Developer: Beeline Interactive, a division of Capcom
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Playtime Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★½☆☆☆

While Smurfs’ Village has been in the App Store for a while now, it’s getting a second life with the Smurfs movie coming out soon. We hadn’t taken a look at it, even though it was high up in the top grossing list for a long time. Let’s see if we can figure out why.

The story in Smurfs’ Village is that Gargamel has broken up the Smurfs village and they must create a new village. That’s the player’s job – to create a new village for the Smurfs. Initially, the game walks through how to play the game by using the progression of this story with Papa Smurf giving small tasks to do for coins and XP.

Once the tutorial is done, players earn money for growing crops and doing small quests. All of these tasks take a certain amount of time to complete, and must be finished before progress can continue in the game. In addition, some of the buildings placed include small, very simple mini games. These are timed to only allow play a certain number of times per day, usually once per day. The tasks started in the game can take from 5 minutes to multiple days to finish.

One of our standard tests is how long a free to play game can be played when first starting the game, before hitting a pay wall. A pay wall is the point in the game where play can no longer progress without using the games speed up credits.** In Smurfs’ Village, those credits come in the form of smurfberries, and players are given a few when starting the game. Without spending any of the smurfberries, we got about 6 minutes of play. That’s a very small amount of time for a free to play game.

Even after the initial tutorial, play time is rather low, even for a freemium game like this. Without spending money to buy smurfberries to speed up the play, there is about 3 minutes playable at a time. It’s rather disappointing. And the included mini games are very simple and quickly tiresome, even with the knowledge that playing will result in some easy in-game currency.

Besides this, the game is really slow to load. It clocked in multiple times at over a minute to get started. The game also does not seem to take advantage of the multitasking or app suspension included in iOS 4. This means that the app needs to reload completely when launching it after exiting, while it should just resume where last left off. This is just not acceptable these days, especially so considering the limited play time per session.

So it seems that this game is tuned to make players really want to spend money to get speed up credits (smurfberries). Perhaps too much. I’m afraid we can’t recommend this game for anyone other than the most Smurfy of Smurf fans.

** Editor’s Note: See our Glossary for Freemium games here.

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