Spellbound City 2 is a new citybuilding game from Oxylabs Networks. While mostly fairly predictable in its execution, the game offers an innovative approach to requests and help from friends, and it’s through this that the developer hopes to attract a healthy audience for the title.
The premise of Spellbound City 2 is nothing new: beginning with an overgrown, untamed plot of land festooned with crumbling buildings, it’s up to the player to restore this magical kingdom to its former glory. This is accomplished through restoring the existing buildings, constructing new ones and then setting up various simple supply chains in order to keep the income rolling and the people happy.
Spellbound City 2 features a stronger focus on resource management than some other titles of its ilk, with several steps required to construct various materials and structures. Crops produce food, which is used to feed houses, which produce life energy, which is used to power material-producing structures such as mines and lumbermills. These raw materials can then be used to cast various spells in order to create special items. These, in turn, are often required in the construction of new buildings.
Progression in Spellbound City 2 is directed through quests, which introduce these various production flows to players gradually. As always, players may choose to ignore these if they wish, though the generous energy and soft currency rewards on their completion make them worth pursuing. There are also several on offer at any one time, making the game feel less like a linear slog through a series of objectives.
The most noteworthy feature in Spellbound City 2, however, is its “Tribe” mechanic. By joining a Tribe, players gain access to a large number of other Facebook players to whom they may send requests and gifts without having to add them as friends. The only limitation on this functionality is that players are unable to visit Tribe players and earn the game’s social “Karma” currency — only Facebook friends may be directly visited.
The ability for players to get up and running with a predefined bank of friends from the very beginning helps the game feel much more social than the lonely experiences that other titles can be shortly after starting to play — though there is still no means of directly communicating between players in-game. The disadvantage to the system, however, is that the player is then constantly bombarded with Facebook notifications from members of their Tribe at all hours of the day, though this issue is somewhat mitigated by the social network’s collection of all similar notifications into a single item. The player may also choose to “opt out” of their Tribe at any time.
While the rest of Spellbound City 2 doesn’t do anything especially new or innovative, the Tribe mechanic alone makes it worthy of attention. It’s a system that makes the game very friendly to social game newcomers, those who do not wish to bother their friends with requests and notifications, or those who do not have many friends willing to join in on a new game. It’s a feature that future titles on the social network would surely be able to benefit from, and one that it would be very pleasing to see more of in the future.
While the game is merely “good” rather than “great,” the Tribe mechanic sets an interesting, laudable precedent for new ways in which social game players may work together.