Paradise Club is a new Facebook title from iZ, the social gaming branch of mobile marketing and e-commerce company Zed. The game challenges players to build a successful beach resort and work their way through a variety of episodic character-led stories in an attempt to make as much money and prestige as possible.
Paradise Club initially seems like a very conventional building sim. Players are guided through placing their first few income structures in a brief tutorial, then nudged in the direction of further projects through a series of quests. Placing buildings requires soft currency to purchase the structure in the first place, then several units of energy to complete construction depending on how effective the item will be.
The first twist on the conventional formula is that rather than being provided with a flat patch of land on which to build, the player’s resort is constructed on several different types of terrain, with certain buildings only able to be constructed on a specific type of land. For example, sunbathing equipment may only be placed on the beach, sports equipment may only be placed on grassland and so on. This forces players to consider the arrangement of their items a little more carefully when their resort starts getting a little more full.
When collecting income from the various structures the player has built, the player not only receives soft currency and experience points but also various fruit-themed symbols. Collecting symbols in rapid succession fills a combo meter, with rewards increasing each time the meter fills. Collecting three of the same fruits in a row also provides a bonus, so players are encouraged to be a little strategic in how and when they collect the income from their buildings rather than simply clicking when rewards become available. The only flaw in the system is that quest completion or level up popups break players’ combos — this could be easily rectified by pausing the action while such a popup is visible.
The other twist on the formula comes in the form of the episodic stories which some quests follow. Rather than the members of their resort simply being seen as anonymous “resources” with which to “power” structures, occasionally quests will introduce named characters and task players with following through a short narrative. The first of these that the player encounters is an impossibly-beautiful newlywed couple where the groom is suffering somewhat from wandering eyes. Completing these story quests often requires moving the characters around the resort and collecting specific items, many of which require the cooperation of friends. Players may either acquire the items they need by asking friends for them directly or taking a gamble and attempting to acquire them by visiting friends’ resorts and “helping” in specific buildings.
Players may use Facebook Credits to purchase energy, acquire quest items, skip objectives, unlock more effective buildings early and participate in a “scratch and win” promotion that helps acquire additional members to improve the resort’s income. It’s also possible to use Credits to purchase one of the game’s two soft currencies, though this is not indicated on the interface by prominent “Get More” or “plus-sign” buttons. The in-game “Prestige” currency may only be acquired through gameplay.
Paradise Club is a good quality game with high production values and some creative new approaches to an otherwise stale genre. The addition of story-based quests will help encourage return visits in particular, while the “combo” system adds some welcome depth and some very light arcade/puzzle-like gameplay to the mix. While the base gameplay is very conventional, it’s good to see developers building on this foundation rather than making just another game that plays almost identically to its rivals.
Paradise Club currently has 50,000 monthly active users and 8,000 daily active users, and the game debuted in the top spot on our emerging Facebook games list at the end of last week. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
A conventional base on which some fun new mechanics have been added, making this a game worth checking out.