Home Editorial Facebook games that don’t suck total ass

WELL, DO YOU!?

This was the creepiest image I could find when searching "Facebook" on Google.

It’s more or less a scientific fact that just about everyone uses Facebook nowadays. Everyone together in one place.

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like every game developer’s wet dream. That means that a game you develop will get a metric fuck-ton of advertising potential and the more or less automatic word of mouth exposure thanks to Facebook’s tendency to let everyone know as soon as you do something or install something new.* Also, the site’s purely social focal point can allow for some really interesting and new ideas, if you really put your mind to it.

So, with all of this potential just waiting for someone to come and take it, what has Facebook gaming given us so far?

More or less, steaming piles of shit.

So, I’ve compiled a list of Facebook games that I like. Which isn’t all that many. I think WiNG has one he wants to talk about too, so he’ll write an article about it a little later. This isn’t really a “Top #” list. You’re getting another list soon enough, seeing as how it’s the end of the year and as a gaming blog, at least 1 of the writers here has to do a GOTY post. BUT THAT’S FOR LATER. Facebook tiem is nao.

Typing Maniac

Typing Maniac is one of the first Facebook games I ever picked up. The premise is simple: words are falling down the screen. You must type them out before they reach the bottom. See how long you can survive. You get interesting power ups along the way, which allow you to do things like clear the screen or freeze the words in place, giving you time to clear them out and allow you to easily read them.

No one really plays it anymore, so I gave up on it awhile ago. It was fun if you were competing against your friends for high scores on the leaderboard, and in a practical sense, it helps you improve your WPM and typing skills. So, if even just for that, give it a shot. You might be somewhat impressed.

Bejeweled Blitz

I stopped playing Bejeweled Blitz after awhile, but not because no one else played it anymore. The game was just way too fucking random. If you got a high score, it’s not really because you were trying or skilled. It’s because you got lucky, and managed to randomly do a 7 chain right into a special gem which makes the whole board explode into points. It made it really irritating if you were trying to nab the high score for the week.

Still, that’s not to say there was no skill involved at all. If you were quick with your gem destroying, you got extra points, and it made it challenging to try and find the next set of gems to blow up with only a few seconds to nab those extra points.

So, why would you ever choose Bejeweled Blitz over one of the main Bejeweled releases? Well, the obvious answer is the Facebook leaderboards. Since it’s free, anyone can play, and if a bunch of your friends start playing, you’re likely to stick around to see your name at the top of the list. Also, there’s now a 1:00 timer per round of game. There are gems you can destroy to get extra time, but for the most part you’re never playing a single round for more than a minute and a half or 2 minutes. This makes the game extremely accessible and gives it that addictive “Just ONE more round…” quality.

Knights of the Crystals

Knights of the Crystals is one of 2 Square Enix developed Facebook games. Now, they’re a big and respected company in the field of video games, so surely they must have made something awesome, right? Well, if you’ve ever see Mafia Wars, which is one of the most popular Facebook games there is, alongside FarmVille (I will be discussing neither, btw. I hate them), then you know what Knights of the Crystals is all about. So, if you noticed, I just said I hate Mafia Wars. So, why do I like KotC? Because it has a Final Fantasy skin on it. No lie. I love RPGs, Final Fantasy in particular, so I played this game for awhile before getting bored because it’s just Mafia Wars.

The only real difference is that you can change your character class after getting the appropriate loot, which was kind of nifty. Oh, and the boss battle system was awesome, a straight turn-based battle system that basically required you to have friends playing who were around the same level as you so you could form a good 3-character party. It was an interesting idea. Now, if Square made something slightly more original, maybe I’d pay attention….ohwait!

Chocobo’s Crystal Tower

Okay, so Chocobo’s Crystal Tower is not the most original game out there, and I’m sure it’s more or less another copy, but they have some interesting ideas here. So, the whole point is to raise Chocobos and send them into towers to fight and stuff. You don’t play through the tower portions yourself, but you can watch as your Chocobo strolls on through, fights monsters and finds treasure, kind of similar to the premise of another Square Enix title, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. You can equip and level up your birds so that they have higher success rates, but ultimately it’s up to them. Now, I stopped playing this as well, because the game was in early, early beta. In fact, you could only access about 3 towers, one of which was worthless after the tutorial. This is because there’s no way to get the item that allows access to further areas of the game. I thought that was lame, so I stopped playing seeing as I had no real reason to continue, if I was just gonna go nowhere**.

The social aspects of the game have some good ideas. The main reason for being social and active was so that you could breed your Chocobo with a friends. This would result in a stronger-than-usual breed, considering you were picking and choosing instead of randomly letting the game choose a partner for you, meaning that the genetic make up was out of your hands. Similar to Final Fantasy VII, you could manipulate how your baby Chocobo would turn out to a degree depending on the parents. Definitely a cool idea, but one that they have yet to fully explore. Once they do, maybe I’ll start playing again.

Zuma Blitz

Zuma Blitz can only be played if you get a ticket for the beta for now. I suggest you do. Much like Bejeweled Blitz, you’re playing a 1:00 per round version of Zuma with leaderboard integration. This gives it much the same addictive qualities as Bejeweled had, but considering this game does take a lot more skill, it’s arguably a lot more fun. The only real issue I have with it is that it limits how much you can play in a certain amount of time. Sure, this value regenerates if you manage to level up, but still. I just want to friggin play Zuma. Stop telling me I’ve played too much, what are you, my mother?

There’s not much more I can say about Zuma other than try it if you have the chance. What do you have to lose, other than your free time?

Robot Unicorn Attack

AAAAAAAAALLWAYS, I WANNA BE WITH YOU...MAKE BELIEEEEVE WITH YOU....AND LIVE IN HARMONY HARMONY HARMONY OHHHHHHHHH LOOOOOOVVEEE

True story

You have exactly two reasons to play this game. The song, and the leaderboards.

Really though, the only reason I play games like Robot Unicorn Attack is for the leaderboards. Just like XBLA releasing old games or revamped old games, ala Pacman Championship Edition, it’s a very simple and yet effective way to get people to compete with games that are not directly competitive. It invokes a mentality that is familiar to anyone who has ever stepped into an arcade with the sole purpose of beating someones high score. Except we don’t have to drop tons of quarters to achieve such a feat anymore. Instead, the scores get wiped every week, inviting everyone to give it another shot. I’m a fan of this idea, at least for awhile before I get really bored with the game. Facebook game developers need to get off their lazy asses and start thinking up some new and interesting ideas though. That won’t happen though, because with what they have, they’re making obscene amounts of cash thanks to microtransactions.

*Facebook: The Ultimate in Stalking Tools

**This coming from the guy who writes a series of articles based on games where you go nowhere

7 replies to this post
  1. Goddamnit, after reading this I haven’t been able to stop playing Robot Unicorn Attack. And I can’t get the song out of my head.

    Thank you.

  2. Final Fantasy KotC requires you to purchase cash items after the second major area just do the first mission. Each time you do the first mission, you use up one of the items (you buy them in a stack) so you need cash just to play the game past a very early stage.

    Also, like Mafia Wars clones, PVP is impossible no matter what your stats, if your opponent has more friends than you.

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