So how much were you or are you into school? How about school spirit? Well, while some could care less, there is a large portion of people that glow with spirit, and that has been a basis of any number of Hollywood productions. Football games, pep rallies, extra credit, even vandalizing rival schools have all been means of showing school pride (okay, maybe not the extra credit so much). The point is that these kinds of people participate, fervently, in the activities of their schools, and this participation has extended itself now into the Facebook space.
The game is called School Vandals, and you can probably guess what it is about. The app is like a team-based RPG (though you can play solo) in which you create or join an existing school and perform various tasks to earn school spirit and, in turn, level up your school. The primary objective of School Vandals is to go out and vandalize other schools while keeping your own clean. The longer a school remains vandalized, the more spirit the culprit earns.
Tagging other schools is fairly simple too. Simply by clicking on “attack” you are presented with a list of schools on your level (vandalizing schools that are lower level is less effective) and how clean they are. All you have to do is visit one and enter one of the classrooms via the directory on the left hand of the screen upon attacking. The player is presented with blank boxes (assuming they are clean) in which they can choose to tag using an item they select (i.e. crayon) and a design to place there. That’s all there is too it. Of course, if you are the victim of vandalism, you can clean the design off your school in exactly the same way. However, doing so causes you to become fatigued so you can only clean so often. As such, it is best to stay on top of it. Regardless, whether you vandalize or clean, both earn you spirit points towards your school.
Since the game is a Facebook RPG, it has the limiting factor of currency (in this case, “lunch money”). This is used to limit the amount of play you can do at any given time as you have to purchase the tools to clean and attack. It is a little disappointing to see the same mechanic that has been used dozens of times before, however. However, the game does allows you to level not only your school (hence the team premise), but you as well as you periodically receive “report cards” that grade objectives such as your vandalizing and cleaning capabilities. While still similar to other RPGs, this dual leveling element differentiates the app from your standard, run-of-the-mill, game.
Vandals also has a slightly stronger visual element. Granted, there are other games that have nice visuals (as opposed to text) as well, but there is something gratifying about physically putting a design up on a rival school. The game also includes achievements that appear when you do certain actions, which is also a nice addition that is less common to the RPG genre (at least on Facebook).
Nevertheless, this whole concept of graffiti has great potential, but one should let the players use their own graffiti in addition to the premade designs. There are plenty of games in which users can create their own content, so why not here? Yes, there would be the risk of vulgar tags, but by creating specific tools that limit capabilities; you can circumvent such a risk and still keep a creative flair. Give the different vandalizing items more capabilities as creation tools rather than just allow more premade designs. Of course, keeping those designs is fine, since not everyone likes creating their own stuff, but having the option to create would add a whole other level of depth to this game.
All in all, School Vandals feels slightly above average. It’s not bad at all, and it has some decent features, but it doesn’t have anything that will really make you go “wow.” However, it is still well made and designed, and if only the player had some more creative control, the game would instantly go from average to great. Nevertheless, if you are a person that loves things like school spirit or just wants to have some have some fun vandalizing school property, give School Vandals a shot, rally your friends, cheer those teams and go team go.