Smooty Tales is everything you've already played before, and not much else
The last time we heard from Kobojo, the PyramidVille developer was slapped with a lawsuit from Zynga over copyright infringement. Now, Kobojo has much more positive news to share, as the company's Smooty Tales is now available to play on Facebook. Smooty Tales is one part Ravenwood Fair, one part Sims Social and one part FarmVille, as this melting pot of game mechanics doesn't include anything truly revolutionary, but the combination of the above is at least unique.
The story goes that a group of loveable Smooties were chased from their flourishing garden-filled world by a group of evil Smooties, led by a dark power that thrives on destruction. Searching for shelter in the dense woods, a group of survivors comes across a Smooty egg containing your avatar, which can be customized in terms of gender, fur pattern and color (Smooties look kind of like cats with massive eyes) and eventually clothing. You're given a small patch of grass to customize in the middle of the forest, and can begin completing quests to return the Smooty civilization to its former glory.
Bringing in elements from Ravenwood Fair, the land is full of trees, rocks and other debris that needs to be removed from the forest floor, and you'll be able to build various rides and attractions for your Smooty to interact with on your newly cleared ground. While you won't necessarily have to keep these activities supplied with goods or other products, there is a limit to how much you can interact with them, as your Smooty quickly becomes bored with repetitive tasks, a la the Sims of Sims Social.
Speaking of Sims Social, your Smooty has needs, like hunger, cleanliness and sleep, which must be fulfilled by you. You can farm for crops to feed your Smooty, purchase health and beauty accessories to clean its coat, and even allow your Smooty to snuggle with stuffed animals at bedtime, with each item fulfilling more and more of these three need bars, depending on your level. That is, the more the item cost to purchase, or the higher level required to unlock it, the more you'll get out of the item in both the short and long term. You'll also be able to form real friendships with your friends' avatars by completing actions in their games to increase your specific friendship levels.
As you fill your initial plot of land with decorations, the area will achieve a higher and higher beauty rating. This is a separate experience point system of sorts, with beauty points being constantly tracked in a bar. The more points you have, the more environments you'll unlock to explore. Instead of purchasing land expansions for your current area, you'll simply explore the "world," unlocking different themed areas along the way (a tropical island, a plateau in the clouds and so on). The graphics throughout Smooty Tales are quite cute and perform well, with your Smooty's eye line following your mouse cursor as you interact with items. That being said, the Smooty customization options are mostly ugly, with many options making your Smooty look like a monster, or at the very least, like it slipped in an open can of paint.
Smooty Tales performs well for the most part, with makeshift hotkeys in the bottom corner of the screen giving you instant access to your Smooty's three necessity bars, but the fact that your Smooty becomes so quickly bored with completing repetitive tasks is downright annoying, making most quests last far longer than they should, as you can't "Play X Game 10 Times" without your Smooty getting bored a few times in the process, leaving you to wait until their mood has shifted (refreshing the game unfortunately doesn't force this to happen).
That all being said, Smooty Tales is worth trying if you're in the market for an experience that feels both new and familiar at the same time. Whether or not Smooty Tales will become the next big thing in Facebook gaming is up for debate, but you can now try out the game for yourself on Facebook --->
Click here to play Smooty Tales on Facebook --->
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