Dynasty review

Dynasty is a new Facebook game from Drimmi, the Russian team behind photorealistic Android fishing title Gone Fishing. The new title, a business tycoon simulation, is published by 6waves and showed up as the No. 8 top emerging Facebook game at the end of last week.

Dynasty casts players in the role of a son who left behind his father’s business to seek his own fortune, only to return and discover the empire in ruins upon his father’s death. Through the restoration of five different tracts of land — an estate, a farm, a suburb, a forest and, oddly, Mexico — it’s up to the player to rebuild the business from the ground up and carry on their father’s dream.

Gameplay in Dynasty takes on the form of an isometric-perspective management sim with time-limited actions, quests to complete, farming, collecting resources and selling them for profit. There are, however, a couple of interesting tweaks to the formula that successfully set Dynasty apart from the many other FrontierVille/Pioneer Trail clones out there.

The first of these is a light “hidden object game” element which shows up in a few early quests. Before restoring some of the buildings around the player’s land, they must find various items that are scattered around the map. The first time a quest like this appears, the player is directed straight to the objects, but when it happens again, they are required to locate the items themselves with only a vague clue of what they will be near. However, those who have difficulty locating the items may bypass each objective by expending hard currency.

The second twist on the genre’s usual mechanics comes when constructing or repairing a building. The final “click” of any building project requires the player to have certain resources on hand, but rather than this acting as either a friend gate or paywall, the player is able to purchase the necessary items using soft currency. They can also ask their friends for help if they would like to save their money. There are exceptions to this rule — tasks that require “workers” require the expenditure of hard currency or the help of friends, for example — but for the most part there are several free ways to accomplish various objectives.

The third interesting system in the game is the means through which the player expands their lands. Rather than an expansion of their boundaries costing a huge amount of money and/or items that can only be acquired through socializing or hard currency, players “explore” fogged areas on the map by expending a special currency known as compasses. These may either be purchased using hard currency or acquired as quest rewards, and they are used to uncover a single modestly-sized square of fog-covered terrain in any of the game’s five maps. Quests encourage the player to do this regularly, so their area of influence expands at a relatively constant rate rather than in sudden “bursts” as in other games.

The game is mostly well presented, and eschews the usual cartoonish look of Facebook games in favor of a more mature, realistic aesthetic with some nice detail in the animations. The background music is repetitive but unobtrusive, and other sounds are kept to a minimum. The in-game text could do with a bit of polish, however, featuring a slightly shaky translation from the Russian and more than one quest that refers to items or buildings by one name only to call them something else on the map screen.

Ultimately, Dynasty is a decent enough game, but one that doesn’t really push the boundaries particularly far beyond where they have been stuck for a long time. The new additions and changes to the “FrontierVille” formula are sound but have a minor impact on gameplay at best, mostly serving to make the game more player-friendly and less pushy about monetization or social features. It would be good to see this genre evolve a little further than “click, wait, click, wait” some time, but Dynasty is not the game that is going to spark that revolution. In the meantime, however, it is a solid game that fans of the genre — and those tired of the childish cartoony aesthetic of most other similar Facebook games — will appreciate.

Dynasty currently has 60,000 monthly active users and 8,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.

Play

A decent addition to the “tycoon” genre, but hardly revolutionary.