town + country (or cityville vs. farmville)

I’m a bit of a Farmville addict. I started playing initially as research for work, pretty much any online game you develop these days has to have some sort of social aspect and Farmville does this best. So, this week, i’ve given Cityville a go to see if they’ve come up with anything new.

I have to say, i’m not massively impressed. I guess it’s logical to come up with something that’s the anithesis to your biggest success, and I can see that there’s an audience for that, but it’s the gameplay this time round that i’m not hugely enamoured with.

Cityville has in large part taken the lead from developer Zynga‘s last big success, Frontierville. The mechanics are much the same, with players needing energy and gaining respect points as well as just money and experience. When any of these are gained in Cityville, a little icon falls onto the screen (similar to collecting a bonus in Super Mario for example) which wheen constrained within a Facebook app, clutters the screen and makes things messy. There’s just too much movement and too much going on to work well in such limited space.

Another of the things I personally don’t like about the new game, but which is actually very clever when you think about it, is the speed. With Farmville, you plod along at your own pace, calm and peaceful, tending your crops and animals. Some tasks are time-based, but there’s never any real rush. But, to add to the sense of City life, Cityville is played at great speed. A constant need to click things to keep things ticking over is apparent, and while this adds atmosphere, it leaves me worried that if I stray from my City for too long, the economy will collapse, stores will be ruined, my farm will cease to be and no one will want to open a franchise there. But then perhaps that’s the point.

The graphics in Cityville are more sophisticated, again adding that polished sheen of big city life, but I don’t find them quite as attractive as the more cartoon style of Farmville. Odd for me becuase i’m like a magpie when it comes to graphics, usually falling for the glossiest, most impressive. And there are a few issues with the control mechanic – it’s not quite so easy to zoom or accept and use gifts; the settings navigation is mostly hidden which just plain annoys me. I want to click-and-go to zoom in and out, I don’t want an EXTRA click – that’s just irritating!

What you can do in Cityville that’s new to Zynga’s catalogue of games is the placement of a franchise business on your friends’ cities. I haven’t been playing longe enough yet to figure this mechanic out in full in terms of reward, and i’m sure there’ll be plenty more features to come that will use this new mechanic.

When all’s said and done, it’s still just a beta so maybe things will get a lot better. But i’m kind of sticking with the old addage on this one: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Zynga have a great thing going with Farmville and there’s plenty more mileage in it yet for expansion and new features. I do wonder whether you’ll be able to link the two in the future – have your farmers selling goods to the Cityville bods perhaps?

In the meantime, I get the feeling that Cityville is targeting a different audience than the current social gamer demographic. Maybe kids wanting to play at adults living life in the big smoke? I don’t know.

I will keep playing I guess, but unlike Farmville, it won’t be because I actually enjoy it. It really will be just for work research unless Zynga revert to their magic Farmville formula and stop bombarding my screen with icons and relentless movement.

(tek)

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Comments
One Response to “town + country (or cityville vs. farmville)”
  1. HackFarmVille says:

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