Facebook! It is everywhere and everything, and it consumes us all. I would bet ten dollars that, as you read this, you’ve got Facebook open right now in another tab or window. It is also home to several thousand games, with more arriving every day, appealing to audiences from every walk of life. So, how is one to decide which game best suits one’s needs? Where do you fall on the social spectrum, and which title is the correct use of every second of your spare time?
Don’t worry, friends. Frisky Mongoose is here with another handy guide to your gaming needs.
Let’s face it; when it comes to video games, other people are good for only one thing: appearing below you on the high-score list. The top of the leaderboard is your exclusive domain, and that’s just why Facebook is so great — being connected with all of your friends will make that leaderboard so much longer and more impressive, and provides you with solid proof of how awesome you are. Remember — having a better score makes you a better person.
Recommended Title: Bejeweled Blitz
Sixty seconds of one of the simplest and most addictive game mechanics ever created, married to PopCap’s mastery of presentation, garnished with a front-and-center leaderboard which will become the focus of your life. Don’t be fooled by the one-minute game time here; unless you are the sort of person who is able to eat a single potato chip and walk away from the bowl, you can expect to easily spend your recommended daily hour of gaming in a series of jewel combos. Best of all, at the end of each match, you’re right back to the leaderboard, with your next target in sight. And, if one of your friends gets an impossibly high score (due entirely to luck, unlike your incredible skills), let them enjoy their temporary glory. The scores reset every week, giving you 52 chances a year to be #1.
Also, the announcer sounds like a slightly less sadistic version of the Mortal Kombat announcer, which is cool.
When you say Eggshell White, you do not mean Pearl, you do not mean Cream, you mean Eggshell, dammit! Whether it’s a farm, a restaurant, or an office park, your unique aesthetic shines through in the worlds you inhabit, and your Facebook friends are your adoring audience of visitors. Your avatar’s clothing is a perfect match for the furniture, which is lovingly arranged for maximum Feng Shui. Bonus points if you have a Facebook photo album with shots of your virtual establishment!
Recommended Title: Restaurant City
There are plenty of Facebook apps and games whose main (or only) feature is the construction, decoration, and social promotion of some virtual real estate. If it weren’t obvious from the title, Restaurant City puts you in charge of a bustling eatery, and its gameplay surrounds your efforts to amass ingredients, level up your cuisines, and expand operations by bringing in a horde of hungry customers. Where it shines, though, is in the possibilities it provides for the crafty gamer to decorate in unique and wonderful ways through an incredible volume of options. The game starts you off with two walls, an empty space, and a ridiculously varied in-game store, with new decorations, furniture, appliances, and themes being added on a regular basis. High-end players can even restructure their floor plans by building new walls and partitions, and the game includes a function to visit and rate other restaurants based on their elegant designs. The game mechanics and progression are definitely secondary to the creative expressions here, but if you’re a Decorator, this is the city for you.
They’ve also fixed it so your waiters are less likely to pass out in the bathroom.
Other good entries: FarmVille, PetVille, most things ending in “ville”
This category bears a little explanation: Yes, nearly every game on Facebook justifies itself as “social” by including some feature that involves your friends list. Admit it, though — most of these features don’t go beyond the game’s own need to spread itself to new users. They usually offer you a mechanic of “get two extra clicks per day for each friend who signs up,” and that’s it. Some of us social gamers, however, would like to actually see our social circle making a noticeable difference in gameplay; we want the actions of our friends to make a difference. Whether it’s through a decent trading system, or the ability to interact with your friends’ avatars in a meaningful way, these are the games for the cooperatively minded players.
Recommended title: Gourmet Ranch
Another farmer/restaurateur game? Yes, it’s true; Gourmet Ranch is hardly the first title to tackle the worlds of agriculture or haute cuisine (though it is one of the few to combine the pursuits into a very nice farm-to-table green living kind of ordeal). The game itself is fun, but where it curiously excels is in the chance it provides players to collaborate. On the surface, it would appear to offer the usual “extra clicks for extra friends” benefit of visiting other farms. However, it also provides a completely open and unrestricted trading system for crops and dishes, allowing players to work together to craft the high-end foodstuffs.
Ingredients are initially locked behind progression trees, preventing low-level farmers from growing high-level plants. What’s more, leveling up will only typically allow one to gain access to one new ingredient at a time, from a list of dozens. The solution? Add a friend, and work together to unlock different branches of the tree. You can sink your unlocks into getting Grain X, while your friend accesses Fruit Y — and, by placing a few spare harvests in your trade area, both of you can now whip up Dish Z. Ah, the joy of cooking!