When is an Adventure not an Adventure?

When it’s Adventure World by Zynga.

Zynga’s latest game, Adventure World, is a step away from their tried and tested Ville series, perhaps in a bid to attract the more traditional gamer.

Unfortunately, they’ve made so many terrible and bizarre design decisions that I can’t imagine that any traditional gamers will take to the game.

Adventure World is set up to be a game of exploration and discovery, but in fact it’s incredibly linear and excessively restrictive. Ironically, Zynga’s previous games such as FarmVille and CityVille offer far more freedom to the player.

Not only does every action cost energy but to progress through the game you need to complete expeditions which must be completed within a set time, otherwise you’ll be forced to restart them or spend real money to buy more time.

I’ve only been playing for a few days but already I’ve reached an expedition that must be completed within four hours of starting. This doesn’t sound too bad but when you consider that you’ll burn through all your energy clearing bushes and disabling traps within five minutes it’s an extremely frustrating experience. Especially when your energy only replenishes at a rate of one every eight minutes.

Speaking of this four hour expedition, if a player has reached level 12 and they haven’t spent any money on additional energy, they’ll have 30 maximum energy. The fastest route through this level, completing each quest to it’s minimum requirement, will consume 49 energy. Remembering that you replenish energy at a rate of one every eight minutes, this means that it will take two hours and thirty two minutes to get the required energy to complete the expedition. Assuming they start it with maximum energy.

Essentially you have a window of one hour and twenty eight minutes to return to the game. Anything less than that and you won’t have enough energy to finish and anything longer will mean that the expedition will end and you’ll have wasted energy and resources.

To top it all off, Zynga have recently announced that from next month, Adventure World will become an official Indiana Jones game. The Indy I remember wouldn’t need eight minutes rest so that he could press a button to disarm a trap. And then need another eight minutes to rest so that he could pick up a jade vase.

I’m sure the giant rolling boulder will understand and kindly wait for our hero to have a quick power nap in Zynga’s imagining of the Indiana Jones universe though.

About Adam

Games designer, Newcastle fan and prolific tea drinker
This entry was posted in Design Discussion, Social Games, Zynga. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When is an Adventure not an Adventure?

  1. ninjadick says:

    I agree AW is a snoozer, basically more of Frontierville and Cityville – but in fairness, Zzzynga’s whole schtick is designing games strongly encouraging, and often outright requiring, social interaction. So pick up extra energy by visiting friend’s camps, exchange energy gifts with friends, and recruit friends as “crew” on each adventure.

    • Adam says:

      While you can get additional energy by visiting and gifting friends you still need to have those friends in the first place.
      I don’t know what the average number of neighbours is for Zynga players but as I work in Social Games I’d imagine that I find it easier to recruit friends than most. I was able to recruit everyone in the office and a couple of others but I still didn’t feel that was enough people to make the game fun.
      Perhaps if it was designed in such a way that you could complete an entire expedition in one sitting without the need for friends it would be better. That way the player could still recruit friends during that expedition but finish with energy left over, which they could use to start another expedition or tidy up their camp

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