A disclaimer that you should read before reading this: I refuse to be sucked into the world of Farmville; therefore, I have never played the game, I hear, has strapped down almost the entire population of Facebook. So with that said, let’s move on to We Rule.
Ngmoco recently released We Rule for the iPhone and iPod Touch, a game similar to Tap Farm and other farm tycoon games made popular by Zynga’s Farmville on Facebook. While it didn’t receive as much hype as Eliminate, an online first-person shooter, it was said to be the first freemium game from ngmoco to use the DLC model correctly (along with God Finger, not available in the US yet).
So I thought to myself, “Ehh, I’ll give this a shot.” So I opened the App Store on my iPhone, installed the application, and launched a Farmville-esque game for the first time in my entire life. And with that said, I was disappointed with the game and had fun with the game at the same time.
Here’s what had me frustrated: the online connection problems. This thing is unable to connect to the server 1 out of every 2 times I fire up the game (50% for you percentage-oriented people), and of course like anyone, I got frustrated. WiFi or 3G, doesn’t matter, it doesn’t connect to the server very well. I was a bit enlightened though when they gave me 10 free mojo (things that make your plants grow instantly), saying sorry for all the server problems. But still, the problem persists.
So moving on from server issues, I noticed that placing houses and objects was quite difficult for me, and the imaginary castle guards inside my kingdom castle seemed to scream, “WE NEED A GRID!!!” And when I mean scream, I mean turned up the volume to 11. Placing objects is so tricky, especially when you’re trying to place your petunias so precisely right next to each other, and it does start to get frustrating once the objects start refusing to go to the places you want it to go.
But still I was merciful with these problems and persevered and played through this horrendous mess, ultimately finding a bit of gold among the muck. The freemium model works here, and the mojo isn’t necessary for your survival. Here’s why:
- You receive 5 mojo for every time you level up.
- Free mojo from downloading apps and such.
- Plants will grow on their own, it just takes some time.
If you still don’t get it, here’s a simpler explanation: mojo is extra. Buying mojo is totally extra, and even if you buy it, it doesn’t exactly help so much that you become the most powerful person in the We Rule world. I thought ngmoco did a good job of finally stabilizing a once shaky DLC model, and freemium may actually be a good thing for the App Store and the iPhone gaming market.
So with all that said and done, what are my final thoughts on We Rule? It’s a game that has potential. I liked it, I’m still playing it to this day, and I’m used to being patient with the server. I haven’t paid one penny for any mojo within the game, and I’m still prospering (somewhat) within my little group of friends.
I think that once ngmoco fixes ALL of the server issues and slight bugs within We Rule, it could become for the iPhone as Farmville was for Facebook. It’s definitely got potential; execution just needs a bit of work. I think ngmoco is starting to redeem itself in my eyes, and We Rule is just ngmoco’s first step to proving itself as a good, iPhone game developing company.