In a world where everyone is playing Candy Crush and Angry Birds, it’s hard to remember that there was a time when Zynga’s FarmVille was all anyone was talking about. The game dominated conversations, wasted countless corporate work hours, and kept people up long into the night. With their recent release of FarmVille 2: Country Escape on mobile devices, Zynga is hoping to once again catch hold of the public consciousness.
Zynga’s style of dynamic simulation was popular during the period where Facebook was establishing it’s dominance, but it has felt that popularity wane as newer games take over the market. Farmville and similar games were designed to be played on desktops and laptops – machines with traditional web browsers – and they didn’t port well to mobile. As casual gamers begin turning to their phones and iPads for entertainment, Zynga was left behind.
Farmville 2: Country Escape is the first Zynga game redesigned specifically for mobile devices. Although the game has been out for a while on Facebook, long enough to become one of Zynga’s strongest earners, Zynga has only just released it for the iPhone and Android. The experience will be similar to the Facebook app, but with a few tweaks to make it mobile friendly – like different animal interactions and touch controls.
Like their other games, Farmville 2 is free to play, with the option to purchase bonuses and items in the game if you want to speed up your progress. Additionally, the designers have created an “Anonymous” mode, which allows players to enjoy the game without the restrictive need for an army of friends to tend to the crops. To make the transition to mobile even smoother, new players can enhance their farms by connecting to their Facebook game already in progress and trade necessities.
The farm on the mobile version is different, and some of the fundamentals have been changed. Crop maturity times, for instance, have been adjusted to account for the way gamers use their phones. The objective, according to the heads at Zynga, was to make the game as attractive to someone standing in a line to pay for groceries as it was for someone that needed to fill their time on a long bus trip.
The two new firsts for Zynga – the ability to play alone and the ability to play on-the-go – mean a new direction for the company that excites old fans that moved away as the culture progressed to mobile devices. Now that there’s a version of Farmville available for the iPhone, they’re seeing users return once again to the rural comfort that is their digital farmstead.
The game is expected to evolve over the coming months as the developers at Zynga get comfortable with the new environment, but once they’ve got their bearings, expect a surge from the once powerful gaming giant. If Farmville 2 proves that they’re able to create a success in the mobile market, it’s a good bet that more games will show up with mobile versions in the future. Farmville 2: Country Escape is already available in 16 languages, with more on the way. Also on the way – a version for the Kindle.
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