It’s a free Live game!
Only it isn’t, not really. It’s a ‘free’ game in the same way that Farmville and countless other Facebook titles are ‘free’ – that is to say that you don’t have to pay to play the game, but you won’t get very far without doing so. For anyone familiar with the types of game I’m talking about, what I’m about to describe won’t come as a surprise, but this is how the game works:
You’re given a small amount of materials for constructing items – buildings for your ‘bug village’. You’re also given a tiny amount of coins. These coins are used to pay for special objects, and to hurry actions up. Something you’ll want to do a lot, as even the most basic action takes a long time – the average building takes an hour to construct. A bug can collect a small amount of materials from a pile (which you have to pay materials to construct) in fifteen minutes, while more significant quantities take either two or six hours. Presented with activity times of this length you’ll quickly find yourself reaching for the ‘hurry’ button in order to get anything done.
This is further encouraged by the fact that your bugs operate on a consistently depleting energy bar, replenished only by feeding them – which, of course, costs you materials. Let them run out of energy and they stop working – and worse, any materials they’d collected (which you have to click on to add to your stores) immediately disappear. As such, it can be necessary to speed up actions in order to get your materials in time to feed your bugs so they can continue to harvest materials – it’s a never-ending slog, and one fuelled by coins.
Coins which can only be replenished by paying money – real money, through the Marketplace. Developer Glu’s scheme for making money is plain to see, and far from new – this is, as I already mentioned, a system commonly seen in many of the games cluttering Facebook. And it is, quite frankly, a cynical, insidious system of monetization, relying on a simple feedback loop to ensure people keep playing and, more importantly, paying. The aim isn’t so much to create a game that you want to do your best to succeed, but rather one where it feels like you’re a failure if you don’t pay it regular enough attention. It’s a case of carrot and stick, only the carrot has been removed from the equation, replaced simply by an absence of stick.
Even the simple pleasure of seeing your ‘village’ grow is neutered by the simple fact that this is an ugly game. In the place of the simple, attractive 2D imagery that helped make Farmville an appealing title, Bug Village has a collection of bland polygonal constructs: the eponymous bugs lack any character or charm, furnished with only the most basic animation routines, and just seem to clutter the place up, while the buildings you can place somehow manage to be even less attractive. Perhaps insects aren’t the easiest creatures to make charming, but then 1994′s Battle Bugs managed to do much more with far less technology behind it, so…
In short, Bug Village isn’t just an example of an unpleasant, cynical genre designed to drag people in and extract money from them through our natural desire to succeed and nurture our creations; it is a poor example of that genre. It may ostensibly be free, but I find nothing to recommend here. A waste of your time and bandwidth.
Bug Village xBox Live Achievements
- Acorn Ace (20 points): Collect 300,000 acorns.
- Bug Breeder (15 points): Attract 20 bugs in the village.
- Ding! (20 points): Reach level 25.
- Lady Helper (10 points): Help 100 Ladybugs.
- Bug Tapper (5 points): Tap 25 bugs.
- Air Freshener (10 points): Get rid of 100 Stinky Bugs.
- Great Decorator (20 points): Place 50 decorations.
Bug Village Gameplay Video
Bug Village Screenshots
Version Under Review : 184.108.40.206
Bug Village is a FREE game for Windows Phone 7
Our Rating for Bug Village
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