Welcome to another installment of the Thursday Throwdown here on Frisky Mongoose! For those who are just joining us, the Thursday Throwdown sees us comparing two or more similarly themed Facebook games and leaving the final decision up to you, the loyal readers, as to which game is best.
Last week, we took a look at two pet simulation titles, Pet Society and PetVille. PetVille players came from all around to express their love of Zynga’s take on the genre, and absolutely dominated the poll, winding up with (as of this writing) 86% of the vote, to Pet Society’s 14%.
This week, we’re switching genres yet again, and taking a look at two tropically themed resort tycoon games, Playdom’s Tiki Resort and CrowdStar’s Happy Island. Perhaps more than any two games on Facebook, if there have ever been games that could be classified as “twins separated at birth,” it’s this pair.
For a bit of background, CrowdStar launched Happy Island in December of last year, and according to the latest AppData figures, the game now rests at around 9.8 million users, while Playdom’s Tiki Resort hit the scene in February of this year and can lay claim to around 6.4 million users.
While these two titles may not be the most popular Facebook games (Happy Island rests in the 20th position for most popular game, while Tiki Resort sits in the 34th spot), that doesn’t stop both from having a devoted fan base, that has fallen in love with the basic principles shared between the two: You’ll take over an island resort, and will be in charge of attracting tourists to your island by building new and upgradable attractions for them to spend time and money in. Both games offer decorations with which to customize your island, and as your virtual pocketbook and experience level grows, so too does your empire, with the ability to expand into new islands.
As we said, these two games are incredibly similar, which only makes the differences that can be found between them all the more important, as they are the true defining factors that may cause a gamer to choose one over the other. We’ll take a look at a few, and then we’ll ask you what you think.
For one of the most obvious differences between the two games, we only have to look at Tiki Resort’s Charm system. These Charms are (typically) one-time-use objects that can either be purchased for Facebook Credits or sent and received as free gifts, and that tend to create some sort of temporary upgrade or enhancement on your island, whether that be in the form of tourists that pay more money when visiting an attraction, instant level ups and so on.
A secondary system of charms, consisting of Pineapples, Coconut Drinks and Leis allow you to instantly boost the happiness of a tourist on your island; however, unlike “buying a drink” for your guests in Happy Island, this seems to have a more far-reaching purpose, and can in fact cheer up whole sections of your resort at once.
For a feature found squarely in the Happy Island column, head into your Archipelago View. What’s the Archipelago View? While both games allow you to eventually expand into other islands, to increase your profitability and amount of attractions, Happy Island’s Archipelago View functions as your world map of sorts, where you can add decorations exclusive to this zoomed out view of your islands. Tiki Resort, then, provides travel by clicking on a paper map.
Furthermore, the design of your island in Tiki Resort is fairly stationary (you can remove snow caps from your second island, as one exception), while in Happy Island, you can choose from a number of different themes, including desert islands, and even one set around a crater lake.
While these differences may be the most striking, you can find others, with these being a few examples:
- Clicking on an attraction in Happy Island will show you whether or not you can upgrade it, by simply having the “Upgrade” button either in bold color (yes) or as faded out (no), while Tiki Resort employs the same feature, but also includes information about your upgrade status, like what level you’ll need to be to next upgrade the attraction, or letting you know that it’s already to its max upgrade.
- You gain more money for picking up a single piece of trash in Happy Island (your tourists are messy people) than you do in Tiki Resort.
- Tiki Resort allows you to purchase pets, which have moods (keeping them happy rewards you with coins), while Happy Island does not.
- Happy Island contains more attractions than Tiki Resort, although this is probably due to the latter’s younger age, as both games add new attractions quite frequently.
- Happy Island allows users to decorate up to eight different islands, while Tiki Resort allows for just two.
- When visiting a neighbor’s island in both games, you can click on their treasure chest and pick up trash (to earn coins or experience points), but additionally, in Happy Island, if you see an attraction you like, you can click on it to purchase one for yourself (it goes into your storage), while Tiki Resort doesn’t offer this convenience.
- In Happy Island, you can change the style of your airstrip or dock (tourists either fly onto or travel to your island by boat) to match one of many themes you may have chosen, while the airstrip and dock cannot be customized in such a way in Tiki Resort.
As we always say in these installments of the Thursday Throwdown, the examples above are just a sampling of the differences found between the two games, and whether any of them is enough to make one game better than the other is up for you to decide, via the handy-dandy poll found below.
Which game do you prefer? Let your opinions be known, not only by voting in the poll, but by leaving us a comment at the bottom of the page. Whatever the reason for your choice, we want to hear it! Why did you pick the game that you did?
- Thursday Throwdown Results: Fans Put Tiki Resort on Top of Happy Island [UPDATE]
- Thursday Throwdown: Tiki Farm or Island Paradise? You Decide
- You Can Now Have a Second Island in Tiki Resort
- The Third Island is Now Available in Tiki Resort
- Playdom Adds a Slew of Second Island Attractions to Tiki Resort