Yesterday, Playfish quietly released My Empire, a new city-simulation tycoon title set in ancient times (think ancient Rome, Egypt and so on). As describing any new game is always easier when comparing it to a pre-established title, My Empire can be most easily compared to Playdom’s Social City.
You begin the game and are given direct control over the happiness and growth of your own empire. Your village starts with a Harbor, Village Farm, a single Straw Hut, and a Village Hall, but by the end of the tutorial, you will have added another Straw Hut and a Village Bath.
Like in Social City, buildings are split into different types: Functional, Happiness, Decorations, and Wonders. By hovering over each item in the game’s store, you can see its benefits, which include an increase in population (when talking about functional, or residential buildings), or an increase in overall happiness of your villagers, as well as how much Fame you’ll earn for purchasing it. Fame is My Empire’s form of experience points, which are tracked in a level-based system, just as in most other Facebook games.
New items are unlocked to purchase as you level up, with Wonders being especially interesting, as they allow you to add famous historical structures to your land, like the Pyramids or the Sphinx, and even the Hanging Gardens and Stonehenge. These structures are actually “free” to purchase, at least in terms of the frame, but are not completed until you collect various materials like stones or wood.
To do this, you’ll need to build quarries, mines and the like in your town, which generate these items daily, or receive the supplies as gifts from friends via the game’s free gifts page. As of right now, the eight gifts available to send from this menu all have to do with these Wonders, with Tar being available for the Stonehenge, and Mercury for the Great Lighthouse, Gems for the Sphinx and so on.
You’ll also be able to purchase decorative items in the game, like flower beds, trees, pillars and so on. Decorations work in the same way as Happiness items, although they (as you would expect) offer much less Happiness points per item than an actual Happiness (or Leisure, if we’re keeping with the Social City comparison) item.
As you level up, you’ll also unlock new land, much as you do in Restaurant City, where land expansion is based solely on your level, rather than any bulk purchase.
But of course, the only way you’ll be able to purchase any items to put on your new land is if you first have the money to spend on them, with funds being earned in My Empire through the use of Tax Collectors. The more population your village has, the more taxes they’ll collect, with various options being available based on how long you’d like to wait before collecting your fees. Obviously, the longer you wait, the more profit you’ll earn.
Goals or quests also appear in the top left corner of the gameplay area, much like in one of Playfish’s other titles, Country Story, that reward you with coins and the like for completing them, giving you another way to earn funds.
By the time you actually run out of money in your first sitting with My Empire, you have the potential of already being at level 6, and will have most likely purchased one (or more) of every item that was unlocked for you at the time. Hopefully, with this much quick growth and experience under your belt, you’ll know what to expect going further on with the game.
While Playfish hasn’t made much of a commotion over the game’s launch as of yet (our friends at Gamezebo would remind you that the game is still in beta, so don’t expect perfection), if you’d like to get in on the ground floor of what’s sure to be a popular new Facebook game, head over to the My Empire game page on Facebook.