First Look: Spa Retreat

Spa Retreat from social game newcomer Summerlight Studios is the latest in a growing collection of realtime commerce games. It reminds us most of Lolapps’ Critter Island, or perhaps Crowdstar’s Happy Island.

Players are tasked with developing their own private spa by purchasing buildings and decorations. Customers are attracted to the spa automatically, and will enter any spa attractions a player has placed, generating coins, popularity points, experience points, and other bonuses.

The most obvious way Spa Retreat differentiates itself from its competitors is with its spa setting. The attractions players place are things like Pilates Studios, Milk Baths, Chemical Peels, and Thai Massage parlors. Not restaurants or roller coasters.

From a gameplay perspective, Spa Retreat feels more familiar. Players collect bonuses from their attractions, spending energy points in the process. Energy refills over time. Coins must be spent to resupply each attraction after it has serviced a specific number of customers.

The game does have a light risk/reward system. The more spa-goers that enter an attraction at once, the bigger the bonus. With a set amount of energy to spend, clicking on an attraction at just the right moment to earn the biggest EXP bonus becomes more important.

In its current state, Spa Retreat doesn’t do much to impress, although it also doesn’t break any cardinal social game rules. The game plays it safe. Perhaps too safe. Right now, feels very similar to existing titles. The game’s foundation is quite solid – just as good as any of the big hits in the genre. If Summerlight Studios can find a way to separate Spa Retreat from the pack beyond the game’s setting, we think Spa Retreat’s outlook is quite sunny.

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