Some game genres on Facebook are starting to get a little too oversaturated. Take farming for instance. There was a time before one of Facebook's major overhauls when you couldn't log in without seeing several Farmville status updates flooding the news feed. Of course, Farmville wasn't the only farming game to make a splash online. Social gamers also dived plow first into MyFarm, Country Story and Farm Town – each of which added just a little variation on the tried and true farming genre. Now game developer Wooga is adding Monster World to the growing roster of farming titles available to Facebook gamers.
Once you start up Monster World, you will immediately feel like the title Monster World is a misnomer for this game. Monster World sounds more like an action RPG game that what actually lies beneath. What you do get is a carbon copy of Farmville that simply switches out human farmers for humanoid monsters and real plants for wacky fantasy world vegetation. A more appropriate name for this title would be Monster Garden. The plants on Monster World are nothing if not creative. You can plant a Monster Cactus, which is cactus version of a Venus Fly Trap (think Little Shop of Horrors). Some of the other starter plants include a Lemonade Bush, Candycane Tree and Magic Lamp Bush. Again, these are creative and something of a child's dream world come to live.
Planting crops works slightly different from existing farm games. You start off with Lemonade Bushes. After you have successfully planted and harvested these tasty crops two times, you will be given access to more varieties of vegetation. Each time you harvest a plant it actually yields two crops instead of one. While this may sound strange, when you travel to the market it will start to make some sense. Plants sell in the market for half the price that you can buy them for. So if you decide to buy one of the creepy looking Magic Lamp Bushes to plant it will cost you 160 monster coins. When you sell a single Magic Lamp Bush, you will only make 80 monster coins. So the only way to really make money is to plant crops a few times before going to the market to sell.
Sitting like a vulture at the entrance to your farm is the plucky Robert the Robot. He jumps rope and reads a clipboard, while waiting for an order. Once he has his order he jets off for no more than twenty seconds, before returning with another request. Often times Robert will have a better deal than what is available in the Market. If you hold your mouse pointer over Robert, he will show you what crops he needs, the time he needs you to have it ready in and how his price matches up to the fair market value. It's a nice touch to farm gaming, but not majorly innovative.
Periodically, various farm tasks will appear on the left side of the screen. Tasks usually involve harvesting or planting a certain variety and number of crops. However, the game may also prompt you to add more decorative pieces to your farm. Once you reach 18 plowable plots, your farm will get a happiness meter that looks like a heart. In order to keep your farm helper happy, you must add decorations like Space Hammocks, Fountains, or Statues. If you don't your farm will go on strike, taking down the number of usable plots.
Socially, you can hire friends to help out on your farm as long as you make sure you feed them. If you forget to feed them, they will start to eat your crops. Who can blame them? The Lemonade Bushes look mighty tasty on a warm summer day. You can feed your workers for 1 hour, 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours. It's not too expensive to feed them so you are best off just choosing 24 hours to avoid the carnage. Gamers can also visit their neighbor's farms to add minor growth spurts and keep their friends' farms in tip-top condition. You can also collect one bag of gold each day from each of your neighbors and write on their walls.
Monster World doesn't offer much variety in the social gaming space, but it still manages to capture your eye with all the wacky and outlandish plants to discover. Unfortunately, the rehashed Farmville gameplay won't sustain your attention for too long as you return to your real-world farm or just skip to a different genre entirely.