below. My outfit only came to around 150 gems and only a little of my coinage was required, bargain! This left me with plenty more gems to come back and shop with later, your gem pile will last for some time in Our World unless you're a complete shopaholic! Many clothes can only be obtained through advancing your character to later levels which gives you more of an enticement to keep playing and levelling up.
My next stop along the Board Walk was the slideshow music theatre where I chilled out and watched music videos, you can vote on which video to play next making for a communal experience as opposed to every player getting to listen to their own choices. There are also entertainment, pets and animals and random options for the theatre.
If you love interior design and decorating your house you need to visit the Volla furniture store where you can choose between so many different pieces of stylish furniture and house accessories. Many of the other Our World quarters also have their own furniture stores. Apart from being able to kit your condo out like a celebrity you can also invite people around or they can visit you by clicking on your character in game and selecting visit condo. This means you and your friends can hang out and chat in private at your place.
Interacting with other players is made really easy in Our World. You can choose to whisper another player, talk out loud to them or even invite them to be your friend and email them through your in game inbox. That's right you get your own private email inbox where you can send and receive messages to any other player! This is where you also receive challenges and other in game information.
After I hung out at someone's condo for a while and chatted to other players I decided to shoot some pool at Rack n Roll along the Electric Avenue walk way. The 8 ball pool game is crisply designed and if you like pool games this one is a lot of fun to play. You can play pool with anyone else hanging out at the Rack n Roll and invite other players to play with you. In the same zone as Rack n Roll you will also find a tattoo parlour where you can choose between some very quirky designs to have imprinted on your head, arms or legs.
After I bought a skull tattoo for my forehead and a butterfly and Celtic cross for my arms I decided to go grab a bite to eat at Flo's Diner. After a moment of wandering around the diner I noticed an arcade machine in the corner, it's a diner game where you run round taking orders and serving customers similar to penguin diner and its these sort of small details that really make the Our World game shine beyond many sub standard online free worlds. OurWorld.com seems to be heading in the right direction with its in-depth features. If you're at Flo's Diner check out the Diner Dash game.
Finally I visited the band area where you can supposedly create your own rock band and jam with friends. I had a quick go on the guitar, it was fun for a few minutes but this idea needs more tender care so that playing music proves much more interactive. Right now you can only click on different songs for your character to play automatically and there's a severe lack of interactivity in playing any of the instruments.
On to Wonderland where I visited Cake Mania, a place to pile of the pounds with a few heavily sugared sponge cakes. Here I found two players hanging out, one in a ducks outfit and the other in a bunny outfit; they looked pretty funky although I couldn't imagine wearing such outfits whilst casually hanging out in a cake store in my local area! Cake Mania follows a similar sort of layout to Flo's Diner, you can sit down and order cakes and there is an arcade box in the corner where you can play the Cake Mania game. Cake Mania involves baking cakes as quickly as you can and serving them to customers to take away, it's the same concept as Flo's Diner except instead of food it's cakes your serving and you have to bake the cake the right shape and also put the correct icing on top before serving it to the customer.
Another store worth checking out when you turn level 11 is the enchantments store which sells trippy charms, potions and crystals. I was desperately seeking a level 11 devil's tail to match the rest of my grungy black outfit but found that for all the exploring I had been doing, I hadn't finished enough challenges to gain enough flow and levels. This must be one of the places where all those weird looking players shop!
The last quarter I visited was the Soho area which has the Bejewelled 2 game and two more clothes stores offering very different styles (I'd like to see more boys stuff in the game, there's so many clothes places and virtually no toy and gadget stores!). There looks to be a fourth place opening soon here named Trivia Cafe and there a few other stores that look like they are open already, I can only presume entry is for higher level characters only, boo.
So what other cool features does Our World boast? Well you have your own camera where you can take as many photographs as you like and save them in photo albums to look back at later.
There are several cool features available to use with friends, one is the 'Where are you?' option, when you click it, you send an automatic message to your mate to find out whereabouts in the game they are. You can also view their profile to see what they have been doing recently; view their friends list, their badge achievements and even their photo albums. Of course if you were uncomfortable with other players being too nosy with your profile you can restrict who gains access to all your different in game details by changing the settings in your account. You can do this by accessing the settings option in the top right corner of the game.
You also learn many emotes and dances as you gain levels including the body wave and spinner dances which allow you to offer a dance off with another player.
Unlike other communities and platforms Our World looks beyond game achievements as it aims to create a diverse animated world around other games, it makes for a fascinating time and it will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming year.
ourWorld.com is a really fun place to hangout and chat with other players in a unique and far more exciting way as opposed to traditional game websites. It definately offers an experience never seen before in online entertainment and with many new features and the best free games being introduced on a weekly basis Our World is offering up the content needed for fans to stay thoroughly engaged in a virtual world.
All in all Our World has the potential to become something much bigger than what it currently is and if the creators keep on adding fresh content to the game then Our World could turn out to be a huge online gaming experience for many kids and adults alike for a very long time.