Archive for April, 2010

Restaurant City Releases Mexican Taqueria Expansion

Restaurant City’s Japanese-themed updates finally concluded this week, replaced with another set of ethnic decorations and menu items. A large collection of Mexican Taqueria items are now available! What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

To kick things off, new starters, main dishes, and deserts have been added to the Restaurant City menu. Players can now learn, level-up, and serve Tostadas, Beef Enchiladas, and Mexican Flan. Only one of the three recipes requires beans. Who knew?

New indoor decorations include: Mexican Table, Cactus Chair, String of Chiles, Mexican Spice Rack, Cactus Juice, Cacti Jose, and a Tortilla Stove. The highlight of the new items is undoubtedly the fully-animated Mariachi band, though. The Los Santo Bros. (as Playfish calls them) cost an impressive 90,000 coins. In addition to just looking cool, they also raise customer patience by +1 second.

New outdoor decorations include a Sombrero Roof, an outdoor mariachi band, and Cactus Jose (Cacti Jose’s brother perhaps?).

No word on whether this Mexican theme will carry over into next week like the Japanese theme did, but given that Cinco de Mayo isn’t until next Wednesday, it seems like a pretty reasonable guess.

Hit the jump for an image gallery of all the new Mexican items.
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Tiki Resort Adds Mega Money Charm & Charm Shipments

Two more new additions came to Tiki Resort this week: charm shipments, and a new premium Mega Money Charm.

The Mega Money Charm is for sale for 9 FB$ ($0.90), and causes tourists to pay +10 coins each time they visit the charmed attraction.

The charm shipments are a new game feature entirely. Patient players can have an air shipment of charms sent to their island by paying coins, instead of FB$. The cost and wait time vary according to the number and type of charms being ordered. Current shipments are:

1 Pineapple Charm – 5 Minutes – 3,000 coins
3 Pineapple Charms – 2 hours – 4,000 coins
5 Pineapple Charms – 12 hours – 5,000 coins
10 Pineapple Charms – 25 hours – 10,000 coins
5 Lei Charms – 12 hours – 20,000 coins
5 Drink Charms – 12 hours – 15,000 coins

Players must be around when the shipment arrives to collect it, or else it will spoil and players will be out their initial investment. Still, Playdom has given players a free way to earn what used to be premium-only items. Nice!

Tiki Resort Adds Path Stamp Mode

Tiki Resort didn’t launch incredibly strong, but it has slowly and steadily been building an audience over the last couple months. Most likely because developer Playdom has released game updates and addressed player concerns quickly and frequently. The most recent example of this in action is the new “Stamp Mode” function.

Previously, when a player wanted to build a path on their Tiki Island, they had to reenter the shop menu over and over and purchase each path square individually. But now, players can “stamp” paths repeatedly, just by clicking where they want each square to go.

Small usability updates like this might not be sexy, but they go a long way towards making a game more player friendly (and thusly more fun). You can see a video of this new feature in action on the Tiki Resort Fan Page.

Social City Adds Moving Cars & More Buildings

Social City developer Playdom added a small but cool visual upgrade to their city building title this week: moving cars! Players that purchase either of the two new car dealerships, or a school, will now have cars and buses zipping down their city’s streets. It is a neat technical achievement, considering that roads can be built in any configuration a player wants.

The new buildings released in this most recent update are: Used Car Dealership, Sports Car Dealership, and Fir Forest 2. The Sports Car Dealership is a premium item for sale for 39 City Bucks, and generates 14,000 happiness. The Used Car Dealership is for sale for 25,000 coins and generated 1,250 Happiness. Both of these items will generated street car traffic when purchased.

The Fir Forest is unrelated to the automotive theme – maybe Playdom felt guilty about this car-focused update and wanted to add some green as well? It costs 30,000 coins and generates 3,000 happiness.

Farmville Releases More Southwest Items

Farmville developer Zynga released more Southwest items in last night’s update, along with the Botanical Garden and Cinco de Mayo additions. These items all expire in 28 days, which means players can probably look forward to many more cacti, adobe buildings, and other desert-themed items and animals in the coming weeks.

The most recent new additions are: Adobe Home, Adobe Cottage, Road Runner, Birch Tree, Woody’s Cactus, Petrified Wood, Giant Ant Hill, and Cactus Cluster.

Although the “Seeds” section of the Farmville Marketplace does not show the Southwest cactus icon, two new Southwest crops were also released: Nopales and Agave. Both crops grow to maturity in 16 hours and earn players 1 XP. And although they have different purchase prices, they both generate a net profit of 120 coins.

Up & Coming: Kingdoms of Camelot

By Cody Musser

[UPDATE]: Hello newcomers! If this is your first visit to Social Game Central, please consider becoming a fan on Facebook using the button to your right, or subscribing to our Twitter or RSS updates, for all the latest on Kingdoms of Camelot and all your favorite Facebook games.

Watercooler describes their game, Kingdoms of Camelot, as the most advanced game on Facebook. After spending some time with the title, we’re beginning to agree that this might be more than just puffery. Kingdoms of Camelot is an intensely detailed and elaborate kingdom building simulation. However, as is often the case, elaborate details can come at the cost of intuitiveness and simplicity.

Kingdoms of Camelot starts players off selecting a Lord or Lady for their empire, vying to win the attention of King Arthur through building a worthy kingdom, and eventually, through the conquest of other kingdoms. New players start by creating their kingdom and lord, and then work their way through the introduction by Merlin. This tutorial helps players learn the basics, but doesn’t go into the game’s more advanced elements. When wondering what to do next, it’s best to simply complete the quests the game suggests. This makes KoC fairly linear, in the beginning. Our progress for the first few hours of play included quest, reward, quest, reward, quest… you get the idea.

This is the point where someone looking for a simple, easy title might turn away from Kingdoms of Camelot and not try to crack the shell to get the golden egg hidden within. Stick with the game through the confusing early moments and you can quickly discover the depth of what is essentially a full-featured strategy game.

The game itself is divided into various screens of view. You’ll be looking at either your city, the field surrounding it, the greater map with other kingdoms and points of conquest, or your court. Each of these views is filled with possible activities for you to complete. Inside your city you’ll build various important aspects of your kingdom to help outfit your soldiers and townspeople. These include the Barracks, Tavern, Market, Alchemy Lab and more. Outside your city in the field you’ll build Farms, Mines, Sawmills and similar structures. This can be a bit confusing, but it’s best to think of it like this: Inside the city you handle your people, and outside it you handle your resources.

The many resources gathered from your field are used for researching upgrades or building new structures. It’s impressive to think that almost every building you create in Kingdoms of Camelot will offer you some upgrades or research, and that absolutely everything is upgradable, from your Sawmills to your Castle, and even the City Wall.

The degree to which you’ll be focusing on the development of your kingdom and its upgrades might make Kingdoms of Camelot seem like a single-player game, but the social aspects of all Facebook games are naturally present here as well. You’ll have the opportunity to join or create an Alliance, which is essentially like a guild of players who become your greater teammates. You can always chat with either global players, or directly to your Alliance. You can send gifts to friends, and a premium currency, Gems, can be purchased through Paypal or by completing sponsored offers. This is all pretty common, but Kingdoms of Camelot might take things a little overboard when it comes to making Facebook wall posts about your building upgrades. When friends click on it, your creation will be sped up by one minute. A help of course, but this could lead to some pretty clogged feeds with updates occurring every couple minutes or so for active players in early parts of the game.

Even after days, players will probably feel like they’re still in KoC’s “beginner period.” Progress isn’t fast in Kingdoms of Camelot, and you won’t be able to attack or be attacked for a full four days after creating your kingdom. It’s in this first four days that most players will probably decide to stick with Kingdoms of Camelot, or drop it. In four days even the most diehard players won’t have scratched too deeply into the deeper experiences of the game. For this reason we’re going to keep playing, specifically because Kingdoms of Camelot has one important thing… potential. We’ll do our best to keep exploring the advanced features and segments, and relay to you how much more is actually hiding in the Mists of Avalon.

One thing is certain: Kingdom of Camelot has more in common with deeper PC strategy games than it does with Farmville. This depth has apparently struck a chord with a certain segment of the Facebook population – the game now has over 2.3 million monthly players, and is still growing steadily.

Farmville Adds Cinco de Mayo Items & Seeds

Farmville developer Zynga added a handful of Cinco de Mayo items as part of tonight’s update. They fit right in with the Southwest items that have been available for a few days now. The only real way to know which items belong to which set is to pay attention to the icon next to an item in the Farmville marketplace. The Cinco de Mayo items are denoted by a sombrero.

Only two Cinco de Mayo decorations were released – a Pinata and a Prickly Pear cactus. Curiously, the Pinata is set to expire in 7 days, but the cactus is available for 28 more days. Perhaps the cactus was intended to be part of the Southwest item set?

Tomatillo seeds were also added. Tomatillos cost just 20 coins to plant, grow to maturity in 10 hours, and earn 120 coins and 1 XP when harvested. Tomatillos ARE eligible for crop mastery, unlike most other limited edition crops. So all you Farmville addicts out there attempting to master every crop better switch your fields to Tomatillos ASAP. Right now no expiration date is listed, but it is a reasonable guess that the crop will be retired in around 7 days, at the same time the pinata is removed.

Farmville Releases Constructible Botanical Garden

Farmville developer Zynga released the latest constructible Farmville building, tonight: a Botanical Garden! Like other constructible buildings, players can purchase the botanical garden outright for 50 FV$, or enlist the help of their Farmville neighbors to construct the building for free.

The base of the greenhouse costs 5,000 coins. To complete construction, players will need to collect 50 parts in total. Ten each of: Irrigation Pipes, Green Beams, Glass Sheets, White Trellis’, and Floral Brackets. Farmville players can gift these items to one another from the Farmville gifts tab, or if there is a specific item a player is looking for, they can send a request to friends for that specific material. Construction materials can also be purchased for 1 FV$ a piece.

So, now that you know how to get a Farmville Botanical Garden, are you going to bother constructing one? Let us know in the comments!

Mafia Wars: Most Wanted Announced!

Mafia Wars developer Zynga just announced “a new direction” for their long-running mobster RPG. Details are still scarce, but it seems that Mafia Wars is about to become much more story-based, with short online “webisodes” setting the scene, with players then continuing the story in-game. The following story clip was posted tonight to the official Mafia Wars Youtube channel:

Paris, the ‘City of Lights,’ home of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower is also the birthplace to one of the world’s most infamous criminals. Having eluded the FBI, MI-6, and the KGB, the Shadow is on the loose and wreaking havoc on the streets. Preview this criminal mastermind’s first act of vengeance in the newest Mafia Wars webisode, then continue the adventure in Mafia Wars!

It sounds like Mafia Wars: Paris is kicking off more changes than just adding new Challenge Missions. We’ll have more on Mafia Wars: Most Wanted & how players can track down the criminal mastermind Shadow very soon…

My Town April 29 Update

My Town developer Broken Bulb kept up their streak of steady bi-weekly updates, today. As usual, new additions were made to every major My Town building category.

The new additions are: Capitol Building, Florist, Funeral Home, and three types of Patio Seating.

Every time I think My Town must be running out of buildings, the team at Broken Bulb continues to surprise. It always seems obvious in hindsight – “Oh, I suppose a town would need a florist or two” – but it is nevertheless quite impressive how the collection of homes and businesses has grown more and more diverse over the months.