Chateau on Facebook: One bottle of wine better left on the rack
Farming and city-building games on Facebook are a dime a dozen, so it would take something really special to convince players to drop everything and dedicate time to yet another. 6waves' Chateau attempts to do just that, offering a winery simulation that sees you growing grapes and turning those grapes into fine wines and juices, but unfortunately, this one is too bland to fulfill the goals 6waves ultimately (likely) set out for the game to achieve.
Chateau is a fairly standard simulation game, asking you to build homes on your vineyard's land for workers to live, with workers automatically gathering different kinds of grapes in bunches every few minutes or hours. These grapes go into storage and can either be sold for a small profit outright, or turned into something different like juices or wines by sending them to different buildings (fermentation stations, wine presses and so on). Regardless of the product, it must be sold in your vineyard's on-site market, with different products offering various amounts of profit while also taking different lengths of time to sell.
You'll complete quests to keep the game moving forward, but Chateau comes with some of the worst English language issues we've seen in a Facebook game for some time. Grammar and spelling issues are quite frequent, but fortunately, the general idea of each text window is generally clear. Still, it would have been nice to see more attention placed on presenting the game to players clearly, especially when coming from 6waves (which would, in theory, have the resources to dedicate to doing such).
On top of your Vineyard, you'll also be in charge of repairing the mansion on the property by repairing broken pieces of furniture or otherwise bringing the estate into the modern era. You'll unlock new rooms to restore within the mansion as you play, and will frequently be sent inside to fetch items needed to complete quests. Unfortunately, where this could have been a great opportunity to introduce a mini-game to the experience (a hidden object game, perhaps), what we're left with is randomly clicking on pieces of furniture until the game tells you that you've "found" the item in question. There are no animations or any visual response whatsoever that you're even searching at all, and this "bland" quality is unfortunately widespread throughout the entire Chateau experience.
Perhaps the worst thing about Chateau is how quickly you'll hit the proverbial paywall, as you're forced to either purchase building materials to construct new buildings or beg your friends to send them to you. This would be fine if the game had an ample user base, but as of this writing, only 80,000 players have actually given the game a chance (according to Facebook's own stats). It really is unfortunate that the game has so many issues, as it comes with some positives too, like facts about wineries and the entire Provencal region as you level up or complete quests, and has some nice technical touches, including buildings that automatically rotate themselves to align with roads when they're built.
For all the good that can be said about Chateau, the game ultimately comes with mostly lackluster gameplay and graphics to match, with quests that require you to clutter your (initially) small plot of land with arbitrary lamp posts and benches, and then forces you to move those items all around just so you can continue building homes and playing the game. The new user experience needs a lot of work with Chateau, especially if 6waves wants players to stick around, but unfortunately, the rest of the game really doesn't offer any incentive to do so anyway. Still, if you'd like to try the game out for yourself, you can now play Chateau for free on Facebook.
Click here to play Chateau on Facebook ---->
What do you think of Chateau? Have you played another (perhaps better) wine-making game on Facebook? Sound off in the comments!