Launched back in May, iPhone developer Funji launched a comic book style, avatar-based app called Funji Home. At the time, it was the first avatar-based social networking app for the iPhone, but since then, the developers have been making improvements to the system and have just recently launched the new and improved Funji Home 2.0.
The focus of this major update was to improve social features. Among the most prominent is a point system that rewards players for social activity, as well as their popularity. In turn, this “currency,” as it were, can be used to make purchases within the game store for new decorations for a players’ virtual room. Furthermore, such currency can also be garnered through the completion of various offers, creating the basis for virtual goods transactions (the actual addition of directly purchasing room decorations in the future seems very likely).
In order to assist in the collection of friends to accomplish these social activities, Funji has also saw fit to add in a new forum to more easily mediate the introductions and discussions of both new and existing users.
Of course, a forum is rather superfluous (though it is nice to have), and since the game is centered around avatars, Funji decided to add a myriad of new outfits for the game’s virtual characters. With the capability of selecting different heads, bodies, and legs for an avatar, Funji Home now has well over 4,000 possible combinations for customization purposes. And if you are feeling indecisive, you could always make use of a the new “shake” feature that allows you to literally shake the iPhone and jumble up what your character will look like.
User interaction has also been improved. Back when we first took a look at the application, we mentioned some of the prototype features including bouncing a friend’s avatar around the room with a shake, or giving them a little affection by actually kissing the phone. Unfortunately, these appear don’t yet, but the first signs of their coming are now visible as players can now visit each other’s rooms and poke, tickle, or high-five whichever avatar resides there. According to the official press release, more interactions are slated for future versions.
By the looks of things, Funji is also working relatively closely with the community. This goes beyond just listening to feedback, but actually incorporates rewarding its most loyal users. At the moment, players that joined up and have been playing since earlier versions of the title are now being awarded a “Funji Elite badge” as well as extra points for item purchases. Also, if players are not veterans, the company also rewards the best user-created rooms, weekly, with promotional codes for Funji games and books.
Suffice to say, the improvements are indeed impressive, and as a free application, the value for the consumer is more than worthwhile. We will look forward to the next major update from Funji, and can only hope that its increased social trend continues.