Once upon a time, there was a role-playing game on Facebook that out-styled, out-played and out-invented all the rest. That time is today, and the name of the game is The Grinns Tale. A brilliantly drawn, designed and executed RPG developed by Nexon and published by 6waves on Facebook, The Grinns Tale is a shining example of how to make both an engrossing social game and how to monetize in a way that doesn't scare players away.
Players that begin The Grinns Tale are treated to an adorable introduction cinematic that both sets the stage (literally) and throws players into their own adorable avatar, "The Adventurer." It's from here that players are expected to build up a new village with a dual purpose: to protect its inhabitants from harm and take its more worthy citizens--largely made up of your Facebook friends--along with you in missions to climb to the top of a dark, evil tower filled with equally nefarious monsters and henchmen.
Every member of the town folk has something to say as they do your bidding by clicking them and dragging paths to buildings and other structures to speed up their construction time. Surprisingly enough, this task costs nothing, but you only have so many civilians to throw at buildings, and they do grow tired. You can only use each citizen every few minutes to speed up the production of buildings, but of course you can pay your way through that. And, boy, does Nexon have a cute way of explaining it away.
As you expand your little village of adorable construction paper cutouts, one companion in particular will nag you to get with the monster slaying already, a cleric (a healer) no less. Every now and then, it will be time to venture into the dark, dank halls of The Tower for some skirmishes and shiny loot. This other (and admittedly more exciting) half of the game sees players go toe-to-toe with various monsters in turn-based bouts.
Fighting monsters and healing your teammates is as simple as clicking and dragging paths from your adventurers to the relevant targets. Your stalwart cleric, archer, wizard, knight or mad scientist will do the rest--wait what? Yes, The Grinns Tale allows players to change their hero's specialization at any time as they unlock new classes. (And that goes for their asynchronous Facebook friends, too.) Of course all battles are fought as cutely as possible, and the same goes for the equipment you'll craft.
It isn't any one thing that make The Grinns Tale a game we'll likely be playing for quite some time. It's all of the little things: the saccharine art style, the witty dialog, the slick battle system, the smart monetization and more. These all congeal, or rather cut and paste, together to create one brilliant arts and crafts project of a Facebook game.
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