Code Lyoko is a Facebook game from 3DDUO and Moonscoop. It’s the official social game adaptation of one of French animated TV series Code Lyoko, one of Moonscoop’s key brands. In the original TV series, a cast of diverse characters delve into a virtual world to battle against a multi-agent computer program called XANA; in the game, players create their own avatar to join the fight.
Code Lyoko the game assumes that the player has prior knowledge of Code Lyoko the TV show, because it provides absolutely no context for what is going on upon first starting. The player is immediately introduced to some of the characters from the show and invited to create their avatar by choosing a class and customizing skin/hair color. Each of the character class’ distinctive designs are based on established characters from the show, allowing players to recreate their favorite hero. Once this has been completed, the game leads players through the early stages with a story-driven tutorial.
Code Lyoko is essentially a role-playing game in which players outfit and customize their character before taking them into a series of battles against increasingly-tough waves of enemies. The battles themselves are resolved automatically, but in order to be successful as the game progresses, the player will need to make use of equipment items they loot from fallen enemies and purchase from the in-game store. As the player’s avatar gains experience levels, they will also unlock new “powers” to strengthen their character, most of which provide passive bonuses of some description rather than abilities that can be triggered manually — though some provide a chance for an ability to automatically activate. It also becomes possible to recruit friends or “guest” characters into the player’s party, allowing them to stand up to tougher challenges. By expending in-game currency, players may also unlock other characters, and progress is tracked separately for each.
Progression in Code Lyoko is primarily measured by players’ progress around a node-based map. Each node has a number of fights to complete before onward travel is possible. Occasionally, the player will encounter a “tower” and must enter a password to proceed. Towers also provide the opportunity for players to enter codes from the game’s official Facebook page in order to win special prizes.
Besides the “single player” map, players may also battle their friends by clicking on their portraits at the base of the screen, and enter the Lyoko League to battle against other players. Only a limited number of League battles may be started each day, and victory is rewarded with both experience and League Points, which are used to determine a player’s global ranking on the game’s leaderboard.
Code Lyoko is a decent quality game with particularly good audio-visual presentation — animation is smooth and fluid and the game’s audio is atmospheric, if a little repetitive. The game also captures the aesthetic of the original TV show well, which means it will doubtless appeal to fans.
The gameplay suffers somewhat by not allowing direct interaction in the battle sequences, but the flexibility provided by the various equipment and power choices allow the player to treat it more as a “strategy” game than a hands-on RPG battle game. PvP is ultimately little more than a numbers game, however — whoever has leveled up their hero and acquired the best equipment will almost definitely win, even taking variance from the random number generator into account. Similarly, the game’s use of an energy system means that those who pay will be able to make significantly more progress than those who do not; though that said, the game is fairly generous about hard currency handouts upon completing certain objectives, and it’s also possible to restore energy by watching advertisements.
Ultimately, Code Lyoko will probably do reasonably well (at least in the short term) due to the fact it is fairly true to its source material, though those who come to it by chance without knowing anything about the show may initially be a little confused as to what is going on. Whether or not it has the legs to remain popular in the long term remains to be seen, however — there’s certainly plenty of content for players to work through, and plenty of powers and equipment to unlock, but with the fairly “hands-off” nature of the gameplay some may tire of it in favour of more “interactive” offerings in the long run.
A well-presented game, but it remains to be seen whether or not players will tire of it in the long term.