With FarmVille, Zynga Joins the Facebook Farming Fray
Farming games are the most popular games on Chinese social networks, and they’re starting to gain more steam on Facebook now too. The first was myFarm, but then SlashKey.com came along and had much more success with Farm Town (which actually debuted at #4 in the Top 25 two months ago and is still pretty popular today). Though it wasn’t an original concept, the virtual farming game was still pretty good. Now, another clone has emerged: FarmVille.
Farmville is from Zynga, a company that has made a name for itself by acquiring or emulating many of the most successful games on Facebook and MySpace.
Currently, FarmVille has about half as many features as its predecessor. In Farm Town, players are able to travel around to the market and local inn to interact with other players. FarmVille limits players to their own farm and their surrounding neighbors.
Like the other farming titles, players plow land, grow crops, and harvest them for money with the sole objective of creating an aesthetically pleasing virtual environment that allows expression of oneself. For each action done, players earn experience and work towards new levels that unlock better and more interesting items and crops.
One main thing that seems to be different is the items one can buy. One of the chief complaints for Farm Town was the high cost of items and the relatively low income, but that isn’t the case with FarmVille. More items tend to be available at lower levels and for more reasonable amounts of coin. A cow, for example in the Zynga app is 300 coins while a chicken in slashkey’s title is 500. Granted, there are far more animals available in the latter, but most are locked until much higher levels anyway.
Visually, the game does look good, but it looks rather familiar, using the same art style of Farm Town. However, Farm Town uses a style awfully close to Zynga’s YoVille, so the circle of imitation goes full circle it seems. In FarmVille, each item has a cartoonish feel to it and fits well with the visual style. A tree has the same art style as a crop, while in Farm Town it looks more like a photograph. Ultimately, the visual design in FarmVille is excellent, but the game play still leaves a lot to be desired.