Country Music Television (CMT) is strapping on its cowboy boots and taking a big step into social gaming with a new Facebook game called Platinum Life Country, created in conjunction with Heatwave Interactive. In the game, you'll play a rising country star who must work his/her way to the top by performing in different venues, relying on the help of mentors -- cartoon versions of real-life country stars like Dolly Parton, Trace Atkins, Colt Ford, Rascal Flatts, etc.
Platinum Life Country is more of a country music experience than a standard Facebook game (I'll get into the dirty details on all of the 'game' stuff in a minute), and that's probably one of the more interesting parts of this new CMT venture. In addition to celebrity mentors, who all contributed their likenesses and voice-overs to the experience, you will be able to listen to a non-stop loop of a dozen or so country music hits from the likes of Dolly, Taylor Swift, Thompson Square and Rascal Flatts -- all of which can be purchased from iTunes from inside the game. An in-game movie theater will play music videos directly in game, along with episodic content from CMT TV shows and play host to "special, first-look unveilings" as artists come out with new singles. Keep an eye out for TV/Broadway star turned country crooner Kristin Chenoweth, who will be one of the new artists featured in the game.
The main thrust of the Platinum Life Country game involves taking your wannabe star on tour, having them performing in different venues (many of them real-life locations like the Grand Ole Opry in NashVille) by way of an in-game map with highlighted cities across the US. Once your rising star hits the stage, a poker-style mini-game launches, and you'll need to score a pair or better to have a successful show and earn virtual cash, experience points or 'fame,' energy, also called 'Moxie,' and unlock additional venues. Each performance costs one unit of Moxie, so you're limited to how many times you can perform before you need to either buy more energy or wait for it to refill over time.
You're also bequeathed a community for your star, which can be customized with buildings, greenery and items that you earn while on tour. Items in your community can be harvested on a regular basis for moxie, fame and cash -- three items required to make your way through Platinum Life Country. If you friend other players in the game, you'll be able to visit their communities as well, harvesting trees for resources and, if you like what you see, you'll be able to reward them with ribbons, which come in handy later on.
A series of quests, which appear on the left hand side of the screen, help drive the game forward, and give you tasks like 'Buy a shopping mall' or 'Score a pair in an opening performance. Complete each task and you'll be rewarded with a combo of cash, XP, items, etc. Cash can be used in the in-game store to buy new items for avatars and buildings and other upgrades for your community. Like most other serious games on Facebook, Platinum Life Country will have regular updates that will include new items, mentors and music to keep things fresh.
Without all of the country music and celebrity starpower, it's hard to say whether Platinum Life Country would be able to stand on its own in a sea of me-too Facebook games. But considering the fact that the CMT Network plans to fully back the game, including deep integration into its TV, radio and web networks (not to mention give it some high profile plugs during this year's CMA Music Awards and Music Fest in NashVille) -- this game, much like an aspiring country star, has a better chance of hitting the big time than the average social game that's goes it solo.
Platinum Life Country is currently in beta on Facebook. To sign up to play, point your browsers to the game's official Facebook fan page.