If you're a veteran Facebook gamer, Vostu might be a name that's familiar to you, as the Brazilian developer had a pretty nasty run-in with Zynga in 2011 over Zynga's claim that Vostu copied its game CityVille. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Vostu has completely learned its lesson, as the developer's new Facebook game Magic Valley "was inspired by" nearly every game feature found in Zynga's CastleVille, but is admittedly presented with different graphics.
Magic Valley sees you being introduced to a talking owl, raccoon, fox and bear (just for starters), as you work to build a magical kingdom in the middle of a dense forest surrounded by mist. You can farm for produce, clear rocks, trees and other debris for materials and then combine all of the above in Spice Shops and other crafting buildings. You'll need special stones to help remove the Mist, uncovering characters lost within, will be attacked by random critters out to steal your food or otherwise make life a pain, and you'll complete a (for now) never-ending series of quests given to you by your new talking animal friends.
Save for the fact that Magic Valley is full of personified animals, the rest of the game fits CastleVille's description almost perfectly, but even then, CastleVille has talking dragons, so that factor really isn't entirely unique. The most major difference is the graphical theme, which is dull in Magic Valley, with softer lines and paler colors that make the entire environment feel rather lifeless.
You'll have a limited amount of energy with which to play, and while you can make quite a bit of progress in your first sitting, you'll be met with some poor English localization issues and graphical glitches that show completed buildings as being reverted to their frames (or vice versa). Furthermore, clicking on some menu buttons does nothing until you refresh the game to bypass the bug and continue on, and there are too many items locked until you complete quests or level up to make this one a less linear experience.
All in all, Magic Valley looks like Ravenwood Fair but plays like CastleVille, down to your never-ending quest to remove the mist (read: Gloom) surrounding your land to expand. Is Magic Valley close enough to CastleVille to see Zynga filing another lawsuit? Probably not, but the similarities also ensure that there's no reason anyone should stop playing CastleVille just to try this.
Click here to try Magic Valley on Facebook ---->
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