Jungle Extreme: A Facebook Game that Combines Farming and Survival
Jungle Extreme, from a developer called Targa, combines the well-established farming mechanic with jungle survival — everything from hunting to crop thievery.
First, the basics. The farming standards are the usual: plow land, plant crop, and harvest crop. Additionally, the game has trees and animals that never die, and you “harvest” them for some coin too. That said, the animals are a bit more feral than a tame farm critter – not to mention that a rhinoceros hardly produces milk – so getting income from them is a mere click and you don’t actually get an item to sell.
What makes Jungle Extreme a bit more interesting is some of the side features that it comes with. Beyond the core farming element, players are trying to survive in the jungle. To that end, anything and everything you might be able to use becomes your ally. Periodically, random bugs or objects appear around your camp and the player catches them to earn some extra money. Sometimes it’s a little uninteresting, merely requiring a click, and other times it’s a task that requires you to come back and check on it. As an example, if you find ants, you can set up a trap to catch them, but must come back to collect later that day or risk losing them.
Frankly, the whole survival concept does show promise, but at the moment, it feels weak and is really only there as an extra. However, there are few other interesting features that do enhance that whole surviving idea. The most basic of these is that when night rolls around, players need to use a campfire to light up their jungle for an hour. Doing so earns a good chuck of experience, but at the cost of wood.
Interestingly enough, in order to get more wood, players can cut down trees they plant, giving them another nice purpose beyond the usual slow, yet infinite accumulation of income via farming. Of course, you can just buy the wood too if you want.
The multi-purpose idea is thrown into the crops element as well.
You see, there are actually two types of plants that can be grown: Crops, or tropical flowers. The flowers sell for the most money, but for every action you perform you consume health. In order to regain it, you can either wait long periods of time for it to regenerate passively, or eat food. In order to cook it, you first buy a heating source of some sort (i.e. a campfire) and grow the crops.
These crops become the ingredients to your various dishes, that you can then eat or sell. Additionally, if you do not have any ingredients, you can make what’s called “Party Food” and ask your friends to help cook it. This is simply a Facebook feed post, and costs only your friends clicking on the link.
It is also worth noting, that Jungle Extreme has a rather curious means of gating its content. Be they decorations, crops, flowers, or animals, many require the user to allow different levels of “commitment,” as it were, in order for them to purchase them. This is beyond just level gating, but many actually require you to become a fan, bookmark the game, or register for emails. It’s a clever way to make users feel they are getting something a bit more exclusive for not really doing anything, yet at the same time making the app more popular on paper — and something that many other developers have experimented with.
Another social element to this app is the prospect of stealing. When in the jungle, survival is everything, and it is possible to steal crops and whatnot from your neighbors. Obviously this allows users to earn 100% profit on stolen items, but it can lead to a few upset friends. Of course, if you have some virtual currency to spend, you can use it to purchase various items that either protect against theft or improves the amount of items you can steal in the first place.
Overall, Jungle Extreme is not a bad game, but it does feel a bit average at its core. It has a lot of interesting ideas, but the central concept has just been done to death. Frankly, it would have been infinitely more interesting to focus solely on some of the survival elements such as the trapping of bugs and animals, chopping wood, and cooking food. Obviously, these features have been enough to interest players as the game has been fairly steady around 400,000 monthly active users as of late, but there just isn’t enough to make it really take off, that we can see. With even FarmVille slowly losing users, it is time for new core concepts to come about.