Tanadu, a new game by GameDesire, was released this week and is one of a growing wave of games that are attempting to bring the Civilization and Warcraft models to Facebook. The game is a strategy game where you build a city, build an army and complete tasks in order to build currency and expand your empire. There are a few missteps and some innovative features, but overall the game has a ways to go.
You start Tanadu by choosing between Humans, Elves and Orcs (can’t fantasy games come up with any other races?) and then building your first city. The first thing you’ll probably note is that the user interface can be quite confusing. There’s a decent tutorial but once you’ve got your city running the problem is that it’s difficult to determine what to do first. The graphics on the land are great, with little birds chirping along, which made me wonder if the game was going to be closer to Warcraft than Civilization, and 10 minutes later I still didn’t have an answer. I was able to buy a unit, but all I could do was throw them into the arena to battle others. The game needs to explain how to get started on missions.
However, once you do get started on the missions, you find the appeal of the game. You browse the map for resource points like mines and other cities, and you assign armies there. Then, in Mafia Wars style, it takes something like 10 minutes for a quest to complete, and in that time you ideally use another army to do another task, take a break, then come back. The whole thing is very Skinner’s Box, but that applies to most Facebook games. In any case, give the game a shot and see if it’s something you’re interested in. There are a lot of cool quests and a lot of room for growth, and in fact the social elements in this game are surprisingly good. You can comment on other people’s journals and interact with other players in your world in real time. Check it out here.