Tail Towns Friends: There's still lots of room to grow in this story-driven adventure
Earlier this month, we brought you a preview of Ganz' new Facebook game Tail Towns Friends, which sees the Webkinz creator switching target audiences from children to women of all ages. Tail Towns Friends takes place in the world of Greenwood City, as players are given control of a dilapidated orchard and are asked to help save the small businesses and farms of Greenwood City from an evil conglomerate that wishes to control them all.
Tail Towns Friends has a fairly in-depth and interesting storyline, which is easily the game's primary draw. There are multiple talking mouse and forest critter characters to interact with, along with plot twists, villains, heroes, competitions, jealousy and much more that make this world turn. Conversations are presented through text windows which come with great static artwork, but are unfortunately filled with grammatical or spelling errors, which is actually the least of the game's problems.
The majority of your time in Tail Towns Friends will be spent expanding and maintaining your new orchard, planting crops and harvesting trees for materials that can be sold in bulk for acorns, the game's free currency. These acorns can then be used to purchase additional items in a standard free-to-play style, with there being a huge initial focus on both expanding the small plot of land that makes up your starter orchard and on purchasing some very expensive decorations to finish quests. While players are encouraged to purchase items like wells, windmills and other "businesses" that produce acorns over time, the easiest way to earn these acorns within the game is to actually purchase one of the game's many figurines out in the real world.
Ganz has upgraded the stuffed animal experience with Webkinz for Tail Towns Friends, as players can collect small hand-painted figurines instead. These figurines are around 3 inches tall and are quite pretty with lots of fine details. However, a single figurine has an MSRP of $14.99 which is really expensive when considering how small the figurine ultimately is. Each one comes with a code to redeem within Tail Towns Friends, giving you 25,000 acorns and unlocking a character-specific quest line that can be completed at your leisure. This makes completing the figurine collection all the more desirable, as you'll unlock so many new quests and items in doing so that you simply wouldn't have had a chance to see otherwise. It's just disappointing that they cost so much to purchase.
If you choose not to purchase acorns or figurines, you can expect progress to be slow at first, as expanding your land may give you more room to work with, but only after you waste dozens of energy points in clearing out the debris that comes with each new square. Energy recharges over time, but seems to be spent far too quickly in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, there are some technical issues to be aware of in this early stage of the game. Actions may lag or stick, as clearing a bush may cause the game to respond appropriately, but the bush never actually visually disappears from your land (as one example). In addition, the game won't save your settings for muting its sound effects and soundtrack, and some items that should be rotatable (fence pieces, for instance) simply aren't. It's these little oversights that cause the overall experience to suffer, but these are definitely small enough in the grand scheme of things that they can easily be fixed down the line.
Since Tail Towns Friends is so new, you'll likely struggle to find other real world players to visit, and the game's many technical flaws (no matter how small) don't help encourage newcomers to stick around. However, the game's storyline has been written with care and is engaging enough to keep at least this gamer moving forward. Whether or not the game's real world figurines can take off as their Webkinz predecessors did remains to be seen, but if you'd like to play the game itself, you can now access it for free on Facebook.
Play Tail Towns Friends on Facebook now >
Have you tried Tail Towns Friends on Facebook? Would you pay $14.99 for a small figurine to add more quests and currency to your favorite Facebook games? Sound off in the comments!