Welcome to another edition of the Thursday Throwdown here on Frisky Mongoose! While last week saw us taking a break from the world of Facebook games, to offer a comparison between two of the biggest mobile phones around – the Droid X and the iPhone 4 – this week sees a return to Facebook gaming, with this week’s Throwdown taking a look at two farming games. These aren’t just any farming games – these are farming games with a tropical flair – Playdom’s Tiki Farm and Meteor Games’ Island Paradise.
According to the latest AppData figures, Tiki Farm, which Playdom launched on the site last December, currently sits at around 2.6 million players. Meanwhile, Meteor Games launched Island Paradise on the site in October of last year, and now sits at a little more than 3.3 million players. While not the most popular apps on the site, they fill a niche in terms of the Facebook gaming arena – both may be farming games, but aren’t as comparable to FarmVille as you might think, due to their tropical settings.
One of the biggest differences between the two games isn’t so much the addition or absence of a gameplay feature, but more in the overall idea of what the games are about. That is, Island Paradise tries much harder to be functionally convenient, offering barns and such for your farm, in order to organize the space, allow you to hold more animals, and save time while playing, while Tiki Farm seems much more content to focus on decorations and the like.
That being said, however, the basic idea behind both games remains the same, and to an outsider, describing them with the following statement would be appropriate: “You’ll start a farm on an island, where you can grow all manner of crops and harvest them for a profit.” From there, the games diverge, with each containing loads of smaller touches that set them apart.
For Island Paradise, you see the addition of items like barns, which allow you to hold your chickens and farm animals inside, thus allowing you to save room for more farm plots and even more animals. In Tiki Farm, meanwhile, the “Workshops” as they are called, are animal or item specific. That is, instead of buying an animal barn to house your cows and chickens, these two animals are separate purchases, each with their own function.
Interestingly, the system of animals in Tiki Farm is incredibly similar to that found in another Meteor game – Ranch Town, in that for the cow, you’ll need to grow alfalfa as a crop that can then be fed to the cow, which will produce milk (this is exactly like Ranch Town). For an item like the Smoothie Stand, you’ll grow pineapples, which the Smoothie Stand turns into, you guessed it, smoothies.
Most tasks within both games will reward you with experience points, helping you to level up so that you can grow more crops and buy more decorations for your farm. Coincidentally, both games store all of your harvested items (by default), including crops and those items produced by animals, in a storage cabinet instead of selling them outright. In order to make a profit from your work, you have to manually sell each item, or click the “Sell All” item to sell everything in bulk.
However, in the process of growing crops, you’ll notice another large difference between the two games, that limits the ability for you to level up in as quick a fashion in Tiki Farm – that difference being the level-restricted amount of crops available in Tiki Farm. While in Island Paradise, you can plow as many plots of land as your virtual bank account will allow, in Tiki Farm, you gain two additional plots each time you level up. You can also earn the right to plow more plots by adding neighbors to your account.
Growing crops is also more complex in Tiki Farm, in that once you plant a crop, it can be watered to help it grow. The plots will dry out over time, especially for those crops that have longer growth cycles, and you can come back and water them again to earn more experience points. While it might seem so, this isn’t actually mandatory, as your crops will grow one way or another. Bugs will also randomly appear on your crops in Tiki Farm, and can be removed in order to stop the “infestation” from ruining your progress.
While these are just some of the larger differences found in the game, here are a few more that you’ll notice when playing both games:
- Tiki Farm contains a system of Charms, like those found in another Playdom game – Tiki Resort. These Charms provide instant boosts to your crops, like lowering growth time for your planted crops, or lessening the growth time on trees. Island Paradise contains similar items, but they are named more realistically, and are called “Fertilizers,” as one example.
- You can leave crops alone in Tiki Farm, only to return to completely healthy, ready to harvest crops, when you return from your absence. Crops in Island Paradise, however, can and will wither if you don’t tend to them.
- In Island Paradise, you can purchase land expansions for your island, while Tiki Farm offers new islands entirely, with three being available thus far on which you can grow crops and decorate until your heart’s content.
- As we said before, animals are much more relevant in Island Paradise, and are mostly separated between those that offer eggs, milk, or wool. Tiki Farm, however, contains animals that are mostly decorative, and even a bit whimsical, like the Seal or Llama.
- The game’s premium currency is also different – Tiki Farm relies on Facebook Credits, the interchangeable premium currency that can be taken with you through many popular Facebook games, while Island Paradise revolves around a system of Meteor Credits, specific to Meteor Games’ titles.
As usual, we could go on for much longer discussing the differences and similarities between Tiki Farm and Island Paradise, but for now, we want to place the topic in your hands – Which game, between the two, is better? You’ll be able to make your vote known in the handy-dandy poll at the bottom of this page. Once you’ve made your choice, you are more than welcome (nay, you are encouraged) to join in on the discussion about these games, either in the comments below, or in our forums.
Which game is better? You tell us! Vote below!
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