Late yesterday, Gamezebo brought us news that Playdom has launched a new game on Facebook. The makers of Tiki Farm and Social City, Playdom knows how to create Facebook games that people want to play, with their newest title, Big City Life, hoping to carry on in that tradition.
Here’s what Playdom has to say about the game, via the Big City Life fan page on Facebook:
“Can you make it in the Big City? Find out! Hang out with friends to polish your socialite skills, deck out your look in the latest styles, and climb your way to the top in your career. If you can do all that, you may just be ready to live the Big City Life!”
Playing the game starts as many others do – you create an avatar. Here, the graphics have a more realistic flair than the vast majority of Facebook games, while still remaining a cartoon. You can choose your gender, hairstyle, skin tone, clothing, and even shoes before jumping into the main game proper.
If we’re going to compare Big City Life to anything, it is like a unique take on the Mafia Wars ideology. Your character has a level, stamina, energy and health points, along with a running total of available cash. You can complete “Activities” within the game to earn more experience points, and complete “Jobs” to earn more cash.
Jobs are a bit more complicated than simply pressing a button like in other games, however. Here, you’ll have to send out your resume, which can be changed to suit new and different career types.You start as a student, but during the tutorial are allowed to change your career path by choosing the starting option on one of four career trees: Science and Technology, Medicine, Entertainment and Creative.
Each career path has a starting position, and as you fulfill other requirements, like earning Career Points (a secondary form of experience used specifically for career advancement) or making virtual friends, you’ll be able to unlock advanced positions within the tree. In the case of the Entertainment tree, as an example, your steps take you through stages like Intern and YouTube Sensation before you finally make it to the leagues of a Hollywood Actor.
Once you’re ready to start tackling jobs, you’ll find a list of available options, each with their own requirements. Once you set a job into motion, you’ll have to wait a certain amount of time (the base job lasts five minutes) before you’ll earn your Career Points and be able to assign another task to that slot. You’ll be able to perform more jobs as you unlock more scheduling positions by leveling up.
Meanwhile, you can take part in the aforementioned “Activities,” by choosing a friend (either your real world neighbors, or Emma, the game’s hostess) and doing things with them, like going out to eat or hitting the gym. Activities have item requirements (working out a the gym requires jogging shoes, for example), and you’ll be able to purchase these with the money you’ve earned from doing jobs and other activities.
Completing activities adds experience to an activity medal bar (like the Mastery bar in Mafia Wars) that rewards you with medals each time you fill the bar. You’ll also receive bonuses like cash or experience points for reaching each medal, and relationship points that move you from the level of “New Friend” to “Casual” friend and beyond. Again, you’ll receive a bonus for reaching a new friendship level, and will unlock more activities to do with those friends as they become closer to you.
As you earn enough experience points to level up your overall character, you’ll earn Skill points that can be poured into stats like Fitness and Smarts (think Strength or Defense), along with giving yourself more Energy, Health and Stamina points. Where in other games you can pour every single point into earning more energy, here you’ll have to focus on all areas, as the game’s activities may require a certain amount of Fitness, for example, to take part in, in the first place.
While checking out your profile to upgrade your stats, you’ll see a “My Stuff” tab, which tracks your loot (decorative items like flowers, or household objects like towels, as examples), and your consumables (like boxes of chocolates that refill some of your Stamina), and can request specific objects from friends by posting a news item to your wall that asks your friends to give that particular item to you.
Of course, another large chunk of time can be spent upgrading your avatar, using your funds to purchase new clothing items and accessories to make yourself stand out from the crowd. There are Limited Edition items that can be purchased for Favor Points (the game’s premium currency – a small amount of which is earned when leveling up), along with items that can be purchased for the game’s virtual cash. You can even purchase handheld items for your avatar, as well as “Rides,” with the only option available thus far being a bike.
And so it goes – once you’ve become familiar with the game’s setup, you can invite your friends to join you and earn relationship points with them, as well as send them free gifts (no Facebook simulation game is complete without a free gifts page). You’ll also be able to come across lost animals that can be adopted by posting a news feed on your wall (an interesting touch, really).
Otherwise, you’ll go through the process of completing activities and jobs to level up and earn more items, before starting another job or activity in the same way. If you’re familiar with Mafia Wars or even Castle Age, you’ll fit in here quite easily, so long as you appreciate the theme. If you do, head over to the game’s page and get to work on living that Big City Life.