Beacon Bingo Friends is a Facebook game from ETV Media Group. It’s been showing activity since April of this year, and showed a peak in user figures around the beginning of May, but then declined again quickly. It is on the increase again at present, however, and showed up as the No. 16 emerging game at the end of last week.
Beacon Bingo Friends attempts to combine elements of story-driven puzzle games with traditional multiplayer bingo gameplay — and not entirely successfully. The basic setup of the game involves a group of parrots who are competing for a tropical island’s rich bounty of gem-based treasure, and the player’s attempts to help them keep the gems out of the hands of the evil pirate parrot Captain Sneaky.
Basic gameplay involves selecting a virtual “room” in which to play, then settling down to play a mostly-automated game of bingo. Each room may hold up to 30 players simultaneously, and has a different price per ticket and corresponding prize for those who win. Once in a room, the player is able to converse with other players who are in the room using text-based chat and predefined messages. Before a game begins, the player must also purchase as many bingo cards as they like in order to play — the more cards they have, the more chance of winning, and the greater the chance of winning multiple times.
Once the bingo game actually begins, numbers are called out one by one and automatically marked off on the player’s cards — given that it’s possible to play up to 36 cards simultaneously, this is probably for the best. The game isn’t completely hands-off, however — in order to collect the gems mentioned in the game’s plot, the player must keep an eye on a flower garden at the top of the screen and click on newly-bloomed glowing flowers to collect their gems. Flowers stop glowing after a while, which means their harvest is lost, so the player must be observant to reap as many rewards as possible. The player earns experience points for collecting gems, and leveling up rewards them with hard currency.
The aim of the game is to collect chestfuls of gems and then exchange them with other players. The exact purpose of doing this is not made particularly clear either in the game itself or in its help file, and this is something of a pattern for the whole experience — the game does not begin with a tutorial or a particularly coherent explanation of what the player is supposed to be doing. Upon first playing the game, I was unaware I was supposed to be clicking the flowers until I experimented for myself — the game didn’t explicitly tell me to do this, but it is mentioned in the FAQ page.
Beacon Bingo Friends is a competent rendition of bingo with some basic synchronous social features and good presentation, but ultimately it’s a rather dull experience. There’s very little for the player to do besides watch for flowers and click on them, and seemingly relatively little incentive to progress besides the ability to collect more different types of gems as one’s level increases. Players may also hire “hatchlings” in exchange for hard currency, which supposedly makes flowers likely to appear in greater quantities and consequently allows for quicker progress, but again, this isn’t really explained very well.
Ultimately, Beacon Bingo Friends has a few good ideas that simply aren’t fleshed out very well. The combination of puzzle-style “collection” gameplay and bingo doesn’t really mesh together, and the whole experience is left feeling rather aimless. There are better bingo games available on Facebook and better “collection” games, too, making this one to skip.
Beacon Bingo Friends currently has 50,000 monthly active users, 9,000 weekly active users and 900 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.
An interesting attempt to combine two different games together — but one which unfortunately doesn’t really work in execution.