Thursday Throwdown: Treasure Madness or Treasure Isle? You Decide

Thu, May 13, 2010

Facebook, Social, Treasure Isle

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means! It’s time for another Thursday Throwdown! For those who haven’t been playing along thus far, the Thursday Throwdown is a weekly feature here on Frisky Mongoose that sees us comparing two or more similarly themed Facebook games and allowing you to make the decision as to which game is superior.

Last week, we covered a trio of aquatic games: FishVille, Happy Aquarium and Fish World. After being overwhelmed with votes, it seems that a true winner (at least from reader opinion) has been found in Happy Aquarium that, as of this writing, has 56% of the votes, to FishVille’s 42%. Again, this is all based on what you, the readers, had to say about the game – all three titles are great in their own ways, and there are definitely no right or wrong answers here.

This week, we’re going to move to an entirely different genre of games – the treasure hunting genre – by taking a look at zSlide’s Treasure Madness, and it’s competitor Zynga’s Treasure Isle. According to the latest AppData figures, Treasure Madness is sitting at around 2.4 million players, while the powerhouse known as Treasure Isle has rocketed to almost 28 million players in around a month.

While these user numbers may place Treasure Isle at a distinct advantage right from the starting gate, Treasure Madness has been around since November, and without doubt played a huge inspirational role in Zynga’s creation of Treasure Isle. As such, both games can be described in mostly the same way – You’ll play a treasure hunter, exploring exotic locations via maps that are cleared, tile by tile, allowing you to find treasure which is separated into collections, find fruit that gives you stamina, and earn gold coins that allow you to purchase new maps and items.

Here's a map in Treasure Madness

Here's a map in Treasure Isle

From there, one of the most striking differences between the two games is Zynga’s inclusion of a Home Island in Treasure Isle. Unlike Treasure Madness, which is all about the treasure, all of the time, Treasure Isle’s Home Island allows you to take a break from the digging to customize your own expandable island with items like hammocks, huts, fire pits, water toys, trees, plants and so on. These items can either be purchased from the game’s store or given as free gifts to friends, while in Treasure Madness, free gifts consist almost solely of treasure pieces (along with the occasional piece of fruit or functional item).

Here's a Home Island in Treasure Isle

Where you can visit your friends’ Home Islands in Treasure Isle, friend interaction in Treasure Madness is quite limited, but still contains the necessary elements to allow for some teamwork. You can send your friends energy packs, which refills their energy, or fruit and even items like Bug Sprays, which unlock previously blocked areas of islands. This too can be done in Treasure Isle.

One element that is solely in Treasure Madness’s column is the Gold Rush, a daily mini-game that allows you to choose from two themes, spiders or hands, that sees you controlling a gloved hand as you collect gold nuggets of varying sizes (the larger the nugget, the more coins it is worth) as you avoid spiders or hands, also of varying sizes, which are trying to grab you and end the game. You’ll collect gold for as long as you can, with the average player being able to earn at least 500 free coins each day, and that’s a low estimate.

The "Hand" variety of Gold Rush in Treasure Madness

Another element found in Treasure Madness that is lacking in Treasure Isle are the mini-games associated with digging up treasure. These mini-games are basic versions of games like Tetris, Bejeweled and Chuzzle, among others, that grant you skill points based on how long it took you to complete them. Skill points, then, accumulate in your overall skill level for that particular game, and as you level up, the games become more difficult or complex. Leveling up also earns you a free fruit item (again, fruit in both games refills a bit of your stamina, or digging energy).

You'll know you've found treasure when something like this appears in Treasure Madness...

Aside from the aforementioned differences, those with a keen eye will also spot the following when playing both games:

  • Where both games contain a system of keys that unlock new sections or tiles on islands, Treasure Madness forces you to dig up these keys (whether literal or in the form of stones and the like) as you would any other treasure in the game, while Treasure Isle has a system of colored gems that can be found and collected from your own Home Island and the islands of friends, in addition to finding them while digging.
  • Digging in Treasure Madness costs more energy than digging in Treasure Isle does. While both contain a scale that increases the demand based on what you’re digging in (trees and plants cost more to dig through than grass or sand, while rocks cost more than trees or plants – you get the idea), Treasure Isle starts with 5 points for sand or grass, and raises to 7 and 10 points for trees/plants and rocks, while Treasure Madness starts at 10 points for sand/grass, and moves to 11 points for trees/plants and 12 points for rocks.
  • Treasure Isle contains a player avatar, while Treasure Madness does not.
  • If you find a piece of fruit in Treasure Madness, you are given the opportunity to eat it immediately, instantly refilling a certain portion of your energy, while in Treasure Isle, they go into your backpack and must be activated manually.
  • Maps in Treasure Madness are ranked according to their likelihood of containing gold and treasure, with some islands being reserved almost solely for accumulating fruit, while maps in Treasure Isle each contain a known number of treasure chests, with a counter being displayed in the corner of the gameplay window allowing you to keep track of your progress.
  • It takes less time for a single point of energy to regenerate in Treasure Madness than it does in Treasure Isle, presumably due to Treasure Madness’s higher energy requirements in the first place.

Again, these are just a small handful of the differences and comparisons that can be made between both games. While both games offer very similar gameplay experiences, they definitely aren’t identical. So which one is better? As usual, we’re leaving that for you to decide, via the handy dandy poll you’ll find below.

Have you played both games? Even if you haven’t, we’d love to hear your thoughts on either game below – what makes them great? What do you wish you could change or add? Let us know in the comments section below, and check back with us next week for another installment of the Thursday Throwdown!

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Related posts:

  1. Zynga’s Treasure Isle Gains 3 Million Players in Five Days
  2. Thursday Throwdown: Pet Society or PetVille? You Decide
  3. New Soccer Maps Now Available in Treasure Madness
  4. Treasure Madness Offers Free Map for Fans
  5. Treasure Isle Gets Zynga Messaging Center
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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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  • natalia chistyuk

    I cannot give the orders there are peoples gifts and to publish in

  • kate45

    that disapearing game sounds like fun

  • natalia chistyuk

    I cannot give the orders there are peoples gifts and to publish in facebook

  • kate45

    Hey if you are having trouble visit the fan site of the game and add some friends, that way you dont have to spend money and they will prob send you fruit and energy packs. just a suggestion.

  • ann

    Just started, kind of fun, so far!

  • ann

    just started, kind of fun so far!

  • HappyLilGrahamCracker

    I play both games regularly. I started playing Treasure Isle first, about a month ago, and have greatly enjoyed the experience. However, my energy does eventually run out, and I was looking for something else to do online while it was refueling a bit. I stumbled upon Treasure Madness. I like them both a lot, for different reasons. I like the simplicity of Treasure Isle- when I’ve found something, I’ve found it, and I can keep digging, but I like the added gameplay of Treasure Madness, where I can play minigames as well. Both of them are fun, and generally well made. Both have their great aspects, and places where they fall short (I only have ONE friend out of 30 who has blue gems, and can never get green gems from my 3 friends who have them because they don’t visit regularly… over half of my Treasure Isle friends have purple gems, but most of the maps require high quantities of green gems. HOWEVER, it takes so much energy to do each thing in Treasure Madness, despite the fact it regenerates more quickly, and, if you’re away from the computer for even a few hours, you start missing out on energy points because it caps relatively low).

  • jojo

    who dont love bieng the pirate…..

  • islandvick

    I have played TM since November 2009, They have recently made changes that make game play tedious and much less fun. While I really enjoyed the mini-games, the other changes made me just not want to play any longer. I now play TI. At first it seemed very simplistic and juvenile, but became more involved as my experience grew. I think is more interactive, also, in that you must visit neighboring island to have gems to unlock areas of each new map.

  • lelej

    loves it!

  • lelej

    ummmmmm yea

  • 561239557

    great! fan-tastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lectian

    Treasure Isle

  • Susan

    I haven’t played Treasure Madness, it looks aweful as in yuck.
    I do play and enjoy Treasure Island and am a fan.

  • Pat Cianflone

    total agreement to your comments. I also feel robbed by TM. I spent many hours completing collections and maps for the time-limited holiday maps that were about to disappear. This became unimportant to me when they raised the hp renewal rate, raised the cost of the maps, and decreased the rewards I could receive. But then, the biggest mistake for me was to instill the Weather System, which prevents me from playing more than a few minutes. I earned my level and higher maximum health, TM took it away, and now I’m sending my gifts to friends and slowly moving on.

  • Fannie

    I’ve played both, and it is very clear that Treasure Isle is a cheap knockoff. I liked treasure madness because you get to play a variety of games everytime you find a treasure. This is not in Treasure Isle, which makes it lame and boring to me. I think the reason Treasure Isle has more players is because it is created by power-company Zynga, so it gets more advertising. Treasure madness is exponentially better!

  • cynthiatranquilli

    I have a complain as to your system of gifting. I receive over 70 requests for fruit today. I could spend hours to reply to all these requests. I take names, sent out gifts and request that they return a gift. I recieved back about 20% of the requests.

    why can;t we just send a gift and have the option to return a gift to the sender.

  • karra1

    i was totally addicted to Treasure madness………but recently they've decided to change the way we can refill our HP and other things,basically trying to get us to spend real money on the game, if you look at there forum, you will see the multiple complaints about this from it's devoted players, but to date the developers have totally ignored it's players in this matter, i play treasure isle alot more often than treasure madness now, for the simple reason is tht i can…………..i know of at least 10 of my team members have now left the app' altogether thru these changes,………there's no surprise that TM has only got about 2 million monthly players now, and TI has shot away up to 20 odd million……….and it's sad really coz the actual Treasure madness game is the better game :(

  • satinn

    i used to play treasure madness from the time i wake till before going to bed.,used to really really love it before the “IMPROVEMENTS”.,now i don’t even other opening the game anymore!

  • shocked

    if for gaming, i like treasure island better. but recently, i was watching a friend struggling to play because of so many glitches. she decided to go to the reviews to look for people who were in the same situation, and realised that no one was responding to the gamers. she decided to start her review by saying, hello. if the devs/admin are reading this please do something about it. then she got a private message by a female telling her to be careful of what she posts and that she has been put on rescue mode, whatever that means. she became invisible on the review section, and still is. i just went in today and said something like be careful what you post here or you’d be put on invisible mode, and i am now on invisible mode. she is still a fan of theirs no matter, but i am not

  • dlennie

    i like TM because i get a mu$ for leveling up, and if my health meter is at say 90/110 when i level up it then goes to 200/110 and it doesn’t waste- where in TI if my health is 90/150 when i level up it then goes to 151/151 and 90 health points are wasted in my opinion. it would be nice if instead we could get a health pack in our backpacks to use after the health meter runs out.
    i love having a home island and growing my own fruit, the only thing i don’t like is that it expires. in TM the fruit doesn’t go rotten if you save it.
    I think the mini games in TM are fun, it’s nice to have extra challenges.
    I like visiting my neighbors islands in TI for exp points and gems – it sucks when a neighbor never picks the gem tree and you need that color to finish an island though.
    and one thing i would like to see changed is that if you complete a treasure set you could go back later and trade it in. i currently have 3 sets to trade in and i can’t.
    both games have their good points. i’ve only played TM for about a month so i don’t know how it was before, but i like it fine. i don’t like how i have to leave the map to “eat” the fruit – for that TI is better.

  • Amanda

    The devs ruined TM. I don’t enjoy TI as much as I USED to enjoy TM, but now its more fun. Greed was the downfall of TM.

  • Papados

    sorry treasure madness but you did this to yourseves..!!!
    you ruined the game..
    a level 370 previous great fan talking..!!!

  • Ruth Stenske

    it takes awhile to develop new maps. i think its pretty cool that they give a way to replay them so when we are waiting for the new maps we can continue to lvl up…

  • caterfree10

    Like Zynga doesn't “make” you become a fan to get fan exclusive stuff either? I know of several game developers that have fan exclusive stuff. Don't act like TM's the only one to do so.

  • caterfree10

    You do realize there's been a way to do that for a while now, right?

  • Kimberlee

    Enjoys Treasure island. Would like to be able to expand my own island faster though.

  • Adanac

    Finding the game fun

  • Treasure Isle convert

    I switched to Treasure Isle after Treasure Madness made one too many switches that screwed over seasoned players. I would say that there are 2 things that Treasure Madness does better than Treasure Isle: more treasures and mini games. The problem is, their decision to take away MU (Treasure Isle’s equivalent to cash) for completing treasures, their limits on HP refills, the need to post on friend’s walls, and their lack of communication with fans to indicate that they are listening have all turned me away. Treasure Isle isn’t perfect, but at least they haven’t screwed me over yet.

  • Rachael

    I dont like the new health thing they have on treasure madness. if i level up i should be able to get full energy like in any other game like it. the games are fun yes but i love the home island in treasure isle is cool i love collecting the animals and stuff like that

  • alhajibube

    very fascinating and entertaining

  • alhajibube


  • tward10695

    I loved Treasure Madness and I have played it from the beginning, but since they have made the changes to make you use real money to play the game, it has become boring to play. They have taken all the fun out of the game. They hold back on the most popular treasures and instead you keep digging up duplicates of what you have. They are concentrating of their mini games and making it harder for you to get your treasure, which I thought was the main reason for digging. So now I play Treasure Isle, its not as fun as Treasure Madness was, but it’s getting better with the fact that I have my own island, which I can decorate and they don’t leave you hanging for items to complete your collections.

  • etienne007

    I do not act as if TM is the only one doing it. But they had a system that worked without the spamming, so changing to spamming is a turn for the worse. That's my point.

  • Kate Hancock

    PetVille doesn't really compare with the treasure hunting genre, but keep an eye out for a pet throwdown to come soon ;) It's one of my personal favorites too, so bet it will make the cut. You can earn Pet Cash by completing sponsor activities (Earn PetCash tab) and sometimes can find it in treasure chests at friends' houses. Zynga also posts links for free Pet Cash from time to time on the game's Facebook fan page feed.

  • l wetterow


  • Toni M.

    Yes I have played both, I WAS so addicted to Treasure Madness it was UNREAL, but then the changes came (boo hiss boo). With these new changes ALOT of TM fans,myself included, switched to Treasure Isle. I have not played Treasure Madness since they added more changes tho so I am not sure at this point in time which is the better game. The OLD treasure Madness before getting rid of MU$'s and full health refills would have SLAM DUNKED Treasure Isle. Now I'm not so sure. Treasure Isle isn't fixing what isn't broken so that's a plus for digging fans, while Treasure Madness continues to fix a game that was perfectly fun to play. At this point in time I must say Treasure Isle is the winner.

  • A Noun

    I used to be a complete Treasure Madness addict, until today. The day I ventured into the Forum.

    Now, we all know what a Forum is for. You get hints, you discuss the game. The Admins are there to be helpful and encourage gameplay.

    Today, I found the thread where the Admins are gossiping about the players who post. Saying very mean, nasty things, in public. Having the general attitude that they truly hate the players, except for their own little Admin clique.

    That doesn’t help.

    So many changes have happened to the game and are still happening. It became rather unappealing, and I went from playing 3 or 4 times a day to once a week. Today, I’m deleting it.

    How sad to discover that TM is a game that truly hates its players. How disturbing.

  • bella

    i have trouble on my treasure isle, every time i get a peice of fruit even if it isnt supposed to go bad for days it already says its rotten and makes me throw it out, what do i do?!!! please help me!!

  • Bella

    ive been having glitches as well, do they ever do anything about problems?

  • 0-0

    I voted Treasure Isle because Treasure Madness messing around with the health system and the ridiculous amounts of things you need to complete an island. Some islands need lots of money required and all that. I have a level 3X account on Treasure madness (harder to level) and a 8x in treasure isle

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