30 April 2012

Facebook Games: My Current Favorites

Gameplay on Facebook goes in cycles for me. I latch on to a game and play it until I get stuck or until it becomes overwhelming. For instance, Pioneer Trail is an example of a game that literally became too much for most of the computers to which I have access. There are so many items on my homestead that the game can take 15 minutes to load, if it bothers to load at all. Other games, like Wild West Town, are not widely accepted by my group of Facebook friends so I barely get past the tutorial and then my progress stalls. I know that the idea of Facebook games is being social, but I think game creators should add some balance for the players who don't know many people who want to play games.

Anyway, despite these issues, I still visit Facebook daily for a quick hit of fun and these are the games I'm playing:

Ravenwood Fair -- This is a city-building game where you are trying to build a fair to entertain a bunch of woodland creatures. There are far too many quests to keep up with, but you can delete the seasonal ones once the holiday has passed (unlike in Zynga games). Even though I can't make a dent in the quests at this point, I find it calming to click on the trees and make them disappear.

Ravenskye City -- This is another city-building game that is related to Ravenwood Fair. I like it because I can continue to progress without too much help from my Facebook friends. Even on the quests that require help, you can go on the game's forums, help random players who aren't on your friend list, and they usually return the favor. The storyline seems less random in this game than in other ones.

Astro Garden/Big Farm Theory -- These are both the same game, so which one you pick really depends on which one your friends are playing. This farming game is filled with vibrant colors and it is another game where you don't have to have many friends to progress. I've been playing for over a month with only three neighbors and have yet to run into a quest that I couldn't complete. The bulk of the gameplay involves growing vegetables that can be used as components in creating more outlandish vegetables. Unlike Farmville, nothing you grow and none of the money you earn seems irrelevant. I can see myself playing this for a while.

Sushido -- This is a recent addition to my daily list of diversions. It is a match-3 game combined with a Diner Dash sort of game. You match sushi ingredients to provide the ingredients needed for the dish that the customer wants. If you don't do it quickly enough, the customer becomes angry and leaves. This is a simple game to understand but tough to play. It took me a while to realize that I have to match unrelated things to try to make other ingredients appear. It never fails that the customer is looking for cucumber slices but there is nothing but fish and rice on the screen. Still I keep playing; a timer will bring me back to a game time and again.

Bejeweled Blitz -- Speaking of games with timers, I play this one a lot. Ever since PopCap Games created a version for the iPhone that connects to Facebook, I've been playing whenever I am stuck waiting somewhere. The version on Facebook itself slows down after playing a few games; it is a condition that a lot of Facebook games suffer from called memory leak, I believe. I don't have that problem with the phone version. This means I get the speedy game play wherever I happen to be and it still shows up on the leaderboard with my Facebook friends.

Although I still enjoy this daily rotation of games, I feel like I need to branch out and try some new ones. I read Gamezebo regularly and there seems to be at least one new Facebook game released every week. Now that I have shaken off the mental funk caused by my broken foot, I'm ready to do some sampling of the new Facebook wares.

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