Gameforge Launches Safari-Meets-Farming Game on Facebook

It goes without saying, that Facebook users enjoy the whole farming concept that has seeped its way into the core of most social games. To that end, developers have had to find ways to make the concept feel fresh and new. Well, one of these ways has been to change the overall feel of the games, such as tropical island farming. However, German company Gameforge is going a different route and taking all that land tilling to Africa in its new app, Funfari.

Once they’ve been whisked away to the nearest savanna, players are tasked with the creation of a sort of wildlife preserve within the African setting. In order to fund your preserve, you do the typical farming chores: Plow land, plant crop, water crop, harvest, plant tree, harvest tree…. You know the drill. If you don’t like doing that sort of activity in general, then you probably won’t enjoy it here.

Funfari does make up for it with the other major half of the game, decorative virtual spaces. Yes, yes, everyone and their mother has these nowadays, but the fact is they enjoy it, and the potential decorations in this app are phenomenal.

Décor is two-fold: Static stuff, and animals. The static elements consist of everything from simple rocks to elaborate buildings, but here’s the deal: There are a ton of items to choose from, and frankly more than most new games of this ilk. It usually takes a few updates to build up such a selection, which basically means that you can create extraordinarily intricate preserves that look distinct from anyone else’s. Oh, and that’s before you buy animals.

Currently, there are 26 different animals you can buy, ranging from cheap parrots to exotic pandas. Unfortunately, they don’t roam around your preserve. But they do animate, carry the typical animal characteristics of their species, and even earn you some extra cash now and then.

This is where a slightly different nuance comes into play, literally. Every couple of hours, users have to feed their animal buddies. Okay, so that’s not too original, but periodically, they can become bored and you have to “play” with them. While this keeps them happy, it also decreases the time until they need to be fed next, which, in turn, allows the player to progress, level-wise, a bit faster.

As you’d expect, this is prudent as level requirements must be met in order to purchase the bigger and better animals and décor. Sadly, however, leveling is still a bit slow, and there aren’t many fun animals to buy – besides the parrot – at the early stages in the game. Thankfully, Gameforge throws players a small bone by tossing you a lion (which requires level 66) right from the start. Of course, it is a little unnerving to have it leer at you with a food thought bubble hovering over its head as soon as you start the game up.

Overall, the look and feel of Funfari is fantastic as well. It has this sort of Lion King feel to it, and the colors are wonderfully vibrant and artwork fantastically well done. Curiously enough, even the music plays a great role in the creation of that mood, even if it is a bit over the top. Basically, it has a Lion King meets Chronicles of Narnia sort of sound to it. It’s oddly epic for a farming game. Nevertheless, and even though it will eventually get muted for most people, it is nice while it lasts.

If there were any negatives to be had with Gameforge’s latest title, it’s really that the game is a tired concept that’s been given a new coat of paint. Despite the fact that it looks good, and provides users with a new palette to create with, the essense of the title is something that most players have done before. If you’re looking for something fresh and new as far as design goes, that’s not something that is going to be found here. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a new area to expand your agricultural skills into, then Funfari might be the app for you. Just… make sure to feed the lions.

Publish date: April 15, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT