Funfari First Look: A farming game with an exotic twist

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Funfari is a new Safari-themed game from a new developer on the Facebook scene, Gameforge. This adventure-themed game currently has around 48,000 players after three days -- not too shabby -- so we decided to take a peek see what makes this (if anything) stand out from the rest.

A farming game with a twist

While there's a big safari theme, Funfari is -- at its core -- a farming game, where you start out with four harvestable plots and an empty experience bar. There doesn't appear to be a limit on how many plots you can place; at level 3, we had over a dozen. Planting, watering, and harvesting are all familiar concepts from other games, so it is quite easy to get up to speed on how to play. There are also harvestable trees and hungry animals to feed, which you'll quickly discover when your lion starts begging for food.

Gift and you will also be gifted

Just like other social games, Funfari encourages you to invite friends to play so you can visit their safaris and send and receive gifts. There does not appear to be anything innovative here as far as social features is concerned, but the available gifts, e.g. a leopard, are fun to send (and receive, of course).

Many ways to spend those Coins and Jewels

Funfari has two currencies, Coins, which can be earned in-game, and Jewels, which cost real world money. The Safari Shop is standard fare for these kind of games, although it's pleasantly surprising to see just how many items the game launched with -- over 150 ranging from level 1 to level 72. The Plants tab has a variety of plantable crops, each with different harvestable growth times, XP payouts and revenue. There are over 25 different animals and all of them are available for coins, which was a pleasant surprise since most games want you to shell out real-life cash for at least a few animals. There are also an impressive range buildings to place on your safari, such as an Animal Hospital, Fruit Stand and Windmill.

Music to your ears

Funfari is bright, cartoony, colorful, and has a standard top-down isometric view -- again, nothing we haven't seen in a Facebook game before. The game actually has a similar feel to Jungle Extreme, through the user interface is much easier to navigate. Log into the game, and some seriously dramatic intro music practically blows you away. This sweeping orchestral score doesn't exactly fit with the whimsical art style, but it's still a nice change from the cheesy songs in other social games.

Funfari's certainly fun, but how does it measure up?

Funfari is a nice looking, polished game with an impressive amount of content right out of the gate, and doesn't do anything we haven't seen in a Facebook game before -- for now, at least. Once the other hand, the fact that it's based on farming makes it simple to pick up and play and the safari theme offers a slightly different flavor. The real test will be watching how many more farming games with thematic twists (island theme, jungle theme) you'll want to add to your gaming repertoire. One side note: The game appears to have some problems loading in Web browsers such as Chrome and Safari (ah, the irony) but we assume these will be ironed out in no time.

Give Funfari a try, and let us know what you think! Will you be playing Funfari?
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