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Social Game Review: Castleville for Facebook

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Recently I had the idea of doing another review blog, but not about software. I wanted to play a game and see how far the idea of social gaming has developed. With that I found Castleville, a game created by Zynga for Facebook.

It is free (unless you want to buy items in the game, which although not needed, would certainly make playing the game more enjoyable – naturally I did not pay anything as the majority of social gamers have no interest in paying a single penny towards these games)

In Castleville, you have a very flat 2d world of exploration and creation. The game idea is simple: you have to start a kingdom, complete quests and banish the ‘gloom’ from the world around you. The game is supposedly open ended for exploration, but since most items  and areas are progressively locked; you end up following a path outlined by the developers.

This game is apparently one of the most well developed graphical social games ever and it shows. The characters are animated and move around, there is music and nice sound effects but none of this compares to the idea that there is an actual story involved in this game! Unfortunately you still have to farm resources and click thousands of times on various buttons at various times to do anything substantial or interesting. Just like all social games, this one comes down to click, harvest, beg friends (as a means of increasing membership and interaction), and visit other places to do the exact same thing.

To make the game a little more difficult the programmers added an inventory with limits. In other words, you can only gather so many grapes, or wheat before you either have to use it, sell it, or get stuck without being able to collect more. This eliminates some hoarding issues that other games had, but makes playing the game ever so annoying as the “your getting close to your limit” message pops up anytime any of your items gets to its’ limit. There are lots of items, so naturally this will continually pop up. Worse than that, most of the quests do not give you credit for other things that you may already have in the game. For example: I chose to do exploration and not follow the “I will do every quest like a lemming”. I bought a house early to get coins and I managed to get a lot of items in my inventory for hitting the gloom monsters (rats and wolves, though I’ve owned rats and am fond of wolves – this game could have made supernatural creatures as gloom creatures instead of nature).  During the game several of the quests required me to go and buy a home and build it.. but I already did that, so I had to go and buy another house and build it just to get credit for it! Also, many of the materials you might need (like bones, wolf hair) that you might have before a quest starts, will not be credited to your quest completion.  This is a sign of poor programming and lack of forethought by the company.

All in all the game does provide a nice diversion. I am wholly angered by the constant desire of the game to litter my Facebook timeline with updates, nor do I like the idea of harassing my friends with requests for crap. It reminded me of the main reason why I stopped playing social games : the constant bombardment of ads for their game. I do not like to bother other people with what I do and if they made a game of higher quality and charged a simple monthly fee for playing, I’d do it in exchange for the peace of not annoying my FB friends.

Lastly… the put Martha Stewart in it. Now I don’t mind Martha, what I would have rather seen was the actual Martha Stewart playing the game and not just a corporate image of Martha (who is like 50+ yrs old, but the game shows a 20 something pretty pretty princess… ).  It would have been neat to see Martha Stewart the person playing this and having to annoy her fellow board members for capes, stones and rat tails. But all this shows me is that successful people don’t play these time wasting games, they get others to do it and waste their time and thus, gives them more openings to exploit in the REAL world.

So give it a try and come to your own conclusions, I’ve uploaded a screen shot of my so called kingdom for you to see  what I did casually over the last week in the game (20 minutes a day for 7 days).


Written by Josecito

March 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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