A Better World is a Facebook game from developer ToonsUp that specializes in writing animated software that encourages players to perform good deeds in real life to create “a better world” where players feel good about themselves and make positive choices.
A Better World combines city building with several other traditional social game genres like farming and pets as the core gameplay experience. Players can also decorate their homes, plant crops in a community garden and explore the world to find meditation grottoes where they can leave uplifting messages for other players to read. There are also mini-games like Threecycle, a match-three game featuring recyclable items, and Thump-a-Thought, which is essentially whack-a-mole. Playing the mini-games earns the player Do-Good-Gold to spend on in-game items that range from housing decorations to avatar customization, gifts for friends, pets and seeds to grow plants in a community garden.
The game monetizes through Facebook Credits, which can be used to buy Do-Gooder-Gold or premium decorations and gameplay boost or quest-completion items. Quests are themed towards the realization of a better world through doing good deeds in-game, like sending players to Gratitude Grotto to leave a message of gratitude, rescuing a cat to adopt as a pet or giving a friend a gift. In lieu of gifts, which the player must buy from the gift shop before giving away, A Better World allows players to send “positive thoughts” to other players for free.
A Better World takes some risks with gameplay by punishing lapsed or infrequent players. Upon returning to the game after a long absence, these players will find a gray raincloud over their avatars’ head that follows them around until they do enough good deeds to “work it off.” The plants in the community garden also die if you don’t water them, and we think that pets will run away if not tended to; however, the pet feature was only just introduced, so we haven’t been able to test this theory.
Interested readers can follow the progress of A Better World with AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.