Let's just get something out of the way: HTML5 gaming on Facebook and mobile hasn't exploded because, frankly, most of the early HTML5 games look like high school programming class projects. Pangalore, a startup based in Seoul, South Korea and San Jose, Calif., looks to change that with HTML5-based social games that both work across platforms and are actually a treat to look at.
Today, the company launches its first two HTML5 games--ArtFit and Wild West Solitaire--for Facebook, iOS and Android devices simultaneously. (Players can also play these games from their smartphone's web browser.)
The former of which is a puzzler presented in colorful, semi-realistic crayon and paper mache-style artwork. Players must use predetermined colored blocks in various shapes to fit them inside of a larger shape, like, say, a giraffe. Of course, players are scored for how long it takes them to fit the pieces within the larger shape, and for how many changes made before it's complete.
Everything from the music to the textured artwork in ArtFit is top notch, which is surprising for an HTML5 game. (However, it's important to note that animation isn't a particularly impressive component to neither this game nor Wild West Solitaire.) Players can invite their friends to compare scores with and source hints for tough puzzles from, which you'll incessantly be reminded of.
While the latter, Wild West Solitaire, looks wonderful, its animation is rather choppy, a likely limitation of HTML5 games. (Not to mention its artwork is terribly reminiscent of Blue Fang's take on The Learning Company's The Oregon Trail.) The game is a variation on Solitaire in which players must clear numerous stages of cards by clicking them in either standard or reverse numerical order. Doing so quickly and without fail earns combo points, and each stage is a representation of the Oregon Trail.
Each stage in the game culminates with a target practice of sorts in which players click badges in succession similar to the Solitaire portion of the game. The more badges you can put a dent into before the dynamite goes off, the more badges you'll collect, which are needed to access the next stage. Players can compete Wild West Solitaire's weekly tournaments as well, which rank players based on their scores. Of course, you also need friends to provide you with more cards to play with in story mode.
Aside from the annoying, constant requests to add friends and somewhat unnatural animations, ArtFit and Wild West Solitaire are two of the most visually impressive HTML5-based Facebook games we've seen to date. More importantly in Pangalore's case, however, is that these games are linked via Facebook. This means players can pick up where they left off on in, say, ArtFit on Facebook through their iPhone, and later continue their progress made on the iPhone back on Facebook.
Pangalore calls this "Universal Play," and during a demo of the two games, CPO Doyon Kim tells us that it's the developer's core mission. While Kim admits that the games are asynchronous, like nearly all social games, Pangalore is more concerned with allowing its players to enjoy games like ArtFit everywhere they are. Two more HTML5-based social games, Pop Candy and Bubble Prince, are due out before the end of the year, according to Kim.
But Kim also took the time to show us another game built using the Unity Player for decidedly more hardcore or traditional audiences. The game, which has yet to even receive an official title, is essentially a more visually robust FarmVille, but set in a medieval world. Players will create their own farming village, which is to support their character's quests slaying monsters and rescuing damsels. While we were only shown a knight class, Kim tell us that more character options that fit into the high fantasy theme will be available when the game launches simultaneously on Facebook, iOS and Android in early 2012.
Pangalore's strategy is twofold: Make games for the average Facebook gamer through HTML5, and hit up the supposedly growing hardcore gaming audience on Facebook with more visually robust games through Unity. (Notice how Flash--the normal method of creating social games--is avoided altogether.) Then again, Pangalore's approach comes back to a single motivation: Make games that people can play from wherever they are.
Click here to play both ArtFit and Wild West Solitaire on Facebook Now >
What do you think of the growing movement toward HTML5 games? Are you the type of gamer that wants to have their favorite games wherever they are? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.