Social games are a new trend in this ever-changing world but Facebook gave a new meaning to these games. In the simplest terms a social game can be defined as, “A social game is the one that is most fun when you play with your friends”. In fact I believe that true social games are those that cannot be played alone.
Social games exploded like a bomb in 2010 with the launch of the Facebook platform and a new era of social gaming started. “Zynga” is undoubtedly the most successful developer of social games on Facebook. They launched games that took the audience by storm and within days they gathered millions of people around them. This new breed of social gamers included those who had never played a computer game in their lives. They included fathers, mothers, housewives, office workers, students and even grand-parents. Games like FarmVille, PetVille, Mafia Wars, FishVille, Treasure Isle, CityVille, etc are some of the examples of Zynga games.
While Zynga was improving their own records daily, there were other game developers that were striving to get a foot hold in the social gaming arena. “Digital Madhouse Studios” is one such company, who has launched a couple of successful games like The Burbs and Xeno World.
As far as I remember “Sim City” is one of the earliest and the most famous games in which you are tasked to build an energetic and vivacious city with all the pre-requisites of a big city including houses, community buildings, business houses, airports, parks, etc. With the increasing popularity of social games, a number of different games were launched on Facebook. Apart from CityVille and The Burbs, the list of such games included Social Empires, Kingdom Saga, Social City, etc.
In this blog post, I shall be comparing “CityVille” and “The Burbs” and see how they differ from each other. Here are some of the major differences in these games:-
- Popularity. The basic aim of social games is to bring people closer. These games are easier to play when you have more players in your community playing them. CityVille is more popular because of its relevance with Zynga and the reputation of the developer, while The Burbs is one of the initial games by Digital Madhouse Studios.
- Number of Players. CityVille is one of the most-played games on the planet these days and has more than 88 million active monthly users. On the other hand, The Burbs has only 61,062 monthly active players. It is a gigantic difference in terms of social gaming.
- In-Game Graphics. The game critics and players have always criticized The Burbs for its very complex graphics and dark color scheme. CityVille has a very light and soothing color design and simple graphics. One of the simplest examples can be an experience bonus. Whenever you collect money from a house or harvest a field, you get an experience bonus. In CityVille it is a simple light blue-colored star while in The Burbs it is a complex design. Similarly CityVille has light colored houses/ buildings which are appealing to the eyes, while The Burbs has dark colored houses/ buildings which definitely need improvement. However I like the steam coming out of the chimneys of the houses in The Burbs. You can see the designs of XP bonus and the colors of the houses in the following screen-shots:-
- Bugs and Issues. In order to get a great gaming experience, a smooth game play is very important. The Burbs players have always complained about the game going “Out of Sync”, which is not the case with CityVille. Although there are still some “Out of Sync” issues with The Burbs but I believe that the game has greatly improved from its initial launch, where there were uncountable such issues.
- In-Game Concepts. The Burbs needs some improvement in the concepts too. In the start of CityVille, a player finds himself with a house, a cottage and a railway station which can be accepted for a very small town even. However, while starting The Burbs, I found it very strange to have a huge airport in a town with one house only. I was even more flabbergasted when I saw three huge planes standing on the airport, while the town had a population of 40 individuals.
- Font Design. CityVille has a simple and clear font while The Burbs has a slightly weird font and even the messages written in All-Capitals are teasing for the eyes. Here are the screen-shots from both the games:-
- In-Game Experience. Moving your buildings and other items from one place to another is very easy in CityVille, but In “The Burbs”, when you plan to move an object, a “Move Pane” opens which makes it difficult in the beginning and you have to close it before moving ahead in the game.
- Overall Gaming Experience. More than 88 Million active players make CityVille an overall great gaming experience. It is supplemented by the simple fonts and soothing coloring schemes. I would easily grade CityVille as 4.8 out of 5. On the contrary, The Burbs cannot be graded more than 2 out of 5, because of all the complexities and “Out of Sync” issues and definitely needs improvement.
In short, CityVille is the top-of-the-line building game while “The Burbs” is an average game. It is very difficult to play it for a long time. The game does have some unique items/ decorations but generally it seems to be an amalgamation of CityVille and Social City. Any player would recommend CityVille to others but The Burbs still has to go a long way before it can challenge other social games online.