Mazda Puts Fans Behind The Wheel Of The Mazda2 in Facebook Game DriverVille

Mazda’s new Mazda2 is the star of the company’s new Facebook game called DriverVille, a title that has you souping up your car then racing it. It is also, of course, meant to get more people paying attention to the launch of the new Mazda2 model, with an accompanying sweepstakes also running on the Mazda Facebook page.

The game appears to have been built by Frima, a Quebec-based game developer that creates branded titles. All in all, the quality is good. There’s plenty of built-in advertising, but it doesn’t feel overblown or forced. And it’s actually informative, so it should appeal to casual gamers and those actually hoping to learn a little more about the Mazda2.

The gist is pretty simple — you complete missions to level up, earning Driver Bucks and items along the way that range from a pair of cowboy boots to your very own virtual Mazda2. The Driver Bucks earned can be used to purchase items to accent your Mazda2, your home garage or your DriverVille avatar.

All the activities in the game can be broadcast through your newsfeed to share with friends, and several of the trophies that can be earned in the game center around bringing more people into the game, adding to the viral element.

Once inside the DriverVille universe, you and your friends will be able to move between several locations, including an arcade with interactive games, a movie theater with video clips of Mazda2 advertising, an outlet to use your Driver Bucks to buy items and a Mazda dealership, complete with a brochure rack full of PDFs for all Mazda’s 2011 models.

The actual driving in DriverVille is done on one of several race tracks and leaves a little to be desired. It’s Spy Hunter-esque. The controls are simple and intuitive, so it should appeal to the broad range of people that will probably be playing the game. Most of the attention has been placed on the social elements of the game, and those are well thought-out and complete.

As you wander through the world of DriverVille, you’ll encounter the avatars of other players. You can engage them to see their garages and cars, and you can also choose to visit their actual Facebook pages.

The game coincides with a sweepstakes run through the Mazda2 Facebook page, with the grand prize being an actual Mazda2. Several 64GB iPod Touches will also be awarded as weekly prizes. The campaign is being run by the ad agency Doner, which also worked on the Mazda3 launch for Mazda.