Aug 26, 2009

[Facebook Apps] Mafia Wars

Mafia WarsIn my efforts to try and build up my Wired Wednesdays, I'm trying my hand at reviewing Facebook applications.

I have to admit that in terms of Facebook Apps, I mostly stick to games. I mean seriously, I don't need more productive apps since I have those built into other services I have or perhaps within my Firefox installation. Of course this can't be all that bad - there are a LOT of pretty good games on Facebook these days that make it a robust gaming platform in its own right. No wonder most offices don't allow access to the site, hehe.

As a first venture, what better app to feature than one of the most popular ones around?

Mafia Wars has pretty much become the flagship browser game for Zynga these days. Let's face it - with over 5,000,000 players, it's a pretty strong game by anyone's standards.

Mafia Wars follows what has become pretty much the standard format for many Facebook games but within the mafia / mobster theme. Here you take missions to earn money, loot and of course experience, which you'll need to reach higher levels. The social aspect of the game comes in when it comes to each player's "mafia", which consists of invited friends who also play the game. The larger your mafia, the stronger you could potentially be. Add in the extra balance element of a variety of weapons, upgrades and vehicles and you can create a pretty robust player.

Facebook Mafia WarsImage by billynom (Hates Marmite) via Flickr

I like the game since it plays on the limitations of Facebook (or other social networks like MySpace) as a primary platform. Since people are not on the site 100% (I hope), the main limitations of the game are time-based such that you earn energy and eventually money based on a variety of timers. Thus there's no benefit in playing straight throughout the day - you really have to leave the app and wait for more energy to be regenerated.

What I like most about this game in contrast to other Zynga offerings that follow the same style is how they've chosen to deal with the conundrum of the importance of friends. In most other Zynga games or other games of this nature, normally even the jobs / missions you take require increasing numbers of friends as a prerequisite before you take the subsequent missions. Zynga didn't follow that model this time around (I've seen it in Space Wars) and thus one can continually play the game and reach higher and higher levels without needing to resort to desperate friend-recruiting.

Even playing style plays a bit of a factor based on your initial character. You could be just an independent busy bee who wants to do jobs all day and not be too aggressive. Others still can choose to defeat as many other players as possible in order to advance. Ultimately the playing style and strategy is up to you.

I can see why not everyone likes the game. It can get a bit repetitive as you take more and more missions and there are those moments of frustration when you need to continually repeat older missions in search of particular loot items that you'll need in order to execute later tasks.

The recent addition of the option to fly to Cuba and take missions there has been rather refreshing - certainly a nice touch on the side of the developers in terms of their continued efforts to keep the game fresh and interesting. They've tweaked the game options a bit such as having businesses instead of money farms like restaurants and businesses in terms of the NY side of things. You really need to try it to find out.

Mafia Wars remains to be one of my favorite time-wasting Facebook Apps and it gets 4 Tommy guns out of a possible 5.

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1 comment:

  1. I love Mafia Wars as well.

    And I play it not just in Facebook but also in Tagged.

    Zynga beta tests the games in Facebook before releasing it in Tagged. The Lotto game, the new fight interface, War, re-vaulting and boosts have recently been introduced in Mafia Facebook. These features would most likely be introduced in Tagged in a few months or so. They only just recently added Cuba.

    Have a great day!