A while back, ISG stumbled across an avatar based iPhone game that felt truly unique in its design. The app is called Funji Home, but back then, was merely a prototype. Nevertheless, months later, the company (Funji, Inc.) is launching its first version of the title today, and with it, the first avatar-based social networking app for the iPhone.
Designed in a comic book style, Funji allows players to create their own highly customized avatar and room. Like many social games, these elements can be seen by both friends and strangers alike, and with the inclusion of Facebook Connect, users can publish their creations to their Facebook feed and even change their Facebook status directly from game.
However, where Funji differentiates itself is by focusing the game on communication that has a more intimate and personal touch. The personal design of one’s avatar is part of it, but touch-screen interaction plays an important role as well (or at least has tremendous potential). For example, players can touch their avatars to move them to show off their “amazing” dance skills.
In addition, the rooms are very different than those normally seen in similar applications, including very abstract and imaginative designs (giant cupcakes, Sasquatch, pink dogs, those sort of things). Moreover, the company plans to update the game regularly with new themes such as disco and summer vacations, mini-games, and more means of self-expression.
Of all of these, the last is most interesting to us. Since the prototype previews, we have seen dancing, the tossing about of friend’s avatars by shaking the iPhone, and even a little public display of affection by kissing the phone itself (and you thought iBowl made you look strange). One can only hope that these and more creative communication tools come about in the future updates.
Thus far, the only update we know about for sure is the coming of virtual goods transactions in July. According to statements from Funji themselves, the updates will contain new characters, animations, items, and backgrounds.
Overall, it looks like Funji has a great deal of potential, and really could turn out to be something pretty amazing. Shinyoung Park, CEO of Funji, Inc. says, “Our goal is to satisfy users’ quest for self-expression and playful interaction with friends within the mobile environment.” By the looks of things, they have taken the first step towards that goal, and we will be looking forward to future updates.