GnomeTown. This Disney Facebook game mixes enough CityVille to make it easily accessible to the masses, mixes in some unique concepts, and has some definite appeal. But when there’s some major competition out there, does this game deserve your time?
Here’s the gist: You start the game controlling one gnome. I named mine “Beardy.” You start to repair a little patch of land by removing weeds and mushrooms and rebuilding a little city. What makes this game extremely unique for this genre is that there’s no energy system. The caveat with this… is that doing actions takes time. So if you want to remove a mushroom, you will dedicate an hour to do that. As the game progresses, you gain more characters. I have 5, including a rabbit, two ferrets, and a …cat? of some sort.
Above, you’ll see that two of my little guys are working hard at removing some mushrooms. They just sprout up wherever they want. The other three characters of mine are just kind of chillin.
The actual goal of the game is to create buildings and eventually a city. But each building must be staffed by my other Facebook friends. I don’t know people that play this game, so all of my buildings sit empty and I can’t accomplish the pre-set goals of the game (ie, Build a Bakery!). I’m pretty much at a standstill, so I thought now would be a good time review the game, since I can’t really progress any more.
What works: GnomeTown is a cool idea. It’s fun and fresh and the lack of an energy system means that you could really play as long as you wanted, assuming the tasks weren’t too time-consuming. The art is vibrant and colorful.
What doesn’t work: This is a small game, it’s not a huge colossus like CityVille where they can get away with making you staff your building with 7 friends. This game can’t meet those expectations, so people like me (where most of my friends don’t play these sorts of games) inevitably hit a wall. I can no longer play without roping my friends into this, and I hate sending out those annoying messages (ie, Adam wants you to meet his gnome, Mr. Beardy!). I almost rephrased that example, but I thought it might be more funny upon second inspection.
A lot of things work, but the game is impossible to play as a single player, once again bringing up the problem with playing social games as a loner. If I had friends that could play, I think I’d still be bored by a certain point however, much like I got tired of CityVille and Empires and Allies. GnomeTown gets some credit for its originality.