App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
As with many a popular Facebook game, it's now PyramidVille's turn to get an iOS port. However, PyramidVill Adventure is a bit more than a simple copy. The basic structure is the same, but a number of small additions have made it better suited (and more fun) for on-the-go players.
The Facebook original shares many similarities with other popular free-to-play titles. Players can plant crops, build structures, set up a sprawling metropolis of sorts and generally get stuff in order to get better stuff. What sets this new iteration apart is its apparent understanding that the iOS crowd expects a bit more. While all of the primary features remain intact, the interface has been completely overhauled in order to cater to touch screens. Mini-games have also been included, and typically bookend most major activities. There's also a new commodity trading system in place which allows players to exchange goods with neighboring kingdoms.
All of the freemium aspects that keep people playing for much longer than they probably should are here. Harvesting crops, supplying homes, cutting down trees and even clearing debris from the ground will cause a number of tiny icons (symbolizing energy, experience, etc...) to erupt from the ground. The desire to snatch them all up as quickly as they appear is automatic. Similarly, it's hard not to get caught up in the endless cycle of making/collecting things in order to make/collect fancier things. And the mini-games! They don't just break up the tedium of all the point-and-click actions, they also effectively shorten the amount of time required to wait for certain actions to finish. For example, one can greatly cut down the amount of real time required to trade with another kingdom by taking part in a couple of them. It's actually kind of ingenious.
The only problem I've encountered with PyramidVille Adventure is the camera. Or more specifically, how it relates to the interface. It defaults to "A Bit Too Close," but that can be remedied with a quick pinch of the screen. The real problem I keep having is the way the Confirm button (for placing crops, building homes, etc...) always tends to fall just below the bottom edge of the screen. Zooming out doesn't help because the selection wheel stays the same size. Readjusting the camera by dragging helps, but when placing multiple objects down it realigns itself. Which, of course, pushes the button I'm trying to hit out of reach. The Cancel button, on the other hand, is usually right in the middle. Le-sigh.
Minor irritations about the stubborn selection wheel aside, PyramidVille Adventure is a very entertaining freemium title. It's got all the trappings that... well... trap, as well as a healthy amount of new-ish additions. Whether or not it'll replace someone's farming addictions depends on their love of Egyptian themes, but it's certainly a worthy contender.