Japanese Developer C.A. Mobile Gets Into Facebook with Bingo Derby

The latest international company to delve into the social gaming world is a Japanese mobile service provider by the name of C.A. Mobile. Since the Tokyo-based company focuses mostly on mobile content in the country, it partnered with French-Canadian developer, Montreal-based ODD1 to help it get a foothold with a simple little social Facebook app called Bingo Derby.

With a history of casual and mobile games – most recently the iPhone title Catch Me! If You Can – under its belt, ODD1 seems like a good choice. However, how did their first social game attempt measure up?

Well, Bingo Derby is quite the simple app, and isn’t exactly something that’s going to enthrall the user with overwhelming game play. It’s bingo, for the most part. Essentially players sit in a game with eight standard bingo cards and every couple of seconds a new number is called and is automatically marked off on all eight cards (since it is automatic, multiple games can, in fact, be played at once).

The standard rules of the game apply, which is five numbers in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Here is the gimmick though: it is Bingo “Derby,” comparable to a horse race in that players do not buy a bingo card, but bet on one. As numbers are called, a rating on the card will increase or decrease depending on how many numbers it is getting. Users will then pick one of those cards and bet a virtual currency – Coins – on it. The higher the rating is, the higher the payout, but the less likely it will win, while the lower ratings are the exact inverse.

Bingo Derby is amusing, at best, with its bright colors and quirky sounds, but unless you’re a fan of bingo in general, it probably isn’t going to be all that exciting. Furthermore, there doesn’t look to be any way to get more coins other than actually buying them, so any additional games after you lose everything become a bit… difficult. Granted, it is simulated “gambling,” but it shouldn’t simulate a completely empty wallet like the horse track does too.

Frankly, this is a significant red flag as most games of a gambling nature (i.e. Texas Hold’Em Poker) will grant a daily set of coins as soon as you log in the first time. This allows players to always have a safety net if they lose everything. They can always “come back tomorrow” and try again. Of course, it’s more than just a player safety net when it does indeed get them to actually “come back tomorrow” as, usually, most developers want that anyway. If this exists for Bingo Derby, it certainly wasn’t noticeable.

On the upside, this is hardly a difficult issue to deal with, and is likely one of many additions the game will see. Already, C.A. Mobile and ODD1 have stated that they a “long-term exploitation plan for Bingo Derby,” and that “numerous updates are already planned.”

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