Flutter on Facebook takes us on a much-needed vacation from the farm

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A few months ago, we wrote about a Facebook game called Flutter, where you steer a butterfly through the rainforest collecting honey dust, watering fruit trees, and customizing a home, aka the Grove, decorating with flowers, leaves and other forest critters. After several months in beta, the game has officially taken flight on Facebook, offering a big dose of creativity in a space that is inundated with me-too games.

Flutter takes mechanics found in other Facebook games -- harvest, collecting and social interaction- and mixes them in with basic adventuring and puzzle solving in a natural environment. Start the game by steering your butterfly through the forest, picking up Honey Dew (the game's virtual currency) floating in the air, stopping to open flowerbeds for Honey Dew and XP and harvesting water, which is used to make flowers and fruit tree grow. There are also seed chests that include mystery items inside and potions that can speed up growth and increase your luck. You can explore on your own, and once you're ready, start picking up quests that keep the game moving forward.
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The social components of the game tread on more familiar ground -- visit friends' groves and harvest a social flower that grows by 50 Honey Dew every day a friend logs in. Please note that at the time of this writing, the game was not allowing me to invite fellow Facebookers to play the game with me, so I will loop back on this once that's up and running.

Flutter will have regular chapter updates that will introduce new species, plants, decorations and challenges, and -- as of right now -- there is no way to use real-life cash to purchase extra Honey Dew in the game -- though I'm sure that will be arriving soon enough.

My biggest complaint about the game is less about its unfinished state, and more about the tutorial. Since Flutter isn't just another farm or pet simulation game, it's not immediately clear what you're supposed to do. The tutorial starts out strong and then kind of peters out at some point, which left me twisting in the wind while trying to figure out what to do next. After flitting around the forest for a while (and consulting the Flutter mini-site), I eventually started to figure it out on my own.

Despite any potential confusion, Flutter is still worth taking the time to play The entire game is rendered beautifully with a lush forest setting and spa-like music in the background, and once I started playing, words like 'artful' and 'clever' kept popping into my head -- not terms I usually associate with the standard Facebook fare. Just like the similarly nature-themed 'Flower' gave PlayStation 3 gamers a break from gunning down bad guys, this rainforest game will provide you with a much needed vacation from planting and plowing your virtual farm.

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