Popular white-label application developer, LOLApps had earlier this year told Inside Facebook that it was looking to create a white label platform for games. It has previously created ways for Facebook users to create their own quiz and gift apps. So, it recently seemed to us that Yakuza Lords might be a precursor to a new game creation platform. But as it turns out, LOLApps has since explained to us that they had actually experimented with a white label game creator last year — and are now moving into making their own games.
The lessons learned from the experiment were quite clear, the company tells us. Apparently, the ability to create quality games through a user generated application did not come very easily. The target audience for a game creator needs to be those that are not only passionate for games, but also have a strong understanding of game mechanics, art, story telling, and in the case of a social game, time to maintain it. Suffice to say, most Facebook users don’t satisfy all of these requirements. Most users are not game designers, which is why most user generated game content is mediocre, at best. LOLApps saw this and decided to focus on launching their own high quality, in-house games.
Since Yakuza Lords, the latest game to be released from the social developer is Diva Life. From the looks of things, LOLApps is indeed starting out with the Zynga routine: Creating different flavors of the same genre. Suffice to say, that means that Diva Life plays similar to, though not completely the same as, Yakuza Lords. However, rather than being a Japanese gangster, you are a movie star.
Players start off as a young starling completing gigs, building an entourage (a “mob” essentially), and upgrading your star-studded-stats. Also, unlike mafia-style games you don’t buy land, but rather, you buy publicity. Radio jingles, commercials, and even blogs earn you some extra cash flow by the hour. Even purchasing items is a little different. Instead of just weapons, armor, and cars, players have to worry about random items like business cards, designer clothing (of course), cars (okay, that‘s the same), and a new one, services, that consists of waxes, facials, and manicures.
The game also seems to have a progressive narrative that is broken up into chapters. This seems to be a gating system that prevents people from doing “high level” gigs, while telling a story at the same time, and makes for an interesting way to break up each leg of game progression. Beyond this, the art style, like Yakuza Lords, is phenomenal. Though it is only text and still images, the artwork just fits and screams Hollywood from a diva’s perspective.
All in all, Diva Life is a solid RPG. Granted, it does have elements we have seen before, but with well thought out artwork and narrative, this familiarity ought to do well in attracting new users. Despite quality, however, it is perhaps unfortunate for some that that a better white label game creator is not on its way at the moment. Nonetheless, considering the quality of user generated content compared to the quality of games like Yakuza Lords and Diva Life, it is probably for the best.