Playdom have launched a new game today in partnership with Disney property ESPN. ESPN Sports Bar & Grill is an isometric simulation game featuring some truly interesting real world sports connections. Players choose a home team and colors and set up their own hopping bar to attract thirsty and hungry sports fans. The bar and snacks have to be restocked frequently to make sure you can keep your supply up with the demand of your patrons. You level up by completing quests and goals that encourage you to decorate your bar, serve more customers, and expand your space.
That's about where the generic stops and the intriguing begins. Playdom have a real strong advantage in the sports arena as a Disney-owned studio. The game's ESPN connections make ESPN Sports Bar & Grill feel realistic and actually useful. A television behind the bar can actually broadcast live game scores in addition to previously recorded games. You can choose real teams instead of fake imitations. A ticker above the game keeps you up to date with the latest ESPN sports news. The majority of the decorations available for your bar use real sports teams and ESPN branded gear. You can even listen to live ESPN sports radio within your bar, and they have a partnership with Samsung as well.
Players can visit their friends and help them out by restocking their bar and serving their patrons while they're gone. One interesting fact about ESPN Bar & Grill is that Facebook game players who are under 21 play a different version of the game that doesn't feature alcohol. This allows Playdom to serve a larger audience without locking down the application to 21+ players to remain compliant with Facebook policy.
ESPN Bar & Grill is polished and well done. It features robust decoration, collections, gifting, leaderboards, interactivity, and social elements that are stronger than most new games on Facebook. It's actually a lot of fun to play, and I find myself continuing to go back to it. If I had any reservations about the game, it would be in questioning whether there is a real market on Facebook for sports-themed games, since the majority of them have flopped (including Playdom's own ESPN College Town). If any developer has a chance here, it's Playdom. It seems like ESPN Bar & Grill has a real potential to join Gardens of Time and do something real big for Playdom.
Play ESPN Sports Bar & Grill on Facebook >