Digital Chocolate's New in Town on Facebook: Being the new kid is hard

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Zombie Lane developer Digital Chocolate has launched a new life-simulation game on Facebook called New in Town. The game follows a character of your own design as he/she graduates college and moves to the big city. Instead of energy, your progress is limited via "Time Units," with each working day giving you 1,000 Time Units by default. You'll spend these by completing jobs, purchasing clothing and basically completing any other task in the game (as in the real world, everything you do takes time, with more time required for some tasks than others).

The "Big City" itself doesn't actually appear to be that big at the start, as you'll be limited to just a handful of buildings, with one being City Hall, where you'll be able to find new jobs. You'll have a choice of three low-paying jobs to start, which are completed Mafia Wars-style, by simply tapping on a button to fill a job mastery meter. If you want to earn a better job, you'll need to take classes at the local college (didn't we already graduate from college at the beginning of the game?), with each of these adding points to one of your character's stats: Practicality, Charisma or Intelligence. Reaching different levels gives you different options for jobs, with some offering more money than others (and taking longer to master).

Ultimately, the Time Units mechanic is the most interesting element of the game, as you'll be given a certain number of Working Days to complete all major tasks like taking classes or working. You can still go into the various restaurants and feed your character when you run out of working days (feeding your character can only be done once per day), as you'll be in your Leisure Day, waiting for more Working Days to recharge over time, kind of like energy (although taking longer to do).

Pushing the story along is your sister and her group of friends that give you either sets of missions or challenges to complete. Missions are completed on your own, and can ask you to simply visit friends' apartments or talk to certain characters, while Challenges see you being placed on an unmarked in-game timer as the opposing computer player works to complete the same tasks at the same time. Overall, if you're pushed along through the game with the simple desire to finish these Challenges, you'll quickly find that the game's balance of Time Units and in-game requirements for using those Units (and the rates at which you earn money) aren't very generous.

Digital Chocolate's New in Town on Facebook: Being the new kid is hard
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At the end of each working day, you'll be forced to head back to your apartment and sleep. Any sort of work or classes you do/take during a day will lower your character's happiness, so if you send him/her to bed unhappy, you'll be given less Time Units to spend on your next day. Add that to a hungry character and you'll have even less. As many of the game's missions require you to spend money, you'll need all of the Time Units you can get to actually earn that money, but as you earn more money by working, your character's happiness decreases in a seemingly never-ending cycle. See where I'm going with this?

For a new Facebook game, there's still plenty of time for Digital Chocolate to tweak some things and make the game more forgiving to power-players who enjoy longer gameplay sessions, and the gameplay is at least fairly original, to the developer's credit. It will be interesting to see if Digital Chocolate can really turn the game into something able to compete with the big boys, and we'll be around every step of the way to see how the game does.

Play New in Town on Facebook -->

Have you tried New in Town on Facebook? What do you think of Digital Chocolate's take on the life-simulation game? Sound off in the comments.
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