Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Expiring Playfish Cash - 31st July 2011

For those who have received the free Playfish cash last year, you would have receive a reminder email that the Playfish Cash is expiring by 31st July 2011. I received the email about 1 month ago, and the alert included this picture:

So if there are players who do not check the emails (or didn't give the emails to Playfish), these players might miss out the chance to use these Playfish Cash over the next few days. I wasn't very active in the various Playfish promotion and thus I only have 2 Playfish Cash. Folks who played the Hotel City and leveled up to 25 within the promotion period last year could have up to 10 Playfish Cash. I didn't have anything in particular to 'buy' and thus I just opted for a decorative item (Cup of Flames) for the Restaurant City.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Playfish: My Empire - Simple Guide

Playfish has been rolling out lotsa of new games recently, for example My Empire and Pirates Ahoy!

My Empire is as the name suggested, an empire building game. Unlike the PC genre of empire building game, this Playfish version is a relatively peaceful affair, without the war / soldiers / barracks element. The player is given a small island to build up a thriving little town. With higher levels, the buildable area expands and the little township can grown bigger.

Note: Playfish introduced the barracks and soldiers shortly after this post, and thus My Empire is not such a peaceful game afterall.

Game Mechanics - Coins
The game started with a pool of coins for the player to build essentials like housing, storage etc. Thus coins formed the basic currency of the game, and it is vital to plan to earn coins. Coins could be obtained via the following methods:

- Daily log-in. The game reward players with a bag of coins every day. There is also a bonus to the bag of coins when the player log in consecutively over a period of 5 days.

- Daily visits to friends' cities. My Empire rewards daily visits by giving coins as 'rewards for trading'.

- Tax Collection. My Empire has a tax colelction function with 4 options (too little in my opinion) of 5 minutes, 4 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours. Other than the 5 minutes option, it costs coins to hire the tax collector. Of course, the tax collected is related to the population size of the empire.
Note: Do remember to 'collect' the tax after the stated hours. The game will allow for a grace period of equal hours (e.g. 4 hours grace for the 4 hours tax collection), failing which the tax will be stolen, i.e. player loses both the tax collection as well as initial coin payment for tax collector.

- Traveling merchants. Occasionally when the player visits other friends, there will be a 'Traveling Merchant' who can reward the player with resources or coins when the player click on the icon. More about this 'Traveling Merchant' at the end of this post.

Game Mechanics - Building
Since the game is about building of an empire, it is only natural to have many building options. My Empire offers 4 types of buildings, 'Functional', 'Happiness', 'Decorations' and 'Wonders'.

Functional includes the basic housing and mines, and they provide essentials for the game, including population gains and the resources (e.g. wood, ores etc). With higher levels, more elaborated buildings can be built, that provides more housing space and happiness for example.

'Happiness' tab has the more interesting buildings like storage, farms etc. The buildings from this tab provide more happiness, which are essential for the empire. The 'Decorations' has smaller items like animals, flags, flowers etc to beautify the empire. Last but least of all are the Wonders. This allows the players to construct the pyramid, Stonehenge and such, i.e. the old Wonders of the ancient world.

All buildings are constructed using coins or Playfish cash, and some will require additional resources, e.g. gold ores, red bricks etc from the different mines.

The building of the Wonders require a lot of help from friends. Each of the wonder has an additional material that cannot be obtained from the mines, e.g. sulphur, diamonds, tar etc. Thus the player will need to receive such materials as 'gifts' from friends. Thus My Empire basically encourage players to add more friends so as to short cut the building of the wonders. The effort is worth it, since the wonders conferred a lot of happiness for the empire's population.

At the gifting option, it is not difficult to see which of the materials are needed for which wonder. However, the tricky part is that the player needs to know which wonders are being built by his friends or he could be sending the wrong materials. This also requires more effort to activate the gift sending options multiple times (for different wonders built by different friends). Quite troublesome I must say. The gifts could be sent only once a day to the other friends.

Game Mechanics - Research
My Empire also allow for alchemy research when the player reaches higher level. This simply means the mines can provide for more variety of materials to be obtained each day. Nope, each mine type still provides only 1 material per 24 hours. Research option will indicate what type of research is possible, and yes, unlocking of research will require a lot of coins.

Research also allow for enhancement of the market and townhall. This means more coins can be earned by trading between friends and the daily log in.

Game Mechanics - Other Notes
A small note for players of My Empire is that during each daily visit to friends, the player might come across an emoticon of traders with camels (e.g. in the picture below) and a small exclamation mark. Do remember to click on it!

Clicking on the icon means the player will get a chance to earn something more, quite likely additional resources, or sometimes merely coins. Unfortunately this 'trader / camel' icon of the 'Traveling Merchant' seems to appear only once a day and thus there is only a limit to the additional freebies.

Overall My Empire is a nice game, but somehow it is not as attractive as Restaurant City or the Hotel City developed by Playfish. Perhaps the amount of animation for the empire is not sufficient enough to make it interesting as yet. Gamers might already be spoilt by the wide variety of animations found in the PC based empire building games.

Of course, Playfish has announced that there will be new developments for My Empire, including teasers about visits to other islands not owned by the friends of the player. We will see how it develops.

See related post:
- Playfish: My Empire - Volcano Island, Barracks & Soldiers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playfish's Hotel City - New York & Night View Background

The Background feature for Hotel City is finally out! Well it is not that easy to get these new beautiful background (of course) and some efforts from friends will be necessary to complete the items needed for each of the background.

The New York background has more requirements compared to the Night View background. For both, the items (also known as luxuries) could be obtained (once a day) from visiting a friend where a shopping bag icon is placed against the friend's avatar. A second way is for friends to send you the required items. Of course, there is always a way to meet these new requirements by using (and paying) for Playfish cash. It cost about 50-60+ Playfish cash to get the background.

Is it worth it to get the new background given all these efforts? Yes I certainly think so. Take a look at the New York background (seen from the Bell boy hotel) and I will say this is a much welcomed alternative to the original one.

So yes to those who are working hard to get the required items, all the best for your efforts! After the New York and Night View backgrounds (33 & 25 luxuries required respectively), Playfish will likely release the San Francisco background.

There is some level of satisfaction to see the required items being completeted, and I guess that adds a needed level of re freshness to a somewhat routine gameplay.

So do help out other players to get their luxuries and in return those who help out will also have luxuries from Hotel City.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Restaurant City - Sushi Bar

The Sushi Bar of Restaurant City is old news, but heh I just managed to get my Sushi Bar! The Sushi Bar is free, but the player will need to level up the salmon sashimi to level 10 before it is made available. I'm not sure why is it called Sushi Bar when it is more commonly known as Sushi Belt?

With the Sushi Bar, two diners can eat (standing) at the bar and earn coins for the player, i.e. no need for waiter or cook. However, the dishes displayed are those Japanese dishes with level 10, and thus it will be a long way to go before my Sushi Bar is filled with the dishes.

So here's how the Sushi Bar looks like. I'm placing it in the garden for an outdoor sushi experience. The Sushi Bar has the additional function for the player to check on the level of the various dishes that can be placed on the Sushi Bar.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Restaurant City is now 24 Hours!

Restaurant City is now 'open' for 24 hours! Well that simply means the 'workers' in the Restaurant City can operate in 24 hours shift rather than the original 4 hours slot. That is a very useful change, since there is now less need to keep tab on the shift every few hours.

There are actually a number of 'options' to choose from, i.e. in similar fashion with Hotel City where the longer shifts cost more. This is qutie different from the original version where workers 'work' for free. The 30 mins shift is still free, and the actual 24 hours shift can only be unlocked with the player submitting the email address.

For players who gave their email addresses, the Restaurant City will reward them with a new stove design! - Pocketwatch Stove.

Another innovation is the use of a '1 click' step to operate the restaurant, i.e. no more employee by employee switching of roles and rest. For a start, the plyer will need to assign roles to each of the employee.

Well, if you feel that the Restaurant City now requires more coins, the good news is that the game rewards players with more coins too! The slot machines and the trees (when shaken) give more coins.

I am actually glad that Playfish introduces more changes and new look & feel to the game (other than new dishes), since Restaurant City has become somewhat stale of late. Good work Playfish!
For those who select shifts, there will also be this reward!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Playfish: Hotel City - New City Scape & Exterior Deco

A hotel needs to be set against a nice backdrop of city scape, and the hotel will look especially nice at night with all the city lights. So that is what Playfish's Hotel City is going to do - introduce the 'New Locations - New Background'. So Hotel City players can now select their favourite city backdrop. I wonder what backdrops will be available - sea side resort, neon night life, mountainous scenery ... or?

For a start Hotel City already introduced exterior decorations, i.e. decorations now just for the rooms but for the exterior of the building as well. I guess that will merge closely with what the player select as the background for the city - for example, nice pine trees for the mountainous settings, or fountains / park chairs for a neon lightlife backdrop.

Oh well, I guess we will now in the coming week or so.
Note: The background feature is out! See the related post (link below)!

See related:
Playfish: Hotel City - New York & night View Background

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Playfish: Hotel City - Ghost in the Room! New feature

Over the past week, Hotel City has introduced more interactive features into the game to encourage players to stay longer per play.

Hotel City has allowed for a 'concierge' phone where the residents of the hotel can call up the players when they experience discomfort in the room, and such discomfort includes ghost!

Well the more mundane discomfort will be that the room is too hot, too cold, a fire breakout, and finally the ghost. I've not come across other concierge calls yet. It will be nice to introduce the request for food, cleaning ...etc.

By clicking on the room (the player got to first find the affected room amidst the many many rooms), there will be coins provided as rewards. This can happen to both the player's own hotels as well as the other friends' hotels.

I wonder what else will Hotel City introduce next to induce a longer stay in the game.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cafe World - Finally, The Super Stove & Spice Rack!

Finally I have the super stove in Cafe World, where the dish can be prepared via a single click! It was a rather tedious exercise, where everyday I need to keep an eye lookout for those Cafe World alerts in the Facebook that free parts are available.

All in all there were 40 parts to the super stove and yes I resorted to buying some parts. Actually it wasn't that big a deal to cook a dish via a single click. It saves some time which is true, but given that I have many other normal stoves, I'll still be spending a lot of time clicking on the normal stoves for cooking. Oh well, just for the novelty of having a super stove I guess.

For those who want to have more than 1 super stove, Cafe World has the option where the player needs to buy a new stove frame, and repeat the entire process of accumulating the different stove parts again. Nope, 1 is enough for me.

Once the super stove is completed, the player need to retrieve it from the storage, and the super stove does count towards the existing stove limit, i.e. it is nto a loophole to get more stoves.

Actually, I think the spice rack (introduced earlier) is much more useful since it allows the player to use spice and accelerate the cooking time, or to 'cure' spoiled dishes. The parts to the spice racks are easier to get, but yupz I spent 1 Cafe World dollar on the racks as well.

I'm not sure what other new gimmicks will be introduced in Cafe World, but hopefully the new gimmicks will nto require as much tedious accumulation of parts again.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Playfish New Game - Hotel City

Playfish has launched a new social game centering around hotel management during mid-March - Hotel City. Not sureif this will be a big hit, but so far the various reviews seem positive, other than the occasional complains about software bugs. The graphics are typical Playfish graphics (which are nice of course) and I personally like the background music.

The game has a great tutorial. First the player starts off with about 50800 coins to buy various rooms and items. The hotel could be expanded (later as a leveling reward) and more rooms of various nature added.

The gameplay is intuitive and players could get more coins once a day by visiting other players. Coins could also be earned by clikcing on sleeping hotel guests. A bit weird, but that provides some in-game activity.

Playfish has also recently introduced a 'reviewer' feature. Randomly there will be some hotel guests who are actually hotel reviewers in the Hotel City. If the player clicks on them, the player has the additional option to share review stars with friends (and of course keep one for themselves). These stars are very good decorative items that help to boost the ratings for the rooms.

Players could also sign-on as helpers in other players' hotels and that would yield more coins (as tips) per day.

Of course, once the player levels, more coins and game options will be made available. Getting thru to level 8 is easy and could be done within 1-2 days. Beyond these initial levels, the player has to carefully managed a combination of guest rooms and recreational rooms.

There are many recreational rooms (which are made available at different levels), including gym, cafe, bar, cinema, and even a swimming pool. Each recreational room can allow for more guests and the staying time in each room is different. So it takes come maths to calculate which rooms can yields more coins and points.

Hotel City attracts more game play by offering coins, but it also penalises lack of game play by introducing roaches into the hotel when the hotel is not operational for some time. In order to keep the hotel operational, the player could click on different shift timing for the hotel staff. In general, the longer hours mean more coins paid per hour, and the temp staff cost more than 'friends' hired for the Hotel City.

Hotel City hotels are rated by stars, and these stars improved based on a few factors. Stars are gained when the players properly decorate each guest room, and also introduced other commercial rooms (e.g. gyms, cafe, cinema) for the hotel guests. The guests would occasionally indicate what features they want for the hotel Nonetheless, Hotel City also prompt the players by a message that appears beside the stars rating.

Overall the Hotel City is a nice game to play. Since the game is still in beta version there are bound to be bugs. One particularly irritating bug is that when a player clicks on other rewards before receiving his full hotel points (and coins) for the day, the rewards will supercede the hotel points gained, i.e. the player loses his hotel points for the day.

Hopefully Playfish can sort out some of these bugs soon, and perhaps introduce more new features, say more variety of music for the hotels?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Farmville Addicts

It is interesting how the mainstream media treats games nowadays. On one hand they published articles about games addiction, including one where a politician was sacked from the city council committee for playing farmville while attending budget meeting; and on the other hand the media published articles about celebrities playing the same game.

Yes the game in question is farmville, and here's the extract from the article about the sacked politician: politician, Dimitar Kerin, was yet again nabbed tending to his online crop.

Kerin was promptly voted off the council committee for playing FarmVille on the job.

The other article focusing on celebrities had quotes from both local and foreign celebs, including Bryan Wong and Shu Qi, which gave the impression that it is alright to be addicted to the game.

Oh well, this is yet another example of how social games are changing our landscape, for both professional workspace as well as leisure purposes. With the arrival of the iPad where people could enjoy their social games on even larger (and stylish) devices, I am sure there will be more reports of games addiction.

Nope I was never addicted to Farmville, perhaps Restaurant City or Cafe World yes, but not Farmville. Lolz.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warstorm - Simple Guide & Review

I was enticed to play Warstorm (by Challenge Games) when I saw a friend's Facebook meesage about giving away free cards. Well it has been suite some time since I last played a card game and so I decided to give it a try.

The experience is not too bad if you have time to spare and are interested in such TCG (Trading Card Games) - like activity. Basically the game play of WarStorm involves assembling of cards comprising of a Hero card and unit cards. The Hero card has restrictions and may allow the player to include a Spell card or artifact / item card. These unique characteristics are reflected in the upper right corner of the Hero card (no. of units, artifact, and spell respectively). A total of 6 cards (other than Hero card) is allowed for each Squad.

The Heroes are formed from many different races, including Human (the 1st card you have is a Human race card), Elf, Orc, Undead etc. When a new squad is formed, there will be 1 Hero with unit cards associated with the Hero's race. The race is indicated at the upper left corner of the Hero card.

After the 1st squad is assembled, voila the player can start the battles! At the tutorial section, the player will be introduced to the various special abilities of the different cards, e.g. regenerate means the unit can recover health points at the end of its turn. There are many abilities, and counter abilities. For example, a unit with Sap ability (reduce opponent's attack) can be used against opposing cards with Frenzy ability (increased attack). Drainbolt can recover the unit's health when the unit causes damage etc etc.

At the bottom of the battle scene in Warstorm UI, the player can opt to increase the speed of the game. This is particularly useful once the player has the hang of the game mechanics. There is seriously no need to observe how each card is drawn slowly, and wait for the animation.

Each day that the player owns some territories, the player will earn 'silver'. These silver can be used to buy more cards. The Shop tab has a couple of options, including buying small packs of 3 random cards, or 6 random cards. There are also pre-packed bundle with characteristics of the cards stated clearly. Of course, every day there will be single cards for sale and some of these cards can only be bought with 'gold'. Gold coins are bought with real life cash (well the game developers also need to eat right?).

There are other ways to earn cards, and one such way is to log in consistently everyday for 5 days. With that achieved, the game will give the player an 'Expert pack' with 6 random cards. Quite useful actually for the beginning player since it is really tough for the player before they assembled their ideal Squads.

As part of inducting the players into the game, there are special scenarios / territory fights where the players will be asked to 'conquer' territory. Often each fight is accompanied with a storyline. The storyline is not particularly exciting, nor is the story closely linked to the cards. However, it is nice to have some background to each activity rather than plain fighting.

When there are many squads formed, the player can assembled Defensive Positions, which will be Squads to defend against other players / friends' attack. Want to show off how good your Squads are compared to your friends? Atttack their Defensive Positions and boast of the victory!

Well, with the above knowledge, it is sufficient to start playing Warstorm. It is sort of satisfying to level up although I don't really see the exact benefits given with each level.

Some simple tips: Keep fighting and complete the daily quests to get silver. Silver is especially essential for the beginning player since the units you get as default will be weak. You need the silver to buy Expert packs with better cards. If you can have more silver, do go for the pre-packed decks since some of them give pretty decent Artifact / Spell cards. The option to fight other players with rewards of 1,000 silver is useful.

2nd tip: Observe the card play (use the high speed). When the enemy uses powerful cards that require high number of turns to activate, try using simple decks with 2 turns activation in order to win the fight quickly. Simple trick but it works!

3rd tip: Try different combination of Squads that complement each other. For example, use deck with protection (Earthworks, Protection 2 to Infantry, Immune) that works also for other Squads (i.e. more infantry units respectively for Earthwork).