Playdom Launches City of Wonder on Facebook – A Frisky Hands-On

Thu, Aug 19, 2010

City of Wonder, Facebook, Playdom, Social, Videos

No one can say that Playdom is stingy when it comes to releasing new games on Facebook, as the company has launched yet another game, this time in the form of a ancient city-builder known as City of Wonder.

While immediately comparable to Social City, in that you’re, at the game’s most basic state, building a city filled with citizens and adding new items to keep them happy, the game is in fact very different. Not only does it start in an ancient time period, but it contains an in-depth research tree that will actually see your city developing not only in geographical size and in population, but in technology as well, leading you through the era of the Stone Age and discovery of the wheel into the modern era.

This research tree contains three main sections, each of which branches off into various necessary or voluntary discoveries. At your town’s most basic state, you’ll be able to follow the advice of three different advisors to research some basic fundamentals – a Cultural Advisor, interested in spirituality and enlightenment will have you researching mysticism and religion, an Economic Advisor interested in trade and travel will have you create the wheel so that you can build roads and open up trade with other colonies, and a Military Advisor, who is focused on building up both an offensive and defensive position in the world, will want you to build up a militia, thus leading to you being able to learn how to work with Bronze and other medals to forge weapons.

Each piece of research takes time to complete, as do the items like Gardens, Farms, and the like – those items that function as Social City’s factories do. You hire a “contract” to be fulfilled in them that takes a certain amount of time to complete, and rewards you with various amounts of experience points and coins, depending on the job.

The game’s social elements see you and your friends becoming allies in the overall quest for technological advancement. As with real world circumstances, your allies will have embassies in your town, and you will have an embassy in theirs. If you visit your friends’ towns often enough, and “check-in” to your embassy, it will eventually level up, allowing you to receive better bonuses for visiting. Additionally, visiting a friend’s town will allow you to earn a few experience points and coins, just as you can in Social City (the system is practically identical).

Additionally, a feature known as Explorations is similar to that of Fights in Zynga’s Mafia Wars, in that it will have you “competing,” if you will, against other real world players. You’ll travel to a World Map of sorts, and can click on a civilization you find interesting. From there, your three advisors will give you advice as to which path to take with that town – either gain experience through the trade of culture and enlightenment, earn money through trading actual goods and services, or attack the town and gain more population for your town as a result.

As you might expect, you’ll eventually be able to expand your civilization’s land area by purchasing land expansions, with expansions being dependent on the amount of neighbors you have, and you’ll be able to fill that new land with items costing both forms of currency in the game – Gold, the premium currency, or basic silver coins. New items will unlock for purchase as you level up in the game, along with new technologies available to research.

An added layer of complexity comes when building these new items, as some will come with technological requirements, meaning that regardless of the funds you may have on hand, you won’t actually be able to purchase a particular item if your city isn’t equipped with the right technology or knowledge. One particular example would be the building of roads. While foot paths are available to build in the game from the start, and for free, you can’t build an actual road until you discover the wheel.

Other noteworthy items comes in the form of real-world monuments, or marvels, that can be added to your town as you progress through the ages, such as Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Roman Colosseum, Egyptian Pyramids, and even items like Fort Knox or a Tesla Coil, as your civilization becomes more and more advanced.

While you may initially scoff at the idea of jumping into yet another city-builder on Facebook, the game’s research system seems to be surprisingly in-depth, offering a sort of customization to your town’s progression not normally seen in the average city builder. If you’d like to start building your own civilization, head over to the City of Wonder game page on Facebook, and be sure to check out our Frisky Hands-On video for the game below, to see exactly what to expect should you decide to play the game with us.

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- who has written 2533 posts on Frisky Mongoose.

Brandy is the Social Editor at Frisky Mongoose, focusing on the social side of the gaming world.

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