Namco Bandai sneak into Facebook with Treasure Abyss and City of Football

In the course of my work, I see a lot of Facebook ads. The majority are annoying links to games outside Facebook, which masquerade themselves as Facebook games. It does my head in, I don’t want to play non-Facebook games (at least from 9-6 every day). But today I saw the reverse… I saw an advert for a game by Namco Bandai. I thought I’d check it out, since I like a few Namco games (namely Tekken). It in fact turned out to be a Facebook game! Yep, Namco Bandai have entered social gaming and with no less than TWO games!

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“A social role-playing game where players band together to explore deadly dungeons full of monsters and traps in search of items and treasure needed to create powerful weapons”

Sounds pretty good right? As of yet, Treasure Abyss only has 7000 monthly active users which is pretty low for a game with a major publisher behind it. Since I spend all day on Facebook, it’s likely that the game has been released within the last couple of days at the latest. Even the great Gamezebo hasn’t had it listed yet, and that place is usually the first for everything Facebook game related. The game itself is pretty basic so far. You start in a dungeon and have a lantern to light the way. Every step you take burns down the candle in the lantern. You need to navigate your way through the dungeon, fighting monsters and collecting treasure, before your lantern runs out. It’s very simple, a bit like Pirates Ahoy‘s energy system. The sound and graphics are ok, if the animations are a little shoddy. The combat is just bleerrrrrgggghhhhhh, yeah it’s not great. There are a few Facebook games like it; Battle Punks and Doom Forge to name a couple, and they have much better graphics and features. The whole thing has a definite amateur vibe to it, but I guess that’s understandable as Namco’s first foray into social gaming. Moreover, the Japanese aren’t exactly renowned for that sector of the industry.

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“Asset management game where you get to invest in actual European football clubs and their players. Based on results of matches in the real world, you’ll earn dividends in the form of Experience Points and Prize Draw Tickets.”

City of Football has even less users than Treasure Abyss, standing at 2500. You select a team to ‘invest in’, from a selection of real teams… which is nice (although the descriptions are out of date, stating that James Milner plays at Aston Villa and Joe Hart at Birmingham). You then go to the Football Exchange and exchange in stocks which give you dividends in the club. Then you wait for the real world results of the teams you’ve invested in. If your team wins, you get more dividends. You can also invest in Player Stocks from a prize draw. I think I got lucky and was awarded with Cesc Fabregas who is not only super awesome but my favourite player these days! Typical play after that involves you buying and selling player stocks (which give you loyalty bonuses in the teams they play for) and waiting for the real world results to maximise your Team stocks. It’s pretty confusing, even for me… but I’ve got a feeling it might be quite fun. It’s definitely better than Treasure Abyss anyway.

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So Namco Bandai’s first trip into Facebook is an interesting one. They have a cookie cutter dungeon crawler with average graphics, sound and rather archaic combat. On the other hand, they have a really interesting and mature football investment simulator with licensing of real players, teams and leagues (unless they’ve gone and broken the law). I’ll keep a close eye on these games as they develop, because this venture is going to be very interesting for the future of real gaming on Facebook.

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Sam

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