PackRat offers a unique blend of puzzle, memory, and social elements to create a thoroughly enjoyable Facebook game.
Developed by Alamofire, the goal of PackRat is simple: gain as many cards as possible. You can acquire them through purchase at the market, through invitations to your friends, or by stealing from your friends (or Rat bots). Your friends can prevent thefts by putting locks on their cards or by storing them in their vault. In order to place something in a vault, you must have acquired five of the same card or collection.
When you steal something, you must place something in its place, so there is a high degree of strategy to the game. It’s plenty addictive and has many layers of game play. In addition to stealing and buying cards, you can also create new cards by combining existing cards or spending time perfecting your locking and lock-picking techniques.
Locks are cards as well, but can be set and broken by various Flash mini-games. The mini-games themselves are plenty addictive and are well animated. They also provide an element of reflexive skill to a game that already rewards strategy.
The developers get similarly positive marks for not only creating a unique gaming experience, but integrating it fully into the Facebook Platform. The introduction is casual and approachable, and asks you to invite friends but says up front that it wants you to be able to enjoy the game without having to do so. The game is much better with lots of friends, but you’ll figure that out quick enough and want to help the creators spread the word.
The addition of bots in the form of funny rat names (usually puns on famous celebrities like Shakirat) is a clever feature that allows people to still play the game without friends. All of the cards are uniform and adorable. They’re attractive enough to want people to capture them, which is essential for the game’s success.
The only criticism I have is that the rules of the game can be better laid out early in the game. I figured things out for myself pretty quickly, but initially the locking ability was a bit counterintuitive. Still, it’s a solid game that is perhaps one of the top social games out there that combines strategy, socializing, and action into an attractive package.