Thursday, November 08, 2012

Oz goes Social

I tend to stay away from Facebook games, however, a few get me, but only if they're based on stuff I care about.

SO, there's a game based on the MGM film The Wizard of Oz. It uses some nicely done 3D recreations of the places and characters along with film clips and vocal imitations of the film's cast (though the Dorothy voice leaves a little to be desired).

The game focuses on Munchkinland and the Yellow Brick Road. The tiny Munchkin town you land in starts off with only four little huts and the beginning of the Yellow Brick Road.

The Yellow Brick Road is incomplete, so you need bricks to finish it. To get bricks, you make them. To make bricks, you need ore, which must be mined. To do this, you set up factories that the Munchkins will work. To keep the Munchkins happy, you can build more homes, shops, restaurants, and a grain mill to keep a food supply ready. In addition, you can control Munchkins who can chop down trees and mine rocks for more wood and ore, and an easy to control fishing game to earn more food.

When you've made enough bricks to complete a new section of the Road, you can head down it and get a series of bonuses and mini-games. Additional items can also be made by "Ozifying" with Professor Levram (clearly Professor Marvel). You can also pick up shards of Glinda's old wand and summon her when you get five of them.

From time to time, the Wicked Witch of the West pops up and has her Winged Monkeys attack. You fend them off from damaging your buildings by clicking on them.

There's also a social element to the game. You can connect with Facebook friends playing the game by adding them as neighbors and helping in their own "Munchkinland." They can also staff buildings like Town Hall, the Bank, the Lollipop Guild and the Lullaby League. You can also send them items and other things they might need, probably the Ozziest aspect of the game.

What you can do is limited by energy. Most actions take up one unit of it, then it takes about four minutes (or a power-up) to recover a point. You get a higher energy level each time you level up. Possibly the wait time to replenish energy goes down with each level up, but in my time playing, it hasn't gone down noticeably, if at all.

There are also quests you can do that will reward you with more coins, energy, and items once completed.

You can also use Facebook credits (bought with real money) or do offers to earn Emeralds which can unlock or purchase items you couldn't without them. Emeralds can also be acquired without a purchase, but you'll get them slowly. Of course, this is one of the ways the developers intend to make a profit from the game, so if you really enjoy the game, you might consider an occasional purchase to show appreciation.

The game is, of course, based on the film and generally ignores the book, but I did get a surprise when Professor Levram mentions a hy-po-gy-raf, and a trivia question on the Yellow Brick Road asks what color Dorothy's shoes were in the book.

Overall, the game seems to owe origins to Sim City, but the bonus games and actual interaction take it to another level. Facebook games are usually pretty simple, so there's not much else to this that I've discovered yet.

Still, I've yet to get to the Scarecrow. Will he join Dorothy in Munchkinland or just be along the Yellow Brick Road? There's likely more to discover as you keep playing.

Play The Wizard of Oz on Facebook.

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