In the time that Zynga's Pioneer Trail (formerly FrontierVille) has been available on Facebook, many similar games have been released, but perhaps no other game has been so downright similar (the word "clone" quickly comes to mind) as Gameloft's The Oregon Trail: American Settler. The main difference here is that Pioneer Trail is available for play on Facebook, while American Settler is for iPhone / iPad.
The game starts with your family of three ending their trip on the Oregon Trail and winding up in the overrun wilderness of the open frontier. You'll be asked to construct items like a cabin for your family, farm plots to grow food for your family (and eventually visitors), chop down trees for lumber, and complete quests for your family members and friends alike. That being said, some of these features do introduce slight differences to the experience.
For instance, some buildings, instead of automatically turning a profit every few hours, require food to operate. It's a situation similar to that of another Zynga game, CityVille, in that the food here is the "Goods" there, and you'll receive coins and experience points when they're gone (this could take minutes or hours). In keeping with the CityVille comparisons, we also see decorations being used to offer bonuses to the payout of surrounding items. For some originality, and to bring in a classic "Oregon Trail" element, your family members can get sick. You'll need to collect medicine to help them by asking your friends to send it to you.
Speaking of traditional Oregon Trail elements, you'll also have a chance to go hunting for food by shooting at the random critters that appear while chopping trees and performing other "nature-themed" tasks on your land.
Once you start building your city out in the frontier, you'll quickly need to build more homes so that you can staff more businesses (again, this is the CityVille element of the game), but will also run into random encounters a la Pioneer Trail. You'll be given a short story and will then need to choose from various options, depending on the risk you're willing to take to be successful, or how many resources you'd like to dedicate to that choice.
Even though I could continue (for quite a while, I'd imagine) with the comparisons to other games, as, let's face it, Gameloft is kind of known for that, The Oregon Trail: American Settler is a pretty fun game in its own right. It runs great technically, and looks pretty sharp as well. The game's social elements are handled directly through either Facebook or Gameloft Live (your choice), and you can post rewards or requests directly to Facebook (after connecting to your account), asking your friends to come play the game with you. Best of all? The game's free to download and is universal, meaning that it will handle equally well on both iPhone or iPad, although I can see there being some issues with the iPhone version, if only due to the size of the screen.
If you've ever wished you could take these sorts of Facebook games with you on the go, why not try out American Settler as a substitute?
Download Oregon Trail: American Settler from iTunes -->
Have you tried the Oregon Trail: American Settler on your iOS device? What do you think of this frontier-themed combination of Pioneer Trail and CityVille gameplay mechanics? Sound off in the comments!