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FarmVille: Tropic Escape tips, tricks, and hints

Posted by Nick Tylwalk on August 25th, 2016
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Maybe farming is passé in mobile games now. Ah, but farming -- and doing a lot of a other things too -- in an island paradise might be a little different. At least you can work on your tan and sip some pina coladas while tending to your crops.

Actually, you can do a lot more than that in FarmVille: Tropic Escape, the latest game to carry on the FarmVille name. If your only memory is from the Facebook era and its ubiquitous requests, you might want to check back in on where the series has gone on mobile.

The premise of the new game is simple enough. Your friend has convinced you to go halfsies with her on an old inn located on an unnamed but very nice tropical island. After fixing the place up, the goal is to turn it into a top notch resort.

Doing so requires farming, naturally, but also cooking, diving, and ... heck, let's just get right into our FarmVille: Tropic Escape tips, tricks, and hints and we'll explain everything.

Paradise Bay Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on August 9th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STEADY BUSYWORK
Paradise Bay is King's attempt at Farmville. It could well revive the genre.
Read The Full Review »

Don't Eat your Vegetables - Match Them in FarmVille: Harvest Swap

Posted by Jessica Fisher on June 1st, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

What do you get when you cross a super-popular farming app with a match-3 game? Zynga’s FarmVille: Harvest Swap.

FarmVille 2: Country Escape Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 22nd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STEADY FARMING
FarmVille is bigger and brighter than ever before, but don't expect it to sway you if you're a non believer.
Read The Full Review »

Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Experience with Farmville 2: Country Escape

Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STEADY FARMING :: Read Review »

Zynga has launched Farmville 2: Country Escape for iOS devices, and with it, a re-imagined farming/crafting experience for mobile players.

The current app maintains most of the elements that make the game so popular: the ability to craft and manage output. Facebook is not required, and the game is careful to allow players to consume the game in time chunks that work for them. It also has a new social control mode, which allows users to play anonymously or connect on social networks, enjoy connected rewards, and even play in offline mode.

FarmVille pioneered social gaming on the web, and with FarmVille 2: Country Escape we’ve reimagined the franchise as a mobile experience to match how players want to connect with their farm and with their friends,” says Jonathan Knight, vice president of games at Zynga. “The foundation of the mobile game was built on listening to player feedback, so we’ve added features such as giving players the choice to play with friends or on their own, connectivity between the mobile game and FarmVille 2 on Facebook and the ability to play offline. We’ve created an experience where all FarmVille fans will feel right at home. As we focus on growing and sustaining this beloved franchise, we’re proud for FarmVille 2: Country Escape to usher in a new chapter of FarmVille on the go.”

Farmville 2: Country Escape is available for free on the App Store.

Farm Up Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 11th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: RETRO FARMVILLE
A run of the mill farming freemium game with some elements of storytelling.
Read The Full Review »

Scarface Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 4th, 2012
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: A MISS
A great license, poorly used.
Read The Full Review »

Freemium And Free To Play Games Glossary

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 21st, 2011

Historically, 148Apps has steered away from official reviews of free games and apps. The idea was that users could download them with no real risk to their wallet, and find out on their own if the app or game was worth keeping on their iOS device. However, we've decided to change that unofficial policy because, frankly, there are more and more of them releasing every day. As the number of free to download apps increases, so does the number of wasted downloads and bandwidth. As always, we're here to help.

But before we could do that, we had to make sure that all of our writers were approaching these games from the same angle. Let's face it, all free games are not created equal. So we created a short term list for our writers, to help us all get on the same page when talking about them. We thought it might be a good idea to share this list with you too. Here is a list of typical terms that can be used to discuss this hot new genre of mobile gaming.

Game Types

Free to play (F2P) - This type of game allows play without restriction, but will often make in-app purchases available to increase the rate of progress or ease of success. Free to play games can be freemium games, Lite versions, or time-limited demos. This is the umbrella term for all these types of gaming business models, and as such can be applied to a wide variety of games in the App Store, like Pocket Legends, Tiny Tower, Farmville and Zombie Farm.

Freemium - A freemium game, then, is one in which developers allow players to download the game for free, and then charge a "premium" for extra or advanced features. Many of these kinds of games are feature or time limited, in that users must either wait for items to be built or harvested or pay for instant gratification. Other games offer weapons or other items for sale that cannot be acquired any other way (i.e., by waiting or earning more in-game currency). One example of this strategy is Gun Bros. The games mentioned above, like Farmville and Tiny Tower, can also be classified as freemium games, as they offer faster progress via the purchase of in-app items. Some freemium games allow a lot of gameplay before in-app purchases are encouraged, and others only allow a little, or have extreme waiting periods, like Smurfs' Village.

Ad supported - An ad supported game will include advertisements as interstitials, or banners, or within the game levels themselves. Some ad supported games will give an in-app purchase option to remove said advertisements. An example of this kind of game is Hanging With Friends, where gameplay is not restricted, but ads are shown until the "full" version is purchased.

Subscription based - These are games in which it is required to pay to play for a certain, limited amount of time. Many times, these games can seem like a freemium game, before the user hits a hard pay wall where they must subscribe. Order and Chaos, while not a free download, is an example of a subscription based game on iOS.

Social game - This type of game is really a misnomer, and can be applied to a broad spectrum of games, like time management games, farming games, and the like. The social aspect of these games is fairly small, and is typically simply visiting other players' farms and towns or viewing their progress in their own game. Social games are not to be confused with multiplayer or co-op gameplay.


Pay wall - This is the point in the game where players can no longer make any progress or complete any more game play without paying in some way. A soft pay wall is usually temporary, and involves waiting for game progress, like crops to grow. A hard pay wall is one past which there can be no game play or progress without purchase, similar to a time-limited demo on a console, or by completing a special offer or download of another of the game developer's games.

Grind / Craft / Farm - This is what typically makes up the lion's share of activity within a freemium game. Farming, growing crops, building towers, managing customers are all examples of this type of activity. This can be contrasted with the generally accepted concept of a game having activities that are intrinsically rewarding in themselves, have some sort of conflict or skill acquisition curve, and will continue even if extrinsic rewards like crop growth are discontinued.

Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU / MAU) - Typically used in the business of games, this term describes the amount these games are used as a measure of how many players are active in a game on a daily or monthly basis.

In-Game Currency - In-game currency is what is used for players to build or purchase objects to progress in the game. There can be two kinds of currency, generally, including an easily-earned currency as well as a purchasable type of currency, referred to below as in-game credits.

In-Game Credits - This is the type of currency is rarely awarded, but easily purchased; it allows players to rapidly progress in the game. Some games use this to negate the waiting for items to be built or ready to harvest, others use it to bypass building or growing altogether, while still others allow players to exchange it for the main form of in-game currency itself.

One thing to note is that many of these terms and game types are not mutually exclusive. Many games, like most things in life, are a mixture of the above, and new games are most likely in development that mix and match the game types (and invent new ones!) in new and interesting ways.

(More reading (Wikipedia) Free to Play, Freemium)

(Collaborators on this post: Jeff Scott, Carter Dotson, Jennifer Allen)

Japan Themed Social Gaming With Japan Life

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 20th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Following the increasingly popular trend of freemium and free to play games comes Japan Life, a new game title from Nubee.

Much like other titles of this ilk, Japan Life is all about building and growing a small city into a huge tourist spot. Japanese architecture is available throughout the game and it's pretty stunning indeed. As the game progresses, over 100 different buildings and items can be added to the landscape with new levels introducing such things at a steady pace.

Japanese-themed decorations are one of the many things that add a great Eastern touch to the game and making it rather different from anything else. Attracting tourists is the name of the game rather than attracting new residents with shops and pleasant surroundings. Social features are also apparent with Facebook friends forming neighbours and ways of boosting the popularity of one's tourist location.

Japan Life is a free to play game but as is customary of such titles, there's a plethora of in-app purchases available in which users can boost their productivity via the purchase of diamonds.

Check out the Japan Life game trailer below while deciding if this is the ideal next social gaming fix!

Lady Gaga Promotes New Album through Words With Friends and Farmville

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on May 17th, 2011

We've seen partnerships between artists and apps before, but this one is news-making in its sheer scope. Lady Gaga has recently announced a partnership with Zynga to promote her new album, Born This Way, across a number of their games, including two of its biggest hits, Words With Friends and Farmville. Thought you could escape the pop idol? Sorry, she'll be lurking in your virtual field now, too!

The promotion starts on May 17th. Farmville players will be able to visit "GagaVille," a new, uniquely designed neighboring farm sporting unicorns and crystals, among other things. GagaVille will allow "little monsters" (as Gaga dubs her fans) worldwide to listen to unreleased tracks from the new album. And players who buy a $25 Zynga game card from Best Buy will also be treated to a free download of the new album.

Meanwhile, Words With Friends will feature a daily "Words with Gaga" contest, which will award real-life Gaga-themed prizes, ranging from concert tickets to a signed copy of "Born This Way. " The contests have yet to be announced, but as an example Zynga says that players who play a special word ("UNICORN," perhaps) might be entered in a sweepstakes. Finally, special edition virtual items will also be available across other Zynga games.

“I want to celebrate and share ‘Born This Way’ with my little monsters in a special way that’s never been done before,” said Lady Gaga in a statement on Zynga's website. “Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play, and be the first to listen to the album.”

“We’re focused on creating cool new ways to entertain and surprise our players,” said Owen Van Natta, Zynga’s executive vice president of business. “Our partnership with Lady Gaga offers many new experiences...We want to thank Lady Gaga for working with us on this truly great surprise.”

This isn't the first time that Lady Gaga and Zynga have teamed up, however. In March, the two combined their efforts to raise over $3 million for Japan relief. Whether or not this new venture will produce similar results (albeit this time profit) remains to be seen, but I suspect that "GagaVille" will be quite the hit. At the very least, Gaga fans should find a lot here to enjoy. For more information on this newest Gaga/Zynga promotion blitz, check out the website dedicated to the event.

Dolphin Play Now Available for Free

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 28th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The newly formed Recharge Studios has launched their very first game, Dolphin Play, into the App Store. Though the game was initially slated to retail for $0.99, Recharge has decided to surprise us by taking a freemium approach and offering the app as a free download to customers. Hooray for free aquatic fun!

Dolphin Play is a relaxed aquarium simulation game where players can buy fish, take care of them and then eventually sell the matured critters to buy bigger and better fish. Along the way players can buy and train dolphins, which will quickly become the staple of your underwater world. It sounds a lot like undersea Farmville, and that's a fair comparison though Dolphin Play features a lot fewer annoying Facebook messages asking you to help friends buy manure.

I got to spend a little time with Dolphin Play around launch and it seems like the sort of app which has a lot of potential for the casual crowd. While hardcore gamers are likely to shy away from what is essentially an aquarium management game, there is a whole subset of the gaming populace which will be more than happy to check in on their pretty fish once or twice a day, feed and take care of them and then go on about their day. Sure, you could tell those people to just go get real fish, but if Nintendogs can work on the DS then Dolphin Play can work on the iPhone.

We can also see this app scoring with kids, as we all know children for some reason love to do everyday tasks that seem menial to adults. It's probably because they haven't yet discovered that responsibility sucks and still believe they're "helping." Enjoy those years parents, you'll miss them when they're gone. Also, the game's leveling system gives players, especially kids, an incentive to keep taking care of their fish so they can get bigger and better options. It's not incredibly deep, but there's still a hook there (get it?) to keep you coming back for more.

At any rate, if you're looking for a chill app for yourself or your kids that lets you sort of check in and out when you feel like and doesn't require a huge time commitment then Dolphin Play is definitely an option. We're going to be keeping an eye on this one and see if it manages to make waves (I promise I'll stop now) in the App Store.

Treasure Story Launches in App Store

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 17th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

TeamLava has just announced the launch of their newest game, Treasure Story. As the sixth game in the "Story" franchise, Treasure Story allows players to explore a virtual island hunting for buried treasure and rare artifacts which they can trade for in-game prizes. The game is also set up to allow users to create islands of their very own and then share their progress with friends via Facebook Connect. If this all sounds suspiciously like Farmville then congratulations, you understand exactly what the game is all about.

The freemium title is free to download, but in-game boosters are available for purchase for those who want to progress through the game a bit faster. Also, treasure hunters are rewarded for sharing with friends, so expect to start seeing a lot of Facebook messages pop up about how your buddy Dave just dug up some fake rubies and wants you to help him get a better metal detector. Just when you finally stopped tending crops and milking cows another game comes along to crush any hope of spending your free time actually interacting with other human beings face-to-face. Don't sweat it, the whole idea of actually to talking to someone in person and not via Facebook is totally overrated anyway.

TeamLava is promising new content for Treasure Story every week, so once the apps has its hooks into you it's going to be very hard to get them out. In a way, we almost feel evil giving you the iTunes link so you can got and download what's sure to be a massively addictive game, but then we never claimed that we weren't evil so I guess there's no need to apologize. So go ahead, click the link. You know you want to. No one's going to know, it can be our little secret...

Zynga Acquires Newtoy

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 2nd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

In the least clever pun we could think of Zynga has got themselves a new toy by announcing today that they have acquired Newtoy Studios. Newtoy is most famous for producing Words with Friends, Chess with Friends, and We Rule for ngmoco:). While Zynga is of course the company which brought us Farmville. Newtoy has been rebranded Zynga with Friends and will continue working out of their Texas-based headquarters.

The new entity will also retain the same management, with Newtoy CEO and co-founder Paul Bettner assuming the role of VP and GM of the Zynga With Friends studio. "We're reinventing the way people are social on their mobile devices," Bettner. "The Zynga With Friends studio will build on the Newtoy legacy of creating approachable, highly social games that are accessible to anyone from anywhere." His brother and co-founder, David will be working as studio director, and Michael Chow will continue his role as director of operations. So it would seem that the day-to-day work around the office will remain pretty much in place and all the familiar faces will stay in place, all that's changing is the sign on the door. That's all probably for the best, as there's no reason to mess up a good thing.

So what is Zynga planning to do with the new Zynga with Friends studio? No specific plans were set but Mark Pincus, founder and CEO said, "The Games With Friends franchise is the best social game experience available on mobile today and we are excited to welcome the Newtoy team to the Zynga family. The Zynga With Friends Studio will continue to invent great mobile social game experiences for Zynga users everywhere."

Of course we'll keep you posted of any news coming out of the Zynga with Friends studio, but for now we'll just say congrats to both companies and best of luck.

Farmville Is Now On The iPad

Posted by Chris Hall on October 22nd, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FAITHFUL TRANSLATION :: Read Review »

The social farming genre has been dominated as of late by ngmoco:) and their trilogy of "We" games (We Farm, WeRule, WeCity), but the genre leader Zynga isn't conceding the iOS wars. Today, Zynga launched the iPad version of their international super hit, Farmville that is entirely cross compatible with their iPhone and Facebook versions. Now you can start a farm in the morning, tend to it while sitting in traffic, and watch it grow at work... all without missing a beat! (Warning: Don't drive and play Farmville.)

“We want to reach people wherever they want to play the games they love, and deliver the most fun and social experience on every platform,” said Steven Chiang, president of studios, Zynga. “The iPad is a spectacular gaming device, and the new FarmVille app leverages its larger touch screen interface and enhanced graphics. FarmVille on the iPhone was an instant hit and now we are giving people another Apple device to play on.”

According to Zynga, the iPhone version has been a huge success since its launch. It spent more than 50 days in the top 25 and is played in 85 countries around the world. They also estimate that over 60 million people play Farmville on all of its different platforms, accounting for 1% of the global population.

Is it slightly disgusting to think that 1 out of every 100 people around the world plays Farmville? Absolutely, but it does show the huge growth potential of the casual gaming industry. If 60 million people will tend to a farm every day, who's to say that 70 million people wouldn't do something a bit more entertaining?

Anyways, be sure to pick up the iPad compatible version of Farville today for the cool price of free. It may suck all of your time away, but you're not one of those folks who thinks that time is money, right?

Farmville Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Brian Hudson on June 29th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FAITHFUL TRANSLATION
Farmville finally makes it to the iPhone. This app is exactly the sort of tool Farmville fans need to keep tending their virtual plots while on the go. If you're not into Farmville on Facebook, however, you can give this app a pass.
Read The Full Review »