German Social Game Developer Launches Gritty Facebook Game, Street Rivals

Oh, the role-playing game. As the name would suggest, it is the ultimate means to be something that you are not; leveling up your prowess, collecting wealth, and conquering the weak. Whether you wish to be a mob boss, a gallant knight, or a swashbuckling pirate, there is something for everyone. However, a German developer by the name of Farbflut Entertainment has taken a different approach to this genre. Why not make the user… a bum? Thus, we now have the premise for the Flash-powered RPG, Street Rivals.

Truth be told, the concept, for some, is certainly borderline offensive, but about 520,000 monthly active users don’t seem to mind so much. Perhaps that is because the concept of the game is playing on the struggling global economy in a hyperbolic fashion.

The player is given the role of someone who has lost their job, home, and just about everything else and must find a way to survive on the streets. The idea is to slowly work your way out of the proverbial gutter and back to glory… or at least to the top of the bum rankings, if such a thing exists.

At its core, Street Rivals is your basic RPG. Players do missions, earn better gear, fight other users, etc. However, there is nothing glorious about this homeless concept. Everything is themed to the user having nothing. They start in a subway station with X amount of energy and zero money. From here, they are granted two choices: Complete missions or collect bottles.

Missions tend to be the more cliché things such as dumpster diving or pick pocketing a wallet. Each one takes a small bit of energy and earns some marginal income as well as experience and a chance at equipable items. By marginal, we mean only a few dollars at best, and as for “items,” well, this more or less consists of dirty, rotting clothing. Furthermore, the more “rewarding” the mission, the longer it will take to do. Dumpster Diving, for example, will only take a minute or so, while a later one might take five, 10, or more minutes.

Of course, the time it takes to do a mission isn’t really a big deal as each specific one looks to only be doable once per day anyway, with more unlocking as the player increases their level. However, if one is a truly entrepreneurial bum, they can set out to collect bottles.

Players can set the game to collect these bottles for a period of time ranging from about 10 minutes to 12 hours, with an increasing energy cost the longer you go searching. Obviously, this is something that will run in the background, whether the player is playing or not, and when the search is complete it’s time to clean and sell the findings.

Unfortunately, it is very possible to break your findings while cleaning them, so it is prudent to invest into a statistic called “Agility.” No, this isn’t the deft, elven type of agility in a fantasy game, it just merely helps reduce your chance of breaking stuff you find. In fact, aside from attack and defense, the stats are all a bit… different.

For starters, there is luck, which gives you a greater chance to find items on missions. There is music, which allows you to play a musical instrument of the bum variety (i.e. a blade of grass) to earn money, and pitifulness that allows you to receive greater donations from Facebook friends.

This is actually an amusing element to Street Rivals. You can actually make posts to your Facebook feed, or send a link directly to a friend “begging” for money. If they click it, you get some free cash — atruly funny way to spread the game virally.