Archive for August, 2010

Playdom Launches Terranova

Playdom and Atakama Labs have announced the launch of their newest title: Terranova! Players play as an astronaut sent to a desert planet with the goal of restoring it back to life.

Players begin with just a tiny section of land they can plant flowers and other plants on. But once they nurture their first flower to health, the area of green, plantable land is increased. By planting more and more greenery, players will slowly transform the planet from a desert wasteland into a blooming oasis.

The game also has a strong element of exploration. As players level up and meet other milestones, more regions of the planet are unlocked.

Happy Island Adds More 1930s Items

Happy Island developer Crowdstar has been slowly and steadily adding to the game’s 1930s gangster expansion. Players now have a large collection of goombah goodies with which to decorate their island resorts.

New items include: Meatball Diner, Studio Swagger, E.S. Office, Private Detective, Genco Pawn Shop, Brick Flats, Garbage Truck, Tombstone, Canole, Coppah Car, and Gangstah Car.

Most of the items are permanent additions to the Happy Island Store, but three of the attractions (pictured below) are limited editions.

FishVille Introduces Phosphorous Forest Expansion

FishVille developer Zynga has finally revealed the game’s next decoration expansion: Phosphorous Forest! Zynga states that players can use these items to turn their tank into a “glowing jungle.” We think the new items more closely resemble the planet Pandora, from Avatar.

So far, only four items are available: Chimaera, Treehouse, Luminous Reeds, and Plasma Orb. Based on previous FishVille expansions, we’re sure many more are on the way.

Treasure Isle Introduces Treasure Collection Mastery

Treasure Isle developer Zynga has released a much-needed revamp to the game’s treasure collection interface. Treasure collections are now sorted into seven categories: Tiki, Mayan, Pirate, Volcano, Monkey, Asia, and Special. There are also now four collections shown per page. Finally, it is now easy to see at a glance which collections have been completed, and which haven’t.

Perhaps the most intriguing change is that treasure collections now have four mastery levels. Every time a player turns in a complete collection, that collection’s mastery level increases by 1. So far there doesn’t seem to be any reward for achieving a treasure collection’s maximum mastery level after vaulting it four times, but we wouldn’t be surprised if players earned exclusive rewards or other bonuses for fully mastered treasure collections down the road.

FrontierVille Varmint Cannons Now Available

FrontierVille developer Zynga has been teasing the release of varmint cannons for a while now, and over the weekend the feature was sent live. Like most new FrontierVille features, before players can take advantage of this new firepower, they will need to complete a line of quests and construct a new building.

The new Foundry building lies at the heart of the new varmint cannons. The Foundry costs 47,500 coins to purchase, along with a hefty helping of wood and energy to erect the frame. To complete construction, players will need to collect 5 each of: Shingles, Mallets, Pegs, Windows, and Cement. Players can not freely gift these materials to one another. Instead, a player has to specifically request these materials from a friend, who can then send one material over.

Once the Foundry is complete, players can craft cannons that allow them to blast away varmints (snakes, foxes, bears, and gophers) with one click. Firing a cannon spends one Powder Keg. Players can purchase Powder Kegs for Horseshoes, or build them for free by combining Saltpeter with Fire at the Foundry.

Players must also complete the Cannon questline before they have full access to these varmint blasters. The quests are fairly standard, and require an even mixture of getting help from neighbors, and interacting with the Homestead.

Happy Pets Introduces New Albino Pets

Happy Pets developer Crowdstar has introduced new a new Albino Siamese Cat and Doberman Dog. To purchase these pets with coins, players will first need to meet the neighbor requirements – 9 neighbors for the puppy, and 11 for the kitten. If players have enough neighbors, both pets can be purchased for 15,500 coins.

Both of these pets have made brief appearances in the past, as a mystery animal or a trapped pet. But now they are considerably easier to obtain.

Cafe World Releases Wild West Decorations

Cafe World developer Zynga has released another collection of Wild West decorations, giving players even more options for converting their restaurant into a honky tonk saloon.

New decorations include: saloon door, saloon bar, wanted posters, and saloon wallpaper. A collection of animated patrons and staff members have also been released, including a can-can dancer, poker players, and a gunslinger.

The outdoor store also received some love. Players can purchase a saloon roof, horses, pale dirt, train tracks, and more Old West items for the exterior of their restaurant.

LOLapps Launches Critter Island

Facebook application maker LOLapps has been dabbling in social games for a while now, most notably with Garden Life and Band of Heroes. But the company is perhaps best known for its very lightweight, niche applications. They are the company behind many of the quiz apps that sweep through Facebook.

The company seems to be more fully embracing social games however. Today the company flipped the switch on their newest title: Critter Island.

The game is probably most similar to Crowdstar’s Happy Island and Playdom’s Tiki Resort. Players have a small island to manage, and can buy various attractions and decorations, to turn it into a proper tourist resort. Critters show up by boat, and will spend their money if they find an attraction to their liking.

Critter Island does push the subgenre forward in a few key ways. Attractions come in different categories, and tourists all want to experience different things. So players will need to make sure they have enough restaurants, drink attractions, and entertainment attractions to keep visitors happy. There is also a tips system – players can collect stars from satisfied customers. More stars means more tips!

Right now the game is in a very early state. Support for multiple islands and for island expansions is listed as “coming soon.” But so far, we like what we see. Critter Island’s visuals and sound effects are polished, and the game differentiates itself from the competition to a great enough degree to be worth a look.

We’ll have a more in-depth look at Critter Island soon.

Market Street Updates Shelves

Market Street developer Playdom has made a small but potentially very important change to the way the game’s merchandise shelves work. The move is sure to please the game’s 8 million (and counting!) players.

Small shelves now hold twice as much inventory. One row of items on the lower level of the shelf, and one on the upper. This gives players the opportunity to double their income! Full details on this change can be found on the Market Street Knowledge Base.

Castle Age Introduces Guilds

Facebook Fantasy RPG Castle Age has introduced a new way for players to band together and communicate with one another, while in-game: guilds!

To form a guild, a player must be level 50 or higher, and pay a cool 1 billion gold fee. Players can then select what icon they want to represent their guild, and invite their friends. Right now, guilds can hold a maximum of 100 Castle Age players, but it is likely that ways to increase that limit will be introduced in the future.