Today we got hands-on with Beeline’s new Farmville-esque game based on the Peanuts cartoon series…
I was skeptical before playing this that it would be a cheap cash-in, using the Snoopy name in vein. However, after playing it I can tell you that it is a surprisingly fun and deep experience, with plenty to see and do within the Peanuts world.
The objective of the game is to help Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of Peanuts gang build a street fair. Thankfully the game hasn’t tried to recreate the characters in 3D, and instead opts for the classic hand-drawn look of the original cartoons. The world itself is presented in isometric, allowing the character sprites to move around in quasi-3D, and for you to get a clearer picture of what’s going on.
To start with you only have a partial area of the town to play in, with parts of it cordoned off by obstacles. After levelling up your XP you will eventually be given the opportunity to remove the obstacles by completing a task. For example, one obstacle is a tree which is home to a hive of aggressive bees.. in order to pass it you’ll need to hire a pest control guy. Only then will you be able expand the game world.
To earn XP and progress through the game, you need to set up stalls and earn money. Peppermint Patty is on hand to let you know what to do (i.e. boss poor Charlie around). She gives you instructions via a telephone booth. Here you can find out the next objective and access a menu of stalls, items and trinkets in which to place in the world. A lemonade stall is one of the first small business you’ll set up, and soon kids from the neighbourhood will line up and hand over their money for lemonade. Stalls are managed by the main character, such as Linus’s Pumpkin stand, Lucy’s Psychiatric Help stall, and of course Sally’s Lemonade stall.
While the rest of the gang is busy with their stalls, Snoopy on the other hand can be seen wandering the streets causing mischief. You can tap him to interact with certain objects, such as pouncing on a pile of leaves, or he’ll whip out his easel and start painting. What he does depends on which costume Snoopy is wearing. In the case of his Beagle Scout costume he’ll march a around the town, with his Woodstock scout troop in tow. You can simply tap on him and any other characters to get a range of animated sequences, such as Snoopy blowing raspberries, or even Charlie Himself offering up his usual dry observations. These all feature authentic voices and sounds from the cartoon.
Costumes also unlock themed mini-games. We tried out few of these, including a Cookin’ Mama-like lemonade making game, which required you to squeeze lemons to fill a jug within the time limit, all the while fending off a nasty Wasp with a fly swat. A marshmallow mini game requires you manage six marshmallows on sticks around a camp fire, with you having to turn them at the right time in order for them to be perfectly toasted and not burned… it was actually kinda hard.
Besides the tonne of stalls, chores and buying items to place in your town. There are also many collectables to gather. A cool feature, especially for die hard fans, are the 45 original cartoon strips you can collect and read at full screen on your iPad or iPhone. E-cards are also available to collect, themed to thanksgiving, halloween and valentines day… Plus, you can visit the photo-booth stand in the game, and take real photos with preset posed characters and send those as e-cards too.
Online social features are included, and like Animal Crossing, you can invite friends into your town and interact with your stalls. There are also 27 trading cards to collect and share online.
The game is freemium, but unlike many games of this type, it does not lock you out of the game after a set time and request payment. You can play this completely free at your own pace if you like. Of course, for those of you who easily grow impatient you can purchase in game credits with real money to speed up the process of buying items to use in the game and build your fair quicker.
I was impressed with what I played, it’s not going to appeal to hardcore action fans of course, but casual gamers and fans of the Peanuts world will no doubt sink hours and hours into it… My wife certainly will! Look out for Snoopy’s Street Fair to hit the AppStore as a universal app on November 17. In the meantime check out this trailer of the game action.