This image is not an optical illusion. FarmVille for iPhone has officially arrived in the US App Store. Millions of virtual farmers rejoice, knowing that they can now tend to their crops anytime, anywhere. You can download the game from the App Store here.
FarmVille for iPhone was first announced earlier this month at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus quickly gave a demo of the game, but didn't spill any additional details, such as an exact release date and the differences between the iPhone and Facebook versions. It makes sense, however, that the portable farm-fest rolls out now, just as iPhone 4 arrives and FarmVille celebrates its one-year anniversary.
The game was first spotted in the New Zealand iTunes store and downloaded immediately. First impressions of the portable FarmVille ran hot and cold. While the game seems to integrate easily with the Facebook version (enter your email and you're basically up and running) the game was moving very slowly. Like, molasses slow. When I tried the FarmVille later, it moved at a slightly faster clip, and I assume that's because it's running on the iPhone 3GS, rather than the slower iPhone 3G.
Here is a quick list of my first impressions of FarmVille for iPhone (which I have nicknamed 'PhoneVille'):
* It's free to download and play --
* It connects easily with the Facebook version of your game
* Receiving gifts is much easier than it is on the Facebook version
* It's feels natural to use the touch screen to plant and harvest crops
* When using tractors, you can 'paint' multiple plots at once by holding and sliding your finger, and all the work is done pretty quickly. It's actually a superior tractoring experience than the Facebook version.
* The game comes with additional Apple-only content: A Rainbow Apple Tree and a Snow Leopard
* It takes too much time to load the game, and perform tasks in the game
* Using tractors and other machinery is a little difficult at first and takes some time to figure out
* There's still a lot of things in the original game that you can't access on the iPhone version, such as:
-- No avatar in iPhone version of the game
-- You can't buy or use building materials in the game, you can only send building materials as gifts on the iPhone
-- Puppies -- you can't take care of/interact with them on the iPhone version
-- You can only send gifts to other people playing PhoneVille
-- Collections and ribbons can only be viewed on the Facebook version of the game
Even though the game might be sluggish at times and is missing some key features, it's still a perfectly respectable replication of the game I know and love on Facebook. Check out Games.com's first impressions of FarmVille iPhone, a.k.a. PhoneVille, in the video below.